Juggling a job, family, and social life can be complicated at the best of times, and never more so than during the summer, when invitations to weddings and parties start to pile up and the kids are off school! After what has already been a stressful year for most of us, here are some tips to help you to get back into the swing of everyday life again.
- Make a timetable
This may sound a bit robotic, but planning a schedule in advance and sticking closely to it really can help to eliminate some of those last-minute panics. Even if you regard yourself as the happy-go-lucky freewheeling type who recoils from the idea of a timetable, don’t dismiss it outright! A little advanced planning can help you feel calmer and more balanced.
Your children are also likely to thrive in a less chaotic atmosphere. Block out times for essential chores, exercising, and so on, and stick to a consistent bedtime to avoid burnout. If you have a social occasion coming up, think ahead to what outfits you and your children will wear, so that everything is clean, well-fitting, and in good repair on the day.
- Have a backup system
If you have a partner, make sure they are pulling their weight with the chores and childcare. If you feel like there is room for improvement in this area, it may be easier to draw up a rota rather than launch into a confrontation. If your kids are old enough, there is no reason why they shouldn’t do some share of the chores too.
It also pays to have emergency plans in place for when your child is ill, to avoid you or your partner chipping into precious holiday time. If possible, ask friends or family if they are willing to help, and network with other parents so you can form a mutual support system. Look into holiday playschemes in your area for those tricky out of term times.
- Stop striving for perfection
This may seem counterintuitive to previous advice, but if you have a perfectionist streak, you may be exhausting yourself with unrealistic goals. Sometimes, it might be necessary to accept that the house isn’t immaculate, or your kids aren’t beautifully turned out and they don’t prefer fresh organic fruit to sweets, but at least you had a fun family day out together.
- Make time for self-care
This advice can sometimes make busy people grind their teeth with despair, but it really is important! Try to set a deadline each day, after which you will not check your emails or work phone, and will do something for yourself. This could simply be a nice relaxing bath, or half an hour in front of the TV.
- Try and keep active
If you have trouble fitting in exercise, schedule in some time a few times a week and stick to it. Even short bursts of activity everyday have been proven to help reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost your overall sense of wellbeing.
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