Summer’s end is drawing near. How are you feeling about that?
Personally, I always hate to see summer come to an end. I love spending time with the kids and setting our own schedule. But I will admit, lately I have felt spent and under-nurtured. This is probably due to a less-than-optimal diet, lack of regular exercise and later nights. Are you feeling this way too?
Guess what, if we feel strung out at summer’s end our kids are probably feeling the same way. The good news is – we can totally fix it!
Ditch the fast food – I know, it’s convenient. And who wants to spend precious summer minutes cooking? But eating whole foods is not only healthier, it makes you feel better. Cut up some fruits and veggies and throw them in the fridge for easy access. Buy some healthy grainy bread from your local bakery. Buy a new cookbook filled with healthy, exciting new ideas that make healthy eating seem fun. If you are full of junk, you are going to feel like junk. Full of good stuff = good stuff.
Get your zzz’s – Sure, a late night here or there is not going to hurt anything. But night after night of burning the midnight oil causes changes that you may not notice at first. If you have been fuzzy-headed, a little more irritable, unable to concentrate or otherwise not yourself, take a look at your sleep habits. Have they changed over summer? Are you clocking less sleep hours? Staying up later and sleeping later each morning? It can be difficult to get yourself back on a regular sleep schedule, but diet can play a role in this too. Which leads me to…
Watch the stimulants – Caffeine and sugar can keep you up at night, even if you consume them earlier in the day. “I can fall asleep just fine no matter how much caffeine I drink!”, you may say. Even so, you may not be getting as deep a sleep or you may be waking up throughout the night. These stimulants also make you feel edgy, another good reason to keep the lid on them. And they are in lots of convenience foods, especially stuff kids like, so a whole foods diet will help you avoid them too.
Organize your stuff – Those papers and slips and reminders that have come in all summer piling up on your desk? Avoiding that pile like the plague? Attack it, get those items checked off your list and you will feel loads better. I don’t like to be bothered with school type stuff in the summer, but getting your family’s schedule set for the school year makes you, and your kids, feel good. Get those forms signed and turned in, clean up those backpacks now, order new lunch boxes, organize week night dinner ideas.
I am a pile maker. If I put stuff away, it does not get done. Out of sight, out of mind. I was recently at a friend’s house who has three kids and an immaculate home. When I left I wondered: Where are her piles? So I asked her and she replied “My what?!” . You know, I said, those endless pieces of paper that come in the door, things you need to fill out, order, do… “Oh!”, she said, “just do them right when they come in the door”. Novel idea. I immediately committed to trying it, and then immediately saw myself not succeeding at it. I am a pile maker. So, I went out and bought myself a pretty new tray for my pile. Now I feel better and it is a lot more appealing to “do” the pile if it looks organized and not like a giant mess.
Treat yourself – School may be just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean summer has to be over. Go to the pool, your favorite fishing hole, the mall, for a walk in the park…whatever summer activities you love best, make a little extra time to do them. A nap on the patio works here to, or just spending a little more uninterrupted time with your kids before the days of homework and afterschool activities.
How do you prepare for the school year? Share your tips…
[Image by – 7 at Flicker.com, Creative Commons license]