Bringing Your Life Into Balance: Back to School Edition
I always mourn the re-opening of schools in the DMV and I’m not even a parent. What I ﬁnd maddening is that every one comes back into town from the beach or some far ﬂung locale and we get back to business as usual. Gone are the care free mornings of less traﬃc during the commute and the less crowded grocery stores, restaurants and stores. Once September rolls around, we return to our collective Type A personality and lose all manner of calm and serenity.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Although we cannot control the barrage of people and demands, we can control our reaction to it and maintain some semblance of peace. Below are 5 strategies to help you do just that.
1. Get Plenty of Rest
In my humble opinion, one reason why traﬃc is so horrendous in our area is because everyone is just so darn tired! If you are one of the chronically tired, consider beginning a before bed ritual. This may include a smartphone curfew, a time when you are no longer checking social media, reading or answering e-mails and even talking and texting, Put that “do not disturb” feature to good use! Begin dimming the lights in your home this will signal the body to begin releasing melatonin the hormone that helps to govern our sleep cycle.
Avoid watching late news casts, how do you expect to sleep soundly with all of that bad news ﬂoating around in your head? Lastly, take the time to meditate. Many suggest morning meditation but if I had to make a choice, evening is better because it allows space for you to let go of all of the day’s crap and readies you for a deep, tranquil sleep.
2. Don’t Let the Promise of Bulky Sweaters Allow You to Skip Healthy Eating
“I was in a rush, so I just went to the drive thru at [ﬁll in the name of your favorite junk food peddler here].” Look, nothing horriﬁes me more as a healthy living advocate than poor excuses people come up with to abuse their body with bad dietary choices! Not only does an unhealthy diet pack on unwanted pounds, but it increases your mortality. And please, please, please don’t feed this garbage to your children. What to do instead? Have your children help you plan healthy meals. Google “meal prep” and use those ideas to make healthy breakfasts and lunches for you and your family. And, one of my favorite things about Autumn, is the ease of making one pot meals.
There are plenty of hearty soups and stews that can be made in bulk and enjoyed throughout the week. If you absolutely must eat out, try to make healthier choices, choose fast casual over fast food since many are now oﬀering cleaner, fresh ingredients. These restaurants usually have selections that everyone in the family can enjoy without the greasy mess and questionable food raising practices found at the drive thru.
3. Keep Up with Your Exercise Routine to Beat Stress
Too many of us only hit the gym or yoga mat when we want to get a “beach body” instead of exercising to improve our overall health and outlook on life. I am a ﬁtness professional and even for me, I have to get psyched to exercise. At least I used to until I discovered Yoga and noticed how much I enjoy walking. Find something physical that you enjoy doing.
There are so many diﬀerent ways to get moving, that there is really no excuse for not moving your body in a meaningful way daily. Not sure where or how to begin? Try a search on YouTube ,do some of the exercises oﬀered by the many Personal Trainers and Yoga Instructors (including yours truly) and see what resonates with you. Then do that style of exercise. Pick something that you love so that you stick with it. Don’t fall for the latest trend and if necessary consult with a professional to ensure that you are moving safely and eﬀectively.
4. Schedule Your Down Time
I hate to break it to you, my fellow Washingtonians but there is absolutely nothing glorious about being perpetually busy. I’ve lived here all of my life and I know that what I’m saying violates some kind of unwritten DMV code, but it’s true: glorifying busy will be our downfall.
Lack of downtime leads to a lack of productivity and creativity and we are deﬁnitely less happy when we don’t take the time to enjoy the fruits of our labor. What is the point of working so hard if you never take the time to slow down to watch the changing colors of the leaves and notice that the air has become more crisp?
Schedule time at least three times a day to check in with yourself and the world around you. In the morning, give yourself a minimum of two minutes to check in with your breath and get centered. If you can, over time, increase this to 10 minutes of stillness.
In the afternoon, always take your lunch break, go at the same time daily so that you train those around you to understand that this is your time and they will be less likely to schedule meetings then. In the evening, take time a minimum of ﬁve minutes to review everything that there is to be grateful for in your life.
5. Continue to Make Time for Family and Friends
As the days grown shorter, we tend to become less social. Don’t let this happen to you! Make time to be with those closest to you and matter the most. We are social creatures and each of us beneﬁts greatly from spending time with people that dig our vibe. Get oﬀ of social media and get out into the world. Engage in real conversations and experiences. Believe it or not, your health depends on it.
For ideas on activities to do with your family and friends look online for what’s happening in our great city and surrounding suburbs. In addition to our plethora of world-class museums, there is always something new and exciting for you and your crew to discover.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below…
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