Managing Busy Fall Schedules as a Family
By: Hannah Auch, MA Intern
It’s that time of year again! We are home from our vacations, the leaves are starting to change and the kids are back to school. We have been propelled into another season of jam-packed schedules. The school year can be fun and exciting, but it can also bring challenges when it comes to trying to stay on top of everything.
What is the key to managing overloaded schedules without letting life just pass us by?
One of the most important parts to staying on top of busy schedules is not what you do at those events on your calendar – but what you do in between to stay prepared and organized. To help you start off strong, I would like to highlight a couple of practical tools for managing busy schedules this fall. First, using a family calendar is a great way to keep everyone on the same page, such as a shared google calendar or even one that sits in a central location in the house. Another practical option to help you get ahead is meal prepping. There are so many resources out there for meal prep strategies that can help you save a little time in the kitchen, helping you have more time to relax and enjoy family time. Remember, the freezer is your friend. You can save time by preparing your favorite meals in advance and storing it in a freezer bag until you are ready to throw in the ingredients in the oven or frying pan. Here's a helpful resource to get you started.
With children’s activities, work and social schedules that are so demanding, being intentional about a routine of togetherness can make a big difference. Even if your family can only have one meal together due to busy calendars, make an effort to choose a time each week when everyone knows you will be with one another. Maybe it’s a walk outside, a meal, a tv show the whole family views together, or a meeting on the couch to check in. Children (and adults) thrive with predictability and structure and opportunities to connect with family.
Organization and preparation are important – but it’s not the only key to success. Mindfulness is an informal tool that can help us be more present and feel more connected to those around us. In the words of Dr. Bob Stalh, “the present moment is the only place where life may be fully lived.” (Stahl, 2019). Mindfulness means you are paying attention - it’s an active awareness of our surroundings, our thoughts, our senses and our feelings. Science has even been able to prove that mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety, strengthen the immune system, and improve decision-making and cognitive functioning (Stalh, 2019). Next time you feel like life is moving too fast, take a minute to stop, breathe, and think about whatever is going on in front of you. Whether that’s watching a movie with your spouse, taking your kid to soccer practice, or finally sitting down with a cup of tea.
Stop, breathe, pay attention. Then give yourself grace. Remember: you are doing the best you can.
If you're finding it hard to keep your anxiety managed in this season, its also ok to ask for help. Our therapists are ready to support you through this season and more. Call us today to schedule your first appointment.
Stahl, B. & Goldstein, E. (2019). Mindfulness-based stress reduction. New Harbinger Press. ISBN- 978-1572247086.
Truman, Karrie. (Oct 18, 2018). 15 Actually Easy Freezer Meals (Seriously!). Happy Money Saver. https://happymoneysaver.com/easy-freezer-meals/