(If you read the title of this blog and did not immediately sing, "Back to reality," are you even real?)
It’s the first week of school.
If you’re a mom, you’re probably relieved and excited to get them kids out of your hair and out of your house.
If you’re a student, you’re mourning the end of the summer and dreading the return to structure and responsibility.
If you’re a commuter, you’re probably already fed up with the school bus/drop-off line traffic… and it’s only the third day.
Regardless of how you fit into the back-to-school equation, this is the time of the year that reminds us that summer fun has come to an end, the year is rolling into the last quarter, and it’s time to get back to business as usual. Even though I’m no longer the parent of a school-aged child and I missed the hustle of getting ready for a new school year (I’m lying- I didn’t miss it at all), I see this time of the year as the time to shake off the remnants of the summer and get back to business.
Let’s be honest- summer is so much fun because it’s a free-for-all. Summertime is when we abandon structure and make the most of long summer days and warm summer nights. We sleep later and stay outside longer. The streets were calling- and we answered the call, didn't we?? Backyard cookouts and rooftop happy hours had us eating and drinking more than we usually do. Some of us spent leisurely days on vacation doing nothing at all. Summer is when we take off our clothes and shed our routines and enjoy life, so the end of summer means we are re-establishing the routines and structure that hold our regular lives together.
I’m probably talking to myself here- but it’s time to get back into the habit of going to bed at a decent hour and having a morning routine. While you’re at it, it’s time to get back to eating like we have some sense and drinking a little less. Establish the routines you need to be your best self. Make sure you are including a skincare component, an exercise component, and something good for your mental health and well-being, like meditation, journaling, or prayer. Use September to set up the routines you need to be successful between now and when it’s time to let it all hang out again next summer.
Remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of carefully constructed, deliberate routines, implemented over time, that set you up to be your best self. That’s where the sweet spot is and the magic happens.
Figure out what works for you- and stick to doing that thing.
This one feels especially important now that we are all on social media and seeing so often how other people live their lives. Watching how something works for someone else may inspire you to try it for yourself, which is fine if it is something you need and is helpful to you. Be careful of experimenting, however, when you already have a system in place that works for you.
I’ll give you an example. I follow an influencer on the clock app who designs these elaborate planners that you download and use on your tablet or smartphone. She uses this planner to organize her life. She literally thought of everything- and created a section in the planner for it. Of course, I was influenced to purchase and download the planner, even though for the past 41 years (read: all my life) I’ve been a pen-and-paper planner kinda girl. Despite knowing full well that I remember things best when I write them down, I switched to the e-planner. What do you think happened?
I’ll save you some time here- it was an epic fail. On the rare occasions I remembered to use the planner, I’d forget what I typed because that’s not the system that works for me. I missed deadlines. Forgot to pay bills. Walked out of the grocery store without everything I needed. As much as that e-planner worked for the creator, it didn’t work for me- and I knew better. I went back to the spiral notebook I got from Dollar Tree and my favorite ink pen.
It’s fine to try new things. But if you find something that works for you (and this includes everything from planners to skin care products to hair conditioners to sex positions), it’s okay to stick to that. Don’t complicate your life by switching up what already works. Just do that thing over and over again and conserve your energy for the hard stuff.
Give yourself grace.
This will likely be a point in most blogs I write because it’s just that important. Life is difficult and as wonderful as we are, we are not perfect. We will make mistakes and get things wrong from time to time, despite our best efforts. As you are jumping back into life, give yourself the grace you need to ease back into your groove. Give yourself space to grow and shift and change your mind. It’s hard to let go of lazy summer habits, but it’s time to get back to work.
In the next blog, we’re gonna talk about how to battle the winter blues, especially for those of you who struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka seasonal depression). For now, focus on re-establishing the routines you need to be successful, figuring out what works for you, and giving yourself the grace you need to accomplish your goals and end the year on a good note.
It’s back to life, ladies. We’re ready though. We have everything we need. We have each other.