After the carefree days of summer, autumn’s arrival can feel like an abrupt return to reality, driving up stress levels. But getting back into the school-year mind frame doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your nerves. Here are six tips to help you start the fall season right and battle end of summer stress:
- Hit pause. It’s tempting to cram the last few days of summer with everything you meant to do before the school bus started running again. But all that activity can wear you (and your children) out. Plan a few quiet days so you and your family can ease back into the fall routine feeling calm and rested.
- Just say no. Taking on too many commitments is a sure-fire way to feel end of summer stress. Before agreeing to volunteer for a committee or host a neighborhood picnic, think about what’s really important to you. By declining activities you don’t really want or need to do, you’ll have more time for the people and plans that are important to you.
- Recognize stressors. Be realistic when making plans. Some activities sound fun at first glance but turn out to be stressors in disguise. An expensive last minute get-a-away isn’t worth it if you come home panicking about your finances.
- Exercise together. Exercise is a proven stress buster, but sometimes it’s tough to squeeze a workout into a jam-packed schedule. Build family fitness into your routine. Try going for regular family walks after dinner, take weekend bike rides or head out on family hikes.
- Focus on the positive. At the end of a busy day, don’t beat yourself up about all the things you didn’t get done (or didn’t do as well as you’d hoped). Instead, reflect on all the things you accomplished and are grateful for.
- Unplug. When you’re texting, e-mailing, using social media, or answering calls, you’re reacting to others’ needs instead of focusing on your own. Schedule some regular tech-free times to turn off your phone and step away from the computer.