Hello September! And welcome back to the realities of cooler weather, school, work, and routine. Routine? Oh you mean scheduling in workouts, meals, social outings, kids activities, and schoolwork? I am already exhausted just thinking about it! As we wave goodbye to summer and the fall season approaches, we often find ourselves challenged to get back into the swing of things. Summer means vacation and alterations to our usual habits so it makes sense it takes us some time to readjust.
This week at the University of Toronto, the gyms were packed and so were my fitness classes. AMAZING! But, I know that in a few short weeks when the realities of schoolwork hit, many students will resort to late night studying and poor eating habits. I always tell my participants that our goal for the semester is to keep all of the classes full up until the end of exams, because that means they are committing time for themselves to be physically active.
The main reason people tell me they can’t keep up with their healthy habits is time. How long is your day? Because mine has 24 hours and I can get SO much done! Yes life can throw us curveballs or extra hectic days but overall I think that if we spent a few extra minutes on time management prior to the start of our week, we would be much more productive in all areas that we must give our time and energy to.
Fall is also a great time for us to evaluate all aspects of our lives and to set realistic goals to finish 2016 off strong. Are you satisfied with your relationships, whether with family, friends, or your partner? Are you getting enough sleep and making time for exercise? Are you eating well? Are you having fun? Life is a game of juggling and sometimes certain areas of our life need some tending to. Now is the time to identify those areas and give some extra loving where it is needed. For me, I have identified that I need to prioritize eating well and having fun! Yes two completely different areas of life, but that is where I need to give extra attention. My goal is to better plan my meals so I am organized and eating well. Last week I did not eat out even once simply because I planned ahead for the week! I also noticed that because everything was home-cooked my energy levels were high and I felt great. I absolutely LOVE my job and it is certainly filled with laughter and fun, however, I have to remind myself that all work and no play isn’t healthy either. I am working on finding other non-physical activities that bring me joy and allow me to have new experiences.
Easier said than done, right? We usually know what needs to happen; the only issue is actually making it happen. Below are a few tips and tricks I use to reset during the fall season and to stay on track to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.
1. Plan ahead. I carry around my agenda with me everywhere, no phone calendar here! I schedule and colour code it all! To some it may seem over the top, but to me it keeps me on track and organized to accomplish as much as I can in one day. Whether it is scheduling in a workout or fitness class, meal prep time, or dinner with friends, if it is in the calendar I make sure it happens! When we allot specific time for studying, meals, exercise, and social time, we can use the given time as efficiently as possible.
2. Listen to your body. Some days we need a break. Whether that is a break from school work, exercise, or maybe just people! Whatever it is, listen to your body, we were only given one to live in so we need to protect it and cherish it. Every day, we are tested mentally, physically, and emotionally. Pay attention to the different things you may need to give to your body on any given day to overcome life’s challenges. For example, since I am teaching and interacting all the time, I am spending this afternoon alone, doing work and hanging out with myself in the calmness of my condo. Sometimes listening to our bodies is all we need to refocus and reenergize ourselves.
3. Balance. With listening to your body comes balance. As said earlier, our lives pull us in a variety of directions and it is up to us to decide how much time and attention each component gets. Some of us are givers and love to help others. This isn’t a downfall, but we need to recognize the balance of giving to others and making time to take care of ourselves. As students, we can get so consumed with studying that we forget that physical activity can help us to better refocus on mental tasks. As parents, we want the best for our kids but sacrifice a lot of our own personal well-being to make them happy. Make time to balance what is important. Self-care should be a high priority!
As September comes, a lot of us are reminiscing on summer days. Instead of reaching for what was, start thinking of what is and what will be. Today, I challenge you to focus on what is ahead and all that you can accomplish in the next four months. The best is yet to come!
e fierce. Be strong. Be vibrant.