5 Tips for Getting Back on Track (now that the kids are back in school!)
You’ve spent the better part of summer shuttling kids to sports, lessons, the pool and play dates in between running errands, packing (and unpacking) from vacations and generally just trying to keep everything in your household afloat. Meanwhile, you’ve been waking up everyday of the past 3 months telling yourself “I’ll workout after I get __ taken care of today” or “I’m going to make time this weekend to meal prep for the week ahead” or my favorite, “I’m going to get to bed early tonight” (only to be derailed by a late night star-gazing session in the hammock with a glass of wine”.
Did it happen? Did you get those workouts in as you’d planned? Did you pull off the meal prep sessions or make sleep a priority?
Chances are good you didn’t because sometimes there just aren’t enough hours in the day. If this sounds like you know that you’re not alone. Summers are always jam-packed and they’re fast and furious and frivolous and fun and meant to be enjoyed right up until the school bell rings again. Which is why we all breathe a collective sigh of relief every fall once the kids are back in school and back in a more normal rhythm. Amirite?!Don't miss these 5 Tips for Getting Back on Track now that the kids are in school! Click To Tweet
I see you nodding your head vigorously, ‘Mm-hmmm’ing’ as you read. I’m doing the same thing as I write this. Which is why this post is really living in me right now. I’m ready to create some normalcy and return to the things that are really important now that the kids are (almost) back in school and I know you are too which is why I’m sharing my top 5 Tips for Getting Back on Track now that the kids are back in school).
Commit to moving your body more
If you’ve been hit or miss with your HIIT workouts, neglecting your running shoes or can’t remember where you last left your yoga mat now is the time to get your body back in motion.
Making fitness a priority is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. It’s one of the few times a week that you get to fully check out from everything that’s going on around you and just focus on you. You moving. You breathing. You sweating. You just losing yourself in the magic that comes from moving your body and temporarily forgetting about your to-do lists, carpool arrangements or what to make for dinner.
How do you make sure you have time for working out? You schedule it. Just like you’d schedule any other important meeting or appointment. This is the first thing I put on my calendar each day (even week) and then I schedule around those workouts. It’s that important to me. If you think that taking time to workout everyday is selfish, indulgent, less-than-important then consider the classic flight attendant advice: “Secure your oxygen mask before assisting others.”
Never has a piece of advice held so true. To fully take care of others you have to first take care of yourself. So make that workout a priority. You’re worth it.
Don’t have a workout or looking to change things up a bit? Check out some of my favorites
nourish move love with Lindsey Bomgren
Purely Twins with Lori and Michelle
GetHealthyU with Chris Freytag
Start meal planning
If you’re anything like me, you have all the best intentions of creating a meal plan each and every week and then…life gets in the way. I love a good Friday night at home with a stack of my favorite cookbooks or a browser open to Pinterest so I can create a meal plan and grocery list for my weekend meal prep. But…that it’s always in the cards! For that reason, I’ve started using an online meal planner that does the planning and grocery list building for me. I can use the meal plans as they are or quickly make changes to use up what I’ve got on hand or what my family is ‘in the mood for’ that week. Best of all, I can use the recipe importer feature to add my own recipes from any website with just a click of button.
Of course, you can use pen and paper for your meal plans too (I’ve been known to scrawl them out on the back of an envelope while waiting at the dentist. Do what works best for you. The point is that you create some kind of meal plan to guide you during the upcoming week. This may seem stressful now (one. more. thing) but it’s far less stressful than having to shoot from the hip all week when it comes to dinnertime. You can learn more about meal planning and how it can save you time and money in this post.
Weekly meal plans coupled with a grocery delivery service like Instacart can be a huge time saver, freeing up even more of your time to focus on other things that are important to you.
Meal prep on the weekend
Having a plan for what you’ll be eating for the week makes it easy to organize a weekly prep session each weekend. By making just 3-5 recipes on Sunday you’ll get a jumpstart on the week ahead.
I typically make 1-2 proteins (like Instant Pot Whole Roasted Chicken or Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak), a batch of roasted vegetables and/or a few baked sweet potatoes, some type of egg bake or hash and a big salad. I also precut vegetables and fruits for snacking and lunch boxes and recipes later in the week that I didn’t prepare on the weekend.
Make sleep a priority
Now that the kids are going to bed earlier you may be tempted to stay up late and binge on Netflix or read just. one. more. chapter of that book you’ve been trying to start all summer. Don’t.
Too little sleep can negatively affect your immune system, cause systemic inflammation, lower your resistance to infection and disrupt the hormones that regulate hunger, fullness and metabolism. Just one night of poor (or too little) sleep can cause you to eat 20% more that you would normally eat. And it’s not going to be from vegetables.
You’ve worked hard to get your kids into a solid bedtime routine and now it’s your turn. Having a bedtime routine that allows you to unwind and be in bed at a consistent time each night is an important part of self-care. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night with a consistent waking time each day. I like the Bedtime function on my iPhone for the ‘It’s time to starting winding down’ reminders each night and alarm that gradually increases in volume so it doesn’t startle me awake but use what ever works best for you. The point is that you start making sleep a priority.
Eat regular meals
Busy summer schedules, travel, sleeping in and late nights often mean irregular mealtimes and frequent snacking which can disrupt blood sugars and leave you with inconsistent energy levels.
Now that the kids are back in school it’s time to start eating regular meals again. Whether you’re a stay at home mom, a work at home parent or you leave the home for a full-time job everyday, focusing on consistent meal (and snack) times can increase your energy levels and make you more productive.
It can be hard to switch gears and you may even have a sense of newfound freedom now that the kids are in school which makes it tempting to just roll with it when it comes to meals. You may also feel like making a meal for one is just too much work. I get it. I’ve been there too but now is the time to start focusing on you and your needs so you can get back on track and be better able to handle all that life throws at you (like geometry homework).
So in short, you’re worth it.
Don’t skimp on the quality of your meals just because it’s just you at the table or a desk. Make healthy meals you actually WANT to eat when you open the fridge door or your lunchbox. We’ve got hundreds of recipes soups, salads and more to choose from but right now, I’m really crushing on this Harvest Chicken Salad featuring dried cranberries from Made In Nature. It’s easy to prep everything on the weekend (including the Citrus-Thyme Vinaigrette) and assemble the salad either in a bowl or lunch container then store in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Made In Nature Dried Fruit has nothing added, it’s just delicious, naturally ripened organic fruit. That means you won’t find any added sugar, artificial preservatives, additives, or flavors. Just fruit! These dried cranberries are naturally sweetened with apple juice and offer the perfect sweet-tart compliment to the other flavors in this hearty salad. Learn more about Made In Nature and their entire line of healthy organic snacks here.
There you have it, my top 5 tips for getting back on track now that the kids are back in school. Remember, you have to secure your oxygen mask before assisting others. #yougotthismama
What tips for getting back on track do have? Which habits are the hardest to break after summer? Let’s chat – Share in the comments below!
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This post was made possible by our friends at Made in Nature. Though we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always -100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.