Kids Getting on School BusIsn’t it appalling?  Just as you’re getting your summertime groove on, all of a sudden there are “End of Summer Sales” popping up everywhere and the dreaded “Back to School Sales”.  Whether you’re going back to school, you have kids who are going back to school or even if you don’t fall into either of these categories, the Back to School stress is palpable. I see it in my practice every year immediately after Labour Day Weekend – sometimes even in the last week of August.  Everyone gets super busy and their stress levels go way up!  However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You actually can enjoy the rest of the summer AND be ready for the Back to School rush. That’s right – you can still enjoy your backyard BBQ bliss AND be ready to slide into the post Labour Day busyness. Here’s how…..

HOT TIPS ON ENJOYING THE REST OF YOUR SUMMER AND BEING READY FOR BACK TO SCHOOL BUSYNESS:

  1. If you have kids going back to school, go to your local dollar store to get the bulk of your kids’ schools supplies. You can save a bundle by purchasing the basics like loose leaf, pencils, pens, erasers, crayons, etc. at these discount stores.  That means that you will have extra money to splurge on a few of the “must have” items that kids want like the latest action hero or Hello Kitty back pack. Get this done as soon as you can to avoid the stressful last minute rush.
  2. The same goes for kids’ back to school clothes. Get the basics at discount or consignment stores and that will give you more money to splurge one or two special outfits for the kids. Again, get this done early in August to avoid the rush.
  3. Take 30 minutes to create meal plans for the first week back at school.  By taking just a bit of time to plan ahead (you can actually do this while lounging in your back yard) you can make that first week in September a whole lot easier.  I’m a huge fan of slow cookers. (In the Resource section at the end of this article, I’ll give you the names of some of my favourite recipe books that have made my life so much less stressful.) By choosing a few of your favourite healthy recipes, you can not only easily create your grocery list, but you can prepare some great, nutritious meals ahead of time and save them in your freezer until you need them. Also, by planning nutritious lunches for the kids ahead of time, it’ll make it less stressful for you AND for your kids. Keep the list handy like on your fridge or your smart phone. Whether you have school age kids or not, this is a strategy I use all the time. I prepare a slow cooker meal at the start of the week, keep a few servings in the fridge and freeze the left overs. By doing this each week, I build up a nice variety in my freezer and this helps to ensure that I’m getting nutritious, yummy meals that I wouldn’t have the time or energy to prepare each night during the week. Good nutrition is essential all the time, but it’s even more important when we’re under stress, like transitioning into the post Labour Day Busyness.
  4. A week before school starts, get back into your regular bed time and waking time routine.  This is especially important for kids and teenagers who usually get into the summer vacation mode of staying up late and sleeping in late. Although you’ll get some resistance from your kids, in the long run it’ll be less stressful on everyone if you do this AND it will also be healthier for everyone. Even if you don’t have kids, this is a smart strategy to use.
  5. Once you’ve taken a bit of time to plan and act ahead (it will really only take you several hours to create benefits that will last a least a week), then you can enjoy the rest of your summer to the fullest!  Taking time to relax, be outside and just have fun is essential to decreasing stress and more importantly, enjoying life!

Remember, sometimes it only takes a few actions steps to go from your stressed self TO YOUR BEST SELF!

RESOURCES:

I LOVE “Company’s Coming” recipe books!  You can usually find them at your grocery store. (If you live in Canada, Superstore always carries them at discount prices.)  Otherwise, many are available online at Chapters or Amazon (both .ca and .com).  Also, check out the Company’s Coming website www.companyscoming.com.   They have great FREE sample recipes in over 15 categories from slow cooker to grilling to beverages and desserts. Plus, you can order cookbooks directly from the site, although, with shipping, they are more expensive than buying in a store.   While some of their older recipe books aren’t the healthiest, they’ve done a great job with their newer ones.  Here are a few of my favourites that include tasty and easy to prepare recipes (slow cooker, stove top and oven) that will make your life so much easier AND healthier!

  1. Company’s Coming Healthy Slow Cooker, 4th printing August, 2011
  2. Company’s Coming 5-Ingredient Slow Cooker Recipes, 6th printing March, 2011
  3. Company’s Coming Chicken Now, 1st printing May, 2007
  4. Company’s Coming Healthy in a Hurry: eat better in under 30 minutes, 1st printing January, 2009