It’s that time of year again! Days are slowly getting shorter, weather is getting a bit cooler, and the school year is quickly approaching on the horizon. The best “Back to School” (or even back to work) preparation you can do is to create and adopt a healthy and easy-to-follow routine. Since our physiology and neurohormones work on an internal schedule, our bodies and mind optimally thrive on routine. Hence, the best way to get your kids (and yourself) ready for back to school (or work) is to construct a healthy routine. Below are 3 key criteria to include when constructing a successful routine:
Sleep schedules should be implemented approximately 2 weeks before school/work starts, and should allot for at least 8 hours of sleep (and 6 hours for adults). Proper “sleep hygiene” is important as well – try unwinding activities (such as reading, writing, mindfulness), hide electronics, decrease artificial light, journal or plan the next day, lay out your clothes and make your lunch the night before, or practice yoga/meditation/deep breathing before going to bed.
2. Proper Nutrition
- Try eating 1 hour within waking with protein rich foods. This will jump start your metabolism and help regulate your blood sugar through out the day (which will decrease sugar cravings late at night). Have snacks or “small meals” 2-3 hours apart for a total of 4-6 meals a day. Avoid eating less than 3 hours before your bed time to improve sleep quality. Also remember to stay hydrated with 2L to 4L of water a day. Getting your kids involved with making their lunch will make them more likely to eat it! Let them help prepare snacks and meals in order to foster a positive relationship between them and nutrition.
3. Socializing and Extracurricular Activities
No routine is complete without fun activities and connecting with friends and family! Encourage your kids (and yourself) to join social activities (such as clubs, sports, arts, games, volunteering, etc.). Not only do these activities help with leadership and communication skills, they also occur at scheduled places and times which helps create a routine.
Routine working habits are important to enforce as well. Try doing homework (or regular work) at the same time and in the same place (ie. at a table or an area separate from your bed!). The brain will quickly form the connection between the work location and doing mental work in that place, where after time your mind will naturally go into “work mode” when you enter that location
Routine becomes solidified with practice. Starting it is difficult and sticking with it can be challenging. However, the more you practice your routine the sooner it becomes naturally autonomic, and that’s when it’s most beneficial for your mental-emotional-physical well being. If something isn’t working for you, change it! No routines are alike, just include the 3 key components and you will be on your way to health! Have a great return to school and work everyone!