Written by guest contributor Rachel Menzoian, LPC
Summer is coming to an end, and I can feel my stress rising. Our calendar is already filling up, and the school supply lists are out. Here are a few tips as you transition from summer to school:
1 | Start ahead, not behind.
Monday comes... and before we know it, Wednesday is here and our schedule controls us. I have found it helpful to take one hour on Sunday or early Monday morning to make a plan for the week. You may have a lot of moving parts, like a spouse traveling, kids in all different places, or a crazy work week... but focus on what you can plan for, like groceries, meals, and carpooling. Be sure to schedule in some fun too! One more suggestion: you may want to consult with your children to help you plan.
2 | Get in a routine.
It’s super-important for you to plan some sort of routine. It can be at the beginning or the end of the day, but go ahead and highlight the routine now. For me this looks like waking up at a decent time, working out, spending time with God, and making good food choices. What does this look like for you? Is it heading to bed earlier and getting some time alone to read? What routine would help you?
3 | Have a to-do list.
Personally, I love a to-do list! I am a huge fan because my mind can start to feel full at night with everything I need to do. So in the evening, I write out my to-do list for the next day. Sometimes I just do this on a blank piece of paper, or other times on my computer. Do what works for you. I have also found this helpful for my kids. Creating a kids’ to-do list can add some structure to my time and my kids' time. One example of how the to-do lists work for both the kids and me is having them help with the household chores, which leaves more time for some fun activities.
4 | Know your limits.
Sometimes, as parents, we want to be able to do it all. Because we want to be an amazing mom/dad, wife/husband, sister/brother, friend, coach, etc., we start to play the comparison game. We think, “Others have it all together. Why can’t I?” The reality is that we can’t be it all. We all get overwhelmed. No one has it all together. What is something you need to say no to this week, this season, this year? Do you need to take a day or two off? Do you need to get off social media to stop the comparison?
5 | Look ahead.
What are some things you can do now to lessen the stress later? Examples: Go ahead and set up a carpool for school or sports. Shop now for school supplies and school clothes. Gradually move the kids to an earlier bedtime. Teach your kids how to make their own lunches and do their own laundry.
6 | Take time for you.
I listed this tip last... but honestly, it’s the most important one. In order to be the best version of yourself, you have to take care of yourself. What might this look like for you? Maybe it’s going to bed early, getting a massage, scheduling a babysitter so you can go to the grocery store alone, finding time to read, or working out. Put these items on your list and make them part of your routine.
Transitioning to school can be stressful... but in the midst of the chaos, remember to take some time to enjoy the last few days of summer. Your kids will not remember if your house was clean or what healthy meals they ate, but they will remember the time you spent with them.
Rachel Menzoian is a licensed professional counselor in Cumming, Georgia. She has been seeing clients at her private practice, Refuel Counseling, since 2017. For the last 21 years, Rachel has worked in the Care Network at North Point Community Church. Rachel has been married to her husband Jimmy since 2018 and has two children in middle school. Rachel is passionate about helping others to become the best version of themselves while navigating life's circumstances.