Well, I’ve blinked and I’m not sure how, but it’s already back-to-school season! I don’t know about you, but for my family this is always a time of transition. I often think that seasons like this are the perfect opportunity to take inventory of routines, habits, and mindsets, and make some changes.
Typically, everything about this back-to-school is focused on our kids. But, since this is The Motherhood Podcast and we’re taking care of you mamas, I thought it would be cool to explore some ideas and opportunities for how we can better care for us, as our kids start a new school year.
So here’s my self-care foundation: 3 steps to follow so that you can really start caring for yourself in a new or better way this season. It’s important to have all of these things in place in order to establish a holistic self-care system.
1. Reverse Engineer Your Morning
Figure out a time-management system that works for you. If you’re on the run all day, packing lunches 10 minutes before leaving the house, doing homework last minute, and facing chaos in the mornings, you’re not setting yourself up for a great day.
First, focus on your before school routine. This sets the tone for the whole day. Set a hard and fast out time – set it and don’t push it. Don’t mess with it. Honor it. Plan to get out of the house early.
I plan on getting my kids to school by 8:15am – so our hard and fast out time is 8:00am. I do everything in my power to get out the door at that time, but, if we’re having a tough morning getting out of bed, if breakfast isn’t going as planned, if someone can’t find their shoes, etc., then we have a bit of a window to play with and still get to school on time. I also don’t have to feel that morning rage that comes when – and I’ve been there – we’re running late and someone is pulling their shenanigans and I’m left getting frustrated.
So using that hard and fast out-time, I then have to reverse engineer my morning. I know it takes me about an hour to get the kids up, pack their lunches, make them breakfast, and help them get ready for the day – wash face, brush teeth, get dressed, do their hair, pack their book bags, etc.
So that means that I’ve got to be done with my morning routine by 7am, so I’m ready to do what needs to be done to get them ready and get us out the door on time. I know my morning routine takes about an hour, so that means I’ve got to be up and out of bed by 6am. It’s a priority for me to have that time to myself to pray, read, journal and exercise to start my day. It gets my mind right. It gets my soul right. It gets my body right. And that feeds into everything else.
If you’re interested in my morning routine, I created a free worksheet for you to create your own morning routine. Check out this link to the show notes for Episode 1, where you’ll find the free download that walks you through each step of my powerful morning routine.
2. Fix the Glitches
You’ve got to feel like things around your home are organized before you start this next school year. The little parts of your routine where you often feel rushed or disorganized – those are glitches. So if that means doing some decluttering this week, do it! If that means creating a space where the car keys always go so you’re not looking for them last minute, create that routine and stick to it for the next few weeks until it becomes a habit. Whatever’s causing you stress in the mornings – nip it in the bud now so you’re not overwhelmed.
We all have different and unique glitches – so start anticipating them now and creating a plan and systems for when school starts. You don’t need to have the same struggle every morning!
3. Nourish Yourself
This is for you, mama! The first and maybe most obvious point when it comes to nourishment, is what you’re putting in your body. Are you hitting your macros? Are you nourishing your body with healthy choices that make you feel good and fuel you efficiently? Are you drinking enough water? I can’t tell you how many of my clients just start eating more and drinking more water and find they have more energy. Basic foundational stuff that makes such a difference, but that we can let slip if we’re not being intentional about it. It affects everything – our energy, our thoughts, our mood, our productivity, our window of tolerance.
Then second, you gotta move your body. And if you don’t have any exercise routine right now and this sounds overwhelming to you, remove the expectations. Remove the 12-week plan. Remove the calorie burned numbers, or the miles run numbers, or all that crap – and just take a little time each day to move. Sit on your bedroom floor and stretch. Find a yoga video on YouTube. Go for a walk outside. Take the pressure off. Make it all about you.
And then finally, you want to nourish your relationships with other adults. Your partner. Your sister. Your girlfriends. Isolation is so detrimental to our health. I know – sometimes it feels like too much effort to schedule a coffee date. Or like you don’t have time to meet a friend for lunch. Or you think everyone else’s schedule is packed and you don’t want to bother them. But you’ve gotta get past that. You’ve gotta make time. Even if it’s once a month – you’ve got to make time to nourish your soul in connection with people who love you, people who see you, people who can encourage you or who are walking a similar journey as you and can relate to you. We’re not created to do life alone. And we’re certainly not created to do motherhood alone. It’s too much. It’s too complex. It’s too demanding. It can be all-consuming if we let it, right? But we’re not just moms. We’re whole human beings. We’re grown women. We need our own friendships with other adults. So send that text today – ask your friend is she’s free for coffee. Kill two birds with one stone and ask her to join you on a walk. Get something on the calendar to spend some quality time with a friend.
So give yourself grace in this journey. It’s going to take time to get the mornings to flow more smoothly. But hey, one glitch fixed is a big win! Celebrate those small victories along the way. Don’t get discouraged by one rough morning. You may even already have a lot of this in place and it’s just about being intentional and mindful about making a couple of small tweaks this new school year that could have a big impact. That’s amazing! I promise you, you’re already doing better than you think!
Tell me in the comments, how are you taking care of yourself in this new back-to-school season?!