Back to the Grind: Top 5 Ways to Avoid Back-To-School Season Burnout.

 Photo by  Hope House Press  on  Unsplash

It's Back-To-School Time.  Whether you have wee ones, are a student yourself, or even if you are just working your way through life, this time of year has a certain something about it that makes us all re-set.  It feels like the TRUE start of the year, and we all want to make sure we put our best foot forward.  In order to make the transition as smooth as possible, I've compiled my list of brilliant (and do-able) advice on how to take back-to-school season by storm.  

1. Use what you've learned in the fairer months. 

Whether your summer was a whirlwind of kids in camp, long cottage traffic jams or early morning soccer practices, you likely had at least a few moments of sitting on a dock or in your backyard where you were able to exhale.  And what did those moments teach you?  Reflect on your own experience this summer, as there's got to be SOMETHING you've learned from the fairest season.  (Something other than "an extra glass of wine is the key to my sanity".) Something about the power of relaxation to make the rest of your day better...something about how you feel better if you move your butt more often...or something about how it feels to ask for help instead of just wishing it would come.  Maybe even a new healthy habit as simple as drinking a glass of water every morning.  

I just started going to a new gym and feel really good whenever I go.  So as the days get colder and I just want to hibernate, I will conjure that post-workout feeling as motivation...

Whatever it is - carry that with you through Autumn.  The things we learn when the dust has settled can be mini life-savers when the storm begins to brew.  

 Photo by  Kate Tandy  on  Unsplash

Photo by Kate Tandy on Unsplash

2. Don't abandon the great out-doors.

Canadians love our summers because it means we can finally be outside without our toques!  We take pride in our decks/balconies/porches as they allow us to be in nature, even if we're in the middle of the city.  And doesn't it feel good?!  

So.  Just because your life is about to get a lot more hectic does not mean you have to abandon nature.  Make a concerted effort to keep eating dinners on your deck with the fam.  Sit on your front porch after dinner instead of hibernating in the abyss of Netflix.  Keep those weekends packed with hikes/visits to the beach for as long as the warmth continues.  You will feel WAY more relaxed and able to ride the waves of Autumnal life.  Where do you think the phrase "down to earth" came from?  Get back to nature and chill the #%+& out.

3. Get back on that supplement train. 

We all fall off the supplement wagon in the summer.  And why shouldn't we?!  We feel great!  So here is a gentle reminder that, in no time, the kids or co-workers will be snotty beasts which means your immune system is going to get a beating.  So. Get back on those immune supports.  The probiotics, the vitamin D, the fish oil...whatever it is that keeps you on track.  

4. Routine is your best friend. 

Obviously the end of summer signals more routine, more meetings, more structure.  So don't assume it's best to do this all day, then as soon as 8pm hits, you just let yourself fall apart.  Friends - our bodies love routine.  And if the day-time is going to get more strict, then the night-time needs to follow suit in order to maintain stamina for those busy, packed days.  

What does this mean, exactly?...  Sleep.  At the same time every night.  Avoid the "let's just watch one more episode..." at all costs!  Because if you do that tonight then you'll do that tomorrow and then you've had 3 hours less sleep this week and on and on and the cycle continues.  Until you show up in my office in 6 months time saying you feel exhausted every day.  

5. The 3-minute rule.  

 Photo by  Tim Goedhart  on  Unsplash

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Everyone needs a break.  And there are zero excuses when all it takes is 3 minutes a day.  So here's what you do: choose roughly the same time each day.  (Just before lunch is a good one).  Set a timer for 3 minutes.  Sit in a quiet room and close your eyes.  (You can even do this when other people are around by just sitting in silence with your eyes open - they'll never know!)  Now focus on your breathing, counting the breaths in and out ("one....one....two....two...) until you get to ten, then start over again.  Continue like this until your timer goes off.  Then continue on with your day, and repeat the next day.

What does such a miniscule time commitment do for you?.. Prevents burnout, that's what.  This basic exercise is incredibly calming for the nervous system, and reminds your body that, despite juggling a million responsibilities in your day, it is not actually under siege.  It is safe, and you are in control.  

You've got this.  

~Dr. Rush, ND