The new school year gives families an opportunity to hit the reset button and create healthier habits. If your family’s routine got disrupted this summer, you’re not alone. Here are six simple ways to boost your well-being and get back on track this fall.
1. Start a gratitude journal
With back-to-school, shorter days, and more indoor time, being a parent in the fall can feel stressful and overwhelming.
Taking just a few minutes a day to write in a gratitude journal can make a big difference for your body and mind. Studies show that people who focus on gratitude tend to:
● Have fewer aches and pains and feel healthier
● Be happier and experience less depression
● Sleep better
2. Make a plan to stay healthy
We all know that fall is the start of flu season, but there’s a lot you can do to help keep your family healthy:
● Get your flu shot. The CDC recommends a yearly flu shot for people over six months old
● Schedule your and your family’s annual physicals to stay up to date with vaccinations
● Teach kids good handwashing skills, including lathering up for as long as it takes to sing the alphabet song
● Keep family members home when they’re sick so they can get well quicker, and keep the germs from spreading
3. Build a bedtime routine
Have you and the kids slipped into a summer sleep schedule? Try getting bedtime back in shape early, so everyone will be in the groove when school starts. Plan calm activities in the evening and set bedtimes so that everyone (even you!) can get enough rest.
Here’s how much sleep the CDC recommends for the whole family:
● Infants (4-12 months): 12-16 hours per day, including naps
● Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours per day, including naps
● Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours per day, including naps
● School age children (6-12 years): 9-12 hours per night
● Teenagers (13-18 years): 8-10 hours per night
● Adults (18-60 years): 7 hours or more per night
4. Plan healthy lunches for everyone
Packing lunches for school and work can give your whole family a great mid-day boost. To ease stress and make the packing simple, grab your ingredients before the week starts. Here’s a strategy to try: shop for your favorite vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein. Then keep it interesting with a different mix-and-match combination each day:
● Vegetables: spinach, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, kale, broccoli
● Fruits: apples, bananas, clementines, berries, grapes, melon, avocado
● Grains: quinoa, brown rice, whole-grain bread or crackers, whole-wheat pasta
● Protein: tofu, chickpeas, chicken, almonds, veggie burgers, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, yogurt, edamame
For a fun lunch that keeps food from touching (for those picky eaters among us) try a Bento box! They’re handy for planning portions for grownups, too.
5. Try going device-free in the evenings
With busier schedules and earlier bedtimes, it can be hard to really connect and be present with your family in the fall. But turning off your devices in the evening—even if it’s just for a little while—can help. Going device-free can lower stress and let you really focus on each other. And cutting out the blue light from screens in the evening can even help you sleep better!
6. Take a deep breath
New schedules and activities can make this time of year stressful. Remember to pause, take a deep breath, and soak in the best things about fall. Take the opportunity to discover the season all over again, through your kids’ eyes.
Source: Ovia Health six simple ways to boost your well-being this fall article.