It’s back to school! Time to get back into the swing of routines for the whole family. Although some of us may face this with trepidation, there’s no doubt that we’ll all manage it better if we see it for the opportunity that it can be – to build a back-to-school routine that works not just for the kids but alos helps you with your weight loss.
There’s a lot more to routines than simply getting everyone out the door in the mornings.
Establishing routines helps us to achieve important personal goals and also provides adults and children with important skills for life.
Take a look at all the benefits of having a back-to-school routine here to cheer you up about the new school season:
- Streamlined decisions: Any time you have a good routine going, you’ll know how it frees you up from having to make a lot of small decisions that waste valuable brain-space (and energy) that you’d prefer to use for something else. You can now go on autopilot so that you manage to accomplish your goals without too much effort. Also, make sure your children know what is expected of them each morning to prevent nagging, scolding or begging! In this way, paradoxically, a good routine can be freeing for everyone involved.
- Better self-care: September is a good time to get back into a routine that brings some meaning and purpose to your life. Many people, for example, might meditate, exercise, or pray as a daily ritual to remind them to be present, to be grateful or just to recharge and rejuventate after a stressful day. This has become increasingly important in our information-loaded environments. Routines allow you to carve out time to pursue a hobby, passion or exercise every day. Once it’s a routine, there’s no more wriggling out of it because you’ve already committed!
- Impulse override: When you’ve already planned what you’re having for lunch and you’ve prepped it the night before, it’s harder to be led astray with an impulse decision. When you’ve scheduled an exercise session in your diary, it can almost become automatic. When you’ve told your children that there’s no mobiles during the week (or it’s limited to twenty minutes, for example), then there are fewer arguments and there’s greater control. Discipline pays dividends. This is the real magic behind routines.
- Stress alleviation: Modern life, increasingly defined by unpredictability, can be anxiety-provoking, and routines provide that anchor of predictability that so many of us crave (particlarly children). Routines helps us to achieve things that need to be done so that we can tick them off our list, thereby feeling less stressed. In a nutshell, predictable routines help us to feel safe and more resilient to be able to face life’s challenges.
- Improved sleep: Even though you may have to get up earlier now (and the children too), research shows that a stricter routine will definitely benefit your sleep schedule. This is crucial because we know that adults need around seven to eight hours of deep sleep to optimise weight loss efforts. Preparing bags, lunches, laying out breakfast and tidying the kitchen the night before puts you in a better state of mind to sleep as you know you’re all set up for the next day. Also, sleep experts recommend opening curtains and get some light into the house first thing in the morning as this helps stimulate melatonin, the hormone that stimulates our natural sleep-wake cycle.
Devising a Healthier Back-To School Routine
Sit down with a pad of paper and write out everything you need to (and want to) do each day over the course of a week. See what you can cut or reduce. Then see what you can set as a ‘normal routine’.
Look for time slots that you can fit some exercise in and also segments of time for prepping food. Will you prep the night before or will you get up a bit earlier to do it? This is crucial in helping you stay on track if you have a busy schedule (and it also saves money!).
Do remember to be patient with yourself. Bad habits didn’t develop overnight so allow yourselves time to adjust them (usually two to three weeks should do it). Set one or two habits to work on and do them consistently for two to three weeks. Then add in another one or two and keep building until you have a new, healthier routine.
Soon, it’ll start to feel like second nature. And, if you realise something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.
Great back-to-school routine and recipe options
- Try to kick-start the year with some healthy lunch options for you and your child – read our blog on this.
- Check out our healthy back-to-school podcast.
- Download a copy of our Pillar Assist ‘Back To School Receipes‘
Happy routine-building people!