September has always represented new beginnings for our family, even more so than the start of a new year on January 1st.

During the last week of August, I start getting that urge to make lists, clean out the closets and cupboards, organize, write out a schedule and get back to that feeling of being prepared.

Now that it’s here and our twins have officially started school again, there’s no question that this September will be different from past years. Schedules will need to be more rigid and defined (yet tentative and unpredictable at the same time). The emotional upswings and downswings will be far more extreme, as the impact of back-to-school season has the potential to play havoc with COVID case numbers.

Ahead of all the upcoming challenges and schedule changes, we’ve been doing all we can to stay emotionally and physically balanced. Instead of overthinking what’s to come in the fall, we have instead been focusing on the things that are in our control.

Meal-planning

I’m not sure about you, but this used to be a thing that we did every week. We made 3-4 meals in advance and kept them in the fridge to help ensure the week went smoothly; while also meant we were able to take care of ourselves.

Meal planning as a whole seems to have disappeared as we’ve been trying to do our best to adjust to life during a global pandemic; the time to meal prep just doesn’t seem to exist for us anymore. In the last couple of weeks, we admitted defeat when it came to making meals. We decided to turn the focus to just ensuring we had healthy ingredients at home; ready to go in the fridge for the week.

Here’s what we’ve been doing in the pockets of time we’ve found in-between ad on weekends:

  • Hard boil some eggs;
  • Dice and boil 2-3 sweet potatoes;
  • Make quinoa. Once cooked, lay it out on cookie sheet to cool; squeeze fresh lemon over it, and season with salt and pepper;
  • Marinate and cook chicken breasts (check out our Southwest Chicken Salad mason jar recipe for inspo);
  • Prep fresh veggies for snacking or to use in a stir-fry or noodle salad;
  • Make a large jar of green smoothie, or some BBQ/oven roast veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, red onion, etc);
  • Our new Mini Muffins make for a healthy, easy addition to lunch boxes, a mid-day snack, or are tasty anytime of day, really;
  • Visit our recipe page for gluten-free friendly appetizers, mains, desserts, snacks, etc.

Scheduling

Many of us are trying to figure out how to balance a schedule for work and our kids. Personally, I’m finding the extra-curricular planning for the kids extra difficult.

Can they handle it? What if it’s too much? How can I schedule them for anything beyond a month? Should I put the start day-reminders and the last day
for refund reminder in my calendar? It’s all so overwhelming!

I’ve instead decided to focus my energy on preventative health-care for everyone. Dentist, doctor, osteopath, massage – it has all been booked and scheduled in advance for the next six weeks. From there, I picked a few of the kids favourite interests and only scheduled a month at a time. Plus, both Aidan and I have put emphasis on our own self-care – to ensure we’re also staying active and health.

Sleeping

This is a big one for both Aidan and I. It’s got to happen. Sleep deprivation is the number one thing that brings on looming anxieties, just waiting to surface.

There are so many sleep tips and tricks that are all super helpful – no screens, drink plenty of water throughout the day and less at night, no snacking after dinner, meditating before bed (even if just for a few, epsom salt baths, magnesium (we recommend looking into local South Shore Bridgewater-based Nourished Magnesium).

Self-care

On top of everything else I’ve mentioned, I want to leave you with this – a Louise Hay affirmation that I have been doing before bed for years. An exercise to help move away from overthinking and to get out of my own head; shifting the focus to self-care, shutting down, and learning to let go.

Start by taking a deep breath and read this aloud. Often times, I’ll read it 2-3 times in a row:

I am willing to let go. I release. I let go.
I release all tension.
I release all fear.
I release all anger.
I release all guilt.
I release all sadness.
I let go of all old limitations.
I let go and I am at peace.
I am at peace with myself.
I am at peace with the process of life.
I am safe.

Here’s to making changes like these and so many more as we transition into the fall and winter seasons. Remember to be gentle with yourself and with each other. You’ve got this – and good luck out there, folks!

Onward and up,
Jen

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