Goodbye Summer: Preventive Health Tips for the End of 2022
September marks the end of summer and, for many of us, the beginning of one of the busiest seasons of the year. From going back to work after summer vacations to kids going back to school to the start of the holiday season – the next few months are filled with changes that can be both fun and rewarding and stressful and overwhelming.
Luckily, a little preparation will go a long way toward helping the last four months of the year go by smoothly!
End-of-the-fiscal-year work commitments, school runs, extracurricular activities, parent-teacher meetings, the start of countless holiday parties… It can be hard to get back into the swing of our regular routines at the end of the summer. Staying organized is an important step in managing these crazier schedules.
Create a family calendar, either on paper or through a shared Google calendar or other digital option. You can color-code work schedules, kids’ activities, important appointments, and family time. Set a time each week to update the calendar and review the upcoming week with the entire family so everyone has an understanding of where they need to be when.
Experiment with a weekly meal plan or a family chore chart to help streamline household tasks during busy weekdays.
If you and your partner share the load for things like school drop-offs and pick-ups, errands and chores, or kids’ extracurricular activities, set aside some time to discuss who will be responsible for what over the coming months. Establishing clear roles and responsibilities now will cut down on potential conflict or forgotten duties down the line.
And speaking of forgotten duties – try to go easy on yourself (and your family). In times of increased busy-ness and stress, it’s only natural that we will drop the occasional ball. Nobody’s perfect. And the truth of the matter is, 99% of the time, it won’t be the end of the world. Most of the balls in our lives are rubber – they bounce back. Be honest with yourself about which balls are glass – which ones you absolutely have to keep in the air on a given day – and relax a bit about the rest.
Pay attention to your budget
You may be experiencing anxiety about inflation and rising prices, and you certainly aren’t alone. Many, if not most, Americans are finding themselves faced with increased financial strain and the need to take another look at their household expenses. And as we head into the new school year and the holiday season, stress over spending is likely to increase.
We are more likely to overspend if we don’t have a plan, so now is the time to sit down and think about our fall and holiday budgets. Do your kids’ school supply lists include big ticket items like new uniforms or sports gear? Spend some time figuring out how to balance needs vs. wants as you head into the new school year. Are you planning to travel to visit family for the holidays? Start looking at plane tickets or setting aside money for gas and other travel expenses now. Do you exchange gifts with a lot of family and friends? Consider establishing spending limits or suggesting a Secret Santa or other more limited exchange. Do you do a lot of holiday baking or host holiday meals? Keep an eye out for sales now and stock your pantry or freezer with items you’ll need for your festive traditions.
Give yourself (and your family) clear guidelines for your holiday budgets. And remember that there are plenty of ways to enjoy special time with your family and friends without spending a ton of money!
This goes hand-in-hand with establishing a fall and holiday budget, especially if you have children. Things like spending limits and shifting schedules require clear communication to make sure everyone is on board and on the same page.
Have these conversations early and often, and remember to highlight the positive instead of just focusing on limitations. Working together as a family to identify your top priorities and come up with creative ways to achieve them can help cut down on disappointment and even generate some excitement!
Take care of your (and your family’s) health
Kids back in classrooms, colder weather, and more time indoors can all equal more exposure to germs! Now’s the time to take some preventive steps to maintain your family’s health through the fall and winter months.
Get that annual check-up on the calendar now before the end of the year, and talk to your doctor about recommended vaccines like the flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccines and boosters (if eligible). Stock up on things like hand sanitizer and hand soap, tissues, over-the-counter medicines, and chicken soup for those inevitable fall and winter colds!
Focus on healthy, easy-to-prepare meals that will keep you and your family nourished and energized for their busy weeks. Meal prep can be especially helpful here! Spending an hour on the weekends cutting up fresh fruit and vegetables or portioning out healthy grab-and-go snacks can cut down on time spent in the kitchen later in the week. No time to shop or plan out a weekly menu? Try one of the many healthy meal delivery services out there.
Prioritize getting enough sleep and moving your body every day, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk around the block at lunch. All of these factors are key for keeping us in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally.
Leave room for downtime and fun
Of course, fun and relaxation are also important for our overall well-being! So when you’re drawing up schedules and nailing down budgets, remember to build in space for the things you and your family truly enjoy. This could mean budgeting to go out to a favorite restaurant a couple times a month, or putting your weekly yoga class on the family calendar.
And don’t forget to leave some space in your schedule for downtime. Everyone needs some time to relax and decompress before they hurry off to the next event. Making sure you and your family are not too overscheduled as you head into the school year and holiday season is an important part of helping manage stress and keep everyone happy and healthy.
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