Back to School Blues Made Better

It’s back to school time.  The school schedule seems to impact all of us in one way or another.  The return to school in August may impact you if you have kids, if you take college classes or teach. Others of us may be slowed up on the morning commute due to increased school traffic.  The more laid back vibe of summer seems to fade away as we get back into a routine and prep for fall. 

In my work as a psychotherapist I hear a great deal about depression with the start of school.  Sometimes I hear from parents who have been off in the summer with kiddos and don’t want to return.  Sometimes it is kids themselves that I work with who are dreading the return to school.  Other times those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder dread the upcoming cold and darker months.  However, ready or not the school starts, schedules return and fall is on the way.

So how about some special self-care planning to get you through.  Did you know that research shows that we are healthier and happier with a set routine?    We really thrive on consistency and knowing what we do when.  School starting back is a great time to reset your self-care as we discussed in the last post.  Today is all about tips for creating rituals that work for you using the four pillars of self-care.

Morning rituals

Ahhh morning time, some love it and some hate it.  Some of us naturally wake up early ready for the day and others of us need lots of coffee to get going.  Creating a morning routine or ritual can make the start to your day better (or worse if there is a lack of routine).  When you decide to take control of the start of your day and make it a pleasant time it can improve everything.   What is a ritual?  One definition of a ritual is any customary observance or practice.  Routine is defined as an unvarying or habitual method or procedure.  So what we do every morning as a habit is a routine or ritual.   Guess what?  That routine is mostly up to you!  Sure the facts of our life dictate some of it such as what time you have to be at work or kids at school etc. but much of our morning ritual is all us.  So choose wisely because your choices can make a big difference in how your morning goes.

A few examples

Picture this…it is 7:00 am and you just woke up.  You have to wake your kids, let the dogs out and feed them, make lunches, shower, get dressed, get the kids dressed and out the door in 30 minutes.  You panic, right?  In your panic you start yelling at everyone to get moving.  The kids are hungry but who has time to eat?  The clothes are still in the dryer and not dry.  The lunches can’t get made because no one went to the store and the dog gave up on going outside and pooped in the living room!  Wow!  None of us want to cope with all that in the mornings (or anytime).

Now picture this…it is 6:00 am and you woke up 30 minutes ago.  You had some quiet time to yourself, had some coffee or tea, you took some time to meditate or journal.  There was time to set intentions for your day.  Lunches were made last night so that is all taken care of.  The clothes are clean and in the closet.  You take a long hot shower and get dressed before you have to wrangle the kids.  There is some time to wake up and connect with yourself before the family wakes up. You make breakfast before you wake the kids.  NOW it is 7:00 am and you have begun the day with an entirely different scenario.  Much better, huh?  Of course it is.  So what is the difference?  The planning, the routine and the intent.  You got it!

Set up your morning routine with my 5 favorite pillars of self-care.  Body, mind, emotions, spirit and energetci.

Nourish your body– get enough sleep, wake up and stretch, take a few minutes to exercise or move and wake your body up, eat a healthy breakfast, have some tea or coffee after you have a glass of water.  TIP make sure you go to bed early enough to get 8 hours of sleep, do some relaxing yoga or meditate right before bed to optimize sleep.

Nourish your mind-what are your thoughts like?  Take some time to set intentions for your day.  Maybe your intention is to be positive throughout the day.  Maybe your intention is to be fully present and mindful all day.  Nourish your mind by journaling and getting the thoughts out of your head on to paper. TIP the night before plan and do the things you can then rather than save them for mornings.  Example: food shopping and prep, laundry, backpack/homework checks etc.  This eases thoughts in the morning because you don’t have as much to do!

Nourish your emotions– what are your feelings like in the mornings?  Do a mood check each day.  Are you happ, sad, or anxious?  Honor yourself and feel what you are feeling without judging it.  Maybe you take some time to set an intention about what you want to feel during the day as well.  TIP feelings from the day before that are not dealt with are still hanging around.  Take some time before bed each night to process your feelings and resolve them as much as you can before you go to bed at night.  This will help you sleep better and you will have less of an emotional “hangover” in the mornings.

Nourish your spirit– how can you support your relationship with something bigger than yourself each morning?  Pray? Meditate?  Go outside and sit in nature and notice the trees and animals and how they exist without you doing a thing.  Watch the clouds and notice the shapes they make and just be.  TIP pray or meditate at night before bed or talk to and connect with your higher self.  Make an intention to tune into your intuition through the night and when you wake.

You are worthy and you are enough just as you are.

Love and light,

Jamie

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