This past school year has been extremely difficult for many families. Most children were learning remotely, and parents had to make huge sacrifices to make it all work. Now that your children are back in the classroom you may be struggling to find a new balanced routine for yourself. This is totally normal, and you are not alone. Here are a few tips to help you make the transition.

Create a New Routine

Consider what you have been missing over the past year. Do you miss your favorite workout class or grocery shopping in the off hours? Maybe you’re trying to figure out your work schedule or if you even want to go back into the office? Have you put off some appointments that are important to you, whether it’s the doctor or your hairdresser? Take a minute to reflect on your top priorities and needs to create a new routine that reflects your values. It is completely ok if you do not want to live the same life you did pre-pandemic. You now have the blank slate to choose your next chapter.

Do Not Overcommit Yourself Socially

You do not need to attend every social event and you may not be ready for them all yet. Say yes to the things that are priorities for you and use your “no” button as needed. You are not honoring yourself and your health when you overload your calendar with too many unnecessary commitments. This only creates more stress for you. Do the things that feel good.

Be Kind to Yourself

Many individuals may feel out of shape after the past year and a half at home. This is beyond understandable given the trauma we have all suffered. Therefore, slowly start to build back your lifestyle routine and practice self-care. Remember the key is consistency.

  • Organize your wardrobe to avoid stressful mornings. You can always replace a few basic pieces that no longer fit comfortably. Your body will transition once you become more active outside your home.
  • Develop a consistent fitness routine. This could involve exercising at home, going for walks over lunch, joining a gym, or signing up for in-person classes. Do what feels good to you and works best with your schedule. The important thing is that you log it in your calendar, no excuses. If you need to cancel it, reschedule it immediately. The buddy system works well here.
  • Clean up your diet by practicing the 80/20 Rule. 80 percent of the time you want to make mindful whole food choices that are going to be beneficial to your body and enhance your health (i.e., vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, legumes, and healthy fats). The other 20 percent of the time you may choose to include some of your favorite soul foods and indulgences (i.e., breads/pasta, desserts, and wine). No food needs to be off limits to you BUT the key is to practice overall balance and moderation. Get started with these One Week Challenges and Food Swaps.
  • Include something in your new routine that helps you reduce stress, such as: yoga, meditation, breathing, journaling, gratitude practice, art, or puppy time.

Plan Healthy Activities with Your Friends

Instead of the traditional happy hour or boozy lunch/dinner, invite your friends to join you for healing activities. Take an exercise class, go for a walk, or treat yourselves to a spa service. Meet at someone’s house for a Zoom cooking class or attend one in person together. Enjoy fun Fall activities. The pumpkin patch or apple orchard can be super fun and bring out the kid in you.

Family Time

Many families felt very connected during the pandemic. Parents were able to spend more time with their children, partners, and were forced to get creative in their homes. Maybe you planned theme dinner parties, organized game and movie nights, or went all out on the holiday decorations. Be sure to keep the things that you loved bonding over going strong.

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