Now that the school year is in full swing and our schedules are packed, it is important that we are taking the time to take care of ourselves. The Holidays are just around the corner, and the work that you put in now may help you better manage the stress that comes with this joyous and busy time of year.

Ideas:

Get organized!
That linen closet that you always say you’ll get around to reorganizing? Pantry feeling a little disheveled? Now is the time! Pick a day and get to work – you’ll feel so much better having accomplished a goal that’s been in your mind for a while. There is no better feeling than being clean and organized. Need inspiration? Check out Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix.

Get a planner!
Our schedules can be so packed that the weeks feel unmanageable. Johnny has football practice, MaryLou has dance, parents have back to school night, a co-worker is hosting a dinner party — it’s a lot to keep track of! Getting a physical planner that you make a commitment to using/updating can help you feel more in control of your jam-packed schedule.

It may also be a good idea to get a large, display calendar to hang in your house that is visible to each member of the family. This way, everyone is on the same page as far as what is going on for the week. If your family prefers the digital world, creating a Google Calendar that can be updated whenever and wherever is also a great option.

Invest in a hobby
Some may see this as counterproductive. My schedule is packed to the brim, and now you want me to add something else to it? Well, when we fill our schedules with so many things that we have to do, we often don’t have time for things we want to do.

Adulthood comes with its own set of sacrifices, and parenthood even more so, but taking time for yourself will not only make you a better, adult/mother/father/friend/person, it will also bring a moment of peace and pure enjoyment back into your daily routine.

That being said, a hobby shouldn’t feel like a chore! Some people may be able to seamlessly add a hobby into their routine, while others may find it much more difficult for a variety of reasons. Don’t stress yourself out in an attempt to bring yourself peace. If becoming fluent in a foreign language seems like too big of an undertaking for you right now, don’t pick that as your hobby! Pick something that brings your enjoyment as well as seems like a surmountable goal.

Start by dedicating 10 minutes everyday to something for yourself. For some that may be meditation, daily devotionals, stretching. Others it may be something more tactile, like knitting, scrapbooking, or calligraphy. Whatever your niche is, start by dedicating 10 minutes of everyday to that activity. Seems like you can do more? Do 30 minutes a day, or every other day! You’re in charge. Pick a frequency and stick to it.

Make time with your friends and/or significant other a part of your schedule.
When we’re young and just starting out in our career it is easy to be overcome with work and responsibilities, so much so that we opt out of seeing friends to “get stuff done”. When you’re a parent, often times your life can be overrun with playdates, sporting events, after school classes – you can feel more like an Uber driver, chef, and assistant than you do a person.

It is important that we make the relationships in our lives a priority, to some capacity.

Pick a frequency – whether it be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc. Pick a frequency and stick to it. A round of golf, a night out with the ladies, date night, book club – these moments can refuel our energy and perpetuate us to continue to be the best that we can be.

Check out how Linda-Lee did just that on her recent trip to Walt Disney World in this month’s edition of “What We’re Up To!”

Treat yourself
Vacation, staycation, ordering in – whatever it is, big or small. Choose something reasonable that you can use to treat yourself or your family, something to look forward to after a long day, week, or month. Building incentives into your routine will keep you motivated and on track. Create little moments in your day, week, and month that help you feel present, special, and inspired.

So…

Oftentimes, all we need to refocus ourselves and our energy is a little R&R – routine and relaxation. Structure your life so that you are getting the most out of it. Don’t just survive this week — choose to really live and thrive, however that looks for you and your family.

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