Health and Wellness Column: Fall in line

As we settle in from the carefree days of summer into the beautiful season of fall, I find that I need some added structure and direction. I love a good schedule and I love a good plan. I have found that during the summer months I feel less inclined to keep any type of a schedule or plan. The truth is, my family and I do better when we have a plan and a schedule. I appreciate knowing what to expect, the when and the how. I can be spontaneous, but I love a well thought out plan of attack, especially during the busy school week.

Muhammad Ali once said, “Don’t count the days. Make the days count”. How will you make the days count throughout the fall? What can you do to take control of the things that sometimes control you and find some time savers to ‘fall in line?’

Here is my list of time savers:

• Planning meals and prepping for the week saves time and money. Be sure that your grocery list is based on what you plan to make for the week for meals and school lunches. This is a true time saver. I challenge you to try it just for a month and see if you save time and money.

• Keep a calendar. Although this may seem outdated, having weekly plans out for the entire family to see keeps everyone accountable and informed about the week ahead. Even small details matter.

• Create an evening routine. Make lunches, do homework, and get to bed on time. Even teenagers need adequate sleep to be at the top of their game in both schoolwork and athletics. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children aged 6 to 12 years should regularly sleep 9 to12 hours per night and teenagers aged 13 to 18 years should sleep 8 to 10 hours per night. Make sure your child is getting their daily dose of good quality sleep.

• Schedule time for work outs. Most often if this little detail is not given the time and attention it needs, health and fitness will get pushed aside. Finding time for physical activity can ellicit many health benefits. Your physical, mental and emotional health will all be enhanced by carving out time in your day for some physical activity. Never underestimate the value of a 20-minute walk or a quick HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout.

• Do three chores a night so housework does not pile up for the weekend. I have found that I spend way too much time cleaning on the weekends and less time on the fun stuff, so my fall plan is to work a little harder on chores each day so that by the weekend I can have more fun and family time.

• List priorities for the week. Be intentional, make a list and set out to accomplish the list; keep it small so you can feel a sense of accomplishment by week’s end.

• Say “No” to things that are not important. We cannot possibly be everywhere, every minute. It is ok to say no. My Italian guilt can sometimes get in the way. I hate letting people down, but through the years I have become more comfortable declining things that are not important to me or my family.

• Give important things your undivided attention. Sometimes big things require complete and uninterrupted focus. Spend time wisely and laser focus on important tasks and work throughout the week.

• Set a time limit for social media. It is entirely too easy to get swept away scrolling into the abyss of the social media rabbit hole. Limit your time on electronic devices and stick to it. Be strict with yourself and your kids.

• Multi-task when you can. When you are out running errands, conquer several stops instead of just one thing. Go to the grocery store and get in your workout at the gym.

Different strategies work for different people. My hope for you this fall is that you can spend more time enjoying all that fall has to offer and less time stressed about not having enough time to do the things that bring you joy. Can you implement some time savers into your daily routine? This fall, make your days count don’t count your days. Enjoy every magical moment this fall making memories that can last forever.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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