During Back-to-School season, the focus is usually ALL on the kids. But, it’s equally important to make time to take care of YOU too!
And I get it. With the sudden influx of homework assignments, sports practices, and extracurricular activities, finding “me-time” can be tough.
So for busy moms like you, here are some simple tips that you can implement into your routine to make it through back to school season without burning out.
Start your day with 5 minutes of breathing
We hear it all the time: breathing is so important! We know it, but we don’t often do it. At least not deep breathing, that is. But breathing is the one tool that we have with us at our disposal to calm anxiety, anytime, anywhere. Besides calming your central nervous system, when done first thing in the morning, it also puts you in the right frame of mind to start your day.
It’s easy to do too! Simply set your alarm a few minutes earlier than you normally would, and sit up in bed. Inhale 4 counts, exhale for 6. Repeat for 5 minutes.
You’ll be amazed by how this short bit of time really helps you to start your day from a clear, calm, and focused place, before the kids get up and things get crazy.
Planning ahead is sometimes easier said than done, and it can feel daunting for those of us who aren’t naturally organized by nature. But even if you’re not a “planner,” you can take 5 minutes at the end of every day to prepare for the day ahead.
I recommend a traditional month-at-a-glance planner for this; digital calendar systems are convenient, but the mind-body connection that happens when you write something down is powerful and facilitates memory and retention. Just make sure you write in pencil so that it’s easily erasable if your schedule changes. (Another great alternative is a magnetic white-board that sticks to your fridge, so that the whole family can see it.) If you want bonus points, use washi tape or colored marker (for whiteboards) to color code different kids’ schedules, so that it’s all in one spot and easy to see.
Then together as a family, review what’s on the schedule for the next day. Remind your kids of any responsibilities they have and communicate what you need to get done, too. A perfect time to do this is either at dinner, or right before bed.
In the crazy busy world we live in, saying yes is often impulsive, and sometimes it’s easier than saying no (especially when it’s to friends, family members, birthday parties, and other events we feel obligated to attend).
So, next time you’re invited somewhere or the kids ask you to do something at the spur of the moment, stop and ask yourself: “if I say ‘yes’ to this, what does it mean I’m saying ‘no’ to?” This helps you weigh out your priorities. For example, if saying “yes” to that extra sports activity for your kids means saying “no” to weeknight family dinner, then it’ll make it easier to say no if that you’re saying yes to is taking time away from something that’s more important.
If you struggle to say “no” or feel like you have to give a bunch of excuses as to why you can’t do something, then simply say: “Thanks for thinking of us. Let me think about it and let you know.” This buys you time to make the best decision for you and your family (and ultimately, rewards you with more breathing room on your calendar — which makes everyone happy.)
Find an Outlet for YOU
It’s easy to get caught up in homework, sports practice, and all the other crazy things that make up kids’ schedules. But remember that it’s just important to have some time in there for you too. You can’t pour from an empty cup. To be the mom you really want to be, you’ve got to get in the habit of making space for you too. Your kids will be happier when you’re happy and feel fulfilled!
So, find yourself an exercise class, maybe pursue a creative passion like art or dance, set up a standing lunch date with a friend, or simply take a walk around the block every evening by yourself. Put something non-negotiable on your calendar that you do weekly to carve out that “me-time.”
Ask for Help
Despite what most of us moms tend to believe, you DON’T have to do it all! And realistically, you can’t. Your kids don’t need you to be a superhero, they need you to be their mom.
So, split the household chores with your spouse or enlist the kids to help. Better yet, hire a maid service. Put groceries and household purchases on auto-pilot with grocery pickup services, meal prep services, and amazon subscribe-and-save. Get the kids to pitch in as much as possible. Kids love to learn and to participate, so give them simple tasks around the house according to their age level, and have them pitch in to make dinner. (Research even shows that picky eaters are less picky when they get to help prepare the food!)
Asking for help can be tough when you’re used to doing it all on your own. But especially during busier seasons like back-to-school, remind yourself that there’s no shame in speaking up for what you need. It can mean the difference between “crazy mom” and “calm, confident mom.” Which would you rather be? (And more importantly, which mom would your kiddos prefer?!)
That’s it! These 5 simple strategies will help you find a little more “me-time” on that crowded schedule so you can take care of you during this busy season.
Remember, you don’t have to implement them all at once. Pick one and start there. A little step in the right direction is better than no step at all.
Courtney is a Lifestyle Strategist, Speaker, and Stress Expert dedicated to showing high-achieving women how to StressLESS and LiveMORE.
After a fast-paced corporate career and overcoming cancer at the age of 25, Courtney realized that life’s too short to waste any time feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and burnt out. She believes every woman was put on this earth with power and purpose, and deserves to have success without the stress.
As the creator and founder of The StressLESS System©️, Courtney specializes in showing busy women how to ditch the overwhelm, create order out of life’s chaos, and find their inner peace.
She’s known for sharing simple, actionable steps to help them grow their business without the stress, so they can have more time to enjoy the life that’s in front of them right now. After all, “StressLESS, LiveMORE” is her motto!
Courtney lives in New Orleans with her husband Alan and their son AJ, a surprise miracle baby following her cancer treatments. You’ll find her hanging out wherever there’s dark chocolate and good cappuccino.
To learn more, you can connect with Courtney on Instagram @CourtneyElmer_ or on her website, CourtneyElmer.com