Confession time: this is actually my first back-to-school season as a mom. My son has been in daycare since he was 3 months old, but last week was his first day of preschool, and we aren't adjusting well. You would think that after the last two years of constantly adapting our routine we would be better with change, but getting used to a new routine has been challenging for us.
Thankfully, I work with a group of parents who all feel my pain, and our group chat is filled with helpful real-mom tips. Here are the five pieces of advice that I've started implementing into my day-to-day life, and let me just say — game changer.
Free Up Brain Space
So far, the hardest part of this back-to-school season has been managing the calendar. Appointments, activities, play dates — you name it, we've got it on the books as we make up for lost time. One amazing piece of advice I received is that I don't actually have to have all of these dates memorized in my head. One coworker explained how she uses her family's virtual assistant and a shared calendar to manage the family schedule. So now when I book a doctor's appointment or plan a last minute get-together with friends, I make sure our Alexa knows and sets a reminder. That way, she can be the one to nag my husband, and if anyone has any questions, they just have to ask Alexa (and not me!).
Organize a corner that's all your own
Whether it's your workspace or vanity, having a dedicated, uncluttered space that you use every day will do wonders for your productivity. I set up a little desk in our guest room just for me. It's where I write thank-you notes, answer emails, and do needlepoint. Everyone knows that's my spot, and I love that I have a corner of the house that I can escape to when I need to get something done.
Take a moment (or several) for yourself throughout the day
One of my favorite tips is that self-care doesn't have to be this big production. You don't have to set aside an entire hour each morning and night for a skin-care routine to be "good" at self-care. It wasn't until I got myself a Lyric Therapeutic Massager ($199.95) that I realized self-care could happen throughout the day.
I don't know about you, but I was always a bit intimidated by massage guns, and assumed that because I wasn't a CrossFit champ, I didn't need one. But Lyric isn't only easy to handle, it's intuitive to use. I love that it's lightweight and doesn't look bulky sitting on my kitchen counter, and the digital touch screen makes it simple to operate, which means I can pick it up throughout the day when I need a moment of calm or energy.
It really came in handy this past weekend when my son was sick (preschool germs, argh). We were up all night, barely sleeping, and since you don't need an app to operate it, I was able to use my Lyric on my kinked neck with one hand, while drinking coffee with my other. I instantly felt more relaxed and less stressed, and if I've learned one thing from this season of my life, it's that you need to make every moment count. My Lyric helps me do that.
Have something to look forward to
One coworker had the genius suggestion of planning something special when your kids are back at school. Whether it's a hair appointment or a yoga class, having something on the calendar just for you is a nice way to ensure you don't get too overwhelmed with the needs of everyone else.
Invest in yourself
Who says back-to-school shopping is just for kids? Whether you're shopping your own closet or actually adding items to the virtual cart you've been building, taking the time to consider your fall wardrobe is a great way to invest in yourself. I realized I always feel more accomplished if I actually get dressed in the morning for school drop-off. So one day I purged my closet and put looks together that are easy to throw on and comfortable. And since I know I don't have the patience to do my hair or makeup in the morning, I keep a few earrings and perfume on my vanity instead. Accessorizing with jewelry and perfume makes me feel luxe no matter what.