Top tips on fighting the holiday blues for a balanced back to school routine

Top tips on fighting the holiday blues for a balanced back to school routine

This week I wanted to reflect upon how I feel about children getting back to school and finding a new normal.

September feels like summer coming to an end, with schools starting, some may be returning back to the office, or you may adapt your routine still working from home. It can be a struggle to get back into the daily swing of life and I am definitely feeling anxious about the dreaded school run (a 40-minute run often takes me 1 hour 15 mins round trip,) plus work, managing home, cooking, puppy and family commitments!

Some of us have had a summer holiday of some sort, whether it’s a staycation or a trip away since things have been opening up.

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I was blessed enough to travel to Spain for six days, which was exactly what the doctor asked for – some time out, some sun and a chance to relax after a very busy and lifechanging year and a half!

However, I still experience bouts of fatigue since having Covid myself and it has really taught me to try and slow down and appreciate each day.

The return of pressure of going back to a fast-paced life seems daunting to me too. A slower pace can be unnerving, especially in a culture where we are always encouraged to be “on”. So, try to find a balance that works for you and here are my Top Tips!

Be kind to yourself: It’s a difficult period of change. Allow yourself to experience the full range of emotions. Treat yourself as you would a friend. Don’t come down hard on yourself when things don’t go to plan. Exercising self-compassion has been shown to improve our motivation, boost our self esteem and optimise our mood and wellbeing.

Set your own pace & it’s ok to say ‘No’: There is no shame in not feeling obliged to say yes to every social invite or request. It’s common to feel decision fatigue each week – the pressure to say yes to every request or proposition that is made of your time and before you know it’s Monday morning again and you’ve barely had time to recharge or rest.

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Carve time out for Selfcare Snacks: It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate or costly, but something that allows you to recharge those batteries and make you feel better able to tackle the new week ahead. I like using Sundays to do this, like doing a Sunday Stretch Session and a Sunday evening bath. Or try to commit to some selfcare daily like a 5-minute stretch, breath or meditation snack each morning/evening.

Create a checklist & prioritise your must-dos: I like setting realistic “Snack Sized Goals”, being clear about what is important to me right now or what can wait a while has been hugely helpful for me. Back to work after a week of leave can make you feel quite overwhelmed, when checking a full inbox of emails and then unrealistically trying to frantically attempt to tick everything off the to-do list by the end of the day!

Try and settle into a new routine but be flexible: Pause, reflect and maintain structure and direction to your day without pressure. A new routine can take time to work out. Take each day as it comes.

Exercise Snacking: It’s quick, easy, fun and time efficient. Even 5/10 minutes bitesize amounts count and help as life picks up and we work out our new schedules. If you can’t manage 30/60 minutes of exercise all in one go, you can break it into smaller ‘snacks’ which have the same health benefits. Think of them as a treat for your body & mind! Have some form of movement each day, ideally outside and diarise them as you would a meeting. Lots on my Instagram for you to try!

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Don’t forget to pause and take breaks: Breaks are restorative and allow us to return to a task with a renewed sense of focus. A 5/10-minute Feel Good Walk around the block or to your local park can do wonders for your mental health, productivity, energy levels and creativity.

Eat well & keep hydrated: Eat colourful fresh balanced plates of food. Aim to drink 2 litres of water per day. Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake as they may compound feelings of anxiety or low mood and may impact sleep.

Prioritise Sleep: Sleep can help optimise mood, energy levels, appetite, affect your weight and help focus. Unwind before bed, set regular sleep/wake times, caffeine/screen curfews & aim for 7/8 hours of sleep. Get outdoors for a walk/jog/run/cycle or workout outdoors! Exposure to natural daylight, especially first thing in the morning can help regulate, sleep/wake cycles.

Socialise: Make time to pencil in a connection with others. Reach out and connect, continue to maintain social connections and meet ups. Human connection is so important so make sure you are diarising regular face to face or virtual ones. A walk outside with a coffee, a lunch outdoors, a midweek drink with a friend, dinner, a gym workout together or a shopping trip, think about incorporating something social to have to look forward to.

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Lavina Mehta was awarded an MBE for services to health and fitness during Covid-19. She is passionate about promoting the health benefits of exercise to treat, prevent and reduce risks of common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.

In her regular Feel Good series with iGlobal, the award-winning personal trainer and wellness coach shares stories from her journey into fitness, workout tips and announcements about her upcoming online sessions.

**Info: Catch Lavina on Instagram IGTV; check out special offers at Feel Good Facebook Community; tune into her free seniors workout sessions Zoom; and replay saved sessions, many translated into Gujarati with her mother-in-law, on YouTube.

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