When the school year begins, life often starts to feel like it’s shifted into high gear. While there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to as the fall season leads to the holidays, it can also cause significantly higher levels of stress. Because of this, it’s important to realize that you’ll benefit from additional self-care this time of year. Here are some practical self-care strategies you can use to feel calm and relaxed during the stressful school year.
Start a Gratitude Journal
This is a simple practice that takes very little time to do every day, but it can provide noticeable benefits. Study after study shows that practicing gratitude improves levels of happiness, leads to better sleep, and is overall one of the bestways to deal with anxiety naturally. Create a routine where you write down three things you are thankful for every day, even if they are simple. Making this a practice can be an effective way to feel more at ease during times of stress.
While simply paying attention to the present sounds like a simple enough task, stressful times can make it easy to constantly worry about what happened yesterday or what is happening tomorrow. You can intentionally carve out some time to practicemindfulness exercises, such as paying attention to your breathing before you go to sleep. Mindfulness also can be as simple as forcing yourself to pay attention to the present moment. Whether it’s noticing the details of a room if you showed up early to a meeting or taking a look outside rather than at your phone while drinking your morning coffee, focusing on the present naturally eases anxiety.
Make Time for Physical Activity
When you’re a parent, it can be difficult to set aside time in your schedule for a full-blown workout at the gym every other day. But it’s still well worth it to find time regularly to get your body moving. Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for both your mind and your body. Look for short workouts you can do before getting out of the house every other morning, even if it is just a short walk. Or, try to bundle your physical activity with the time you spend with your kids, such as playing an active game on the Wii or kicking the soccer ball around.
Be sure to write down self-care practices in your calendar or make reminders on your phone before they become a habit. As you get into the rhythm of practicing self-care, you’ll yourself feeling far more ready to take on each day.