Back to school, back to you: a parent’s survival guide

StatePoint Media | 9/6/2018, 6:42 p.m.
Parenthood is a demanding and busy job, particularly during back-to-school season. With lunches to pack, homework to check, projects to ...
Parents and children at school Gift Habeshaw/Unspash

Parenthood is a demanding and busy job, particularly during back-to-school season. With lunches to pack, homework to check, projects to oversee and activities to drive the children to and from, it’s no wonder many parents find it challenging to squeeze in time for self-care.

But, if you want to keep up with your children, it’s important to carve out time for healthy eating and exercise. Here are some ways to make more time for your own health, according to Courtney McCormick, dietitian for Nutrisystem.

Be an early riser

Relish early morning peace by getting moving an hour or two before the children start stirring. Work in your morning fitness routine, meditate to mentally prepare for the day, do yoga and prepare a healthy breakfast. The earlier you rise, the more such daily habits you can adapt.

Schedule it

Schedule exercise the same you would a trip to the doctor’s office or hair salon. If it’s on a daily task list or calendar, you’re more likely to follow through. If positive reinforcement is a good motivator for you, use fun colored markers to record your various appointments and give yourself a big check mark or smiley face when you’ve completed a workout.

Get prepped

Nothing makes mornings more chaotic than having to pack lunches while trying to get everyone out the door. And packing lunch in a pinch can leave you susceptible to making hasty choices. Take about 10 minutes in the evening to prepare the next day’s lunches; you will thank yourself in the morning when you have healthy meals and snacks packed and ready to roll for yourself and your kiddos.

Other meal prep ideas

Put together a bunch of meals Sunday to simply pull out of the fridge and heat for quick, yet wholesome dinners on busy weeknights.

Boil a dozen eggs for an easy protein-rich snack. Create baggie-sized portions of nuts and fruit. Prepping nourishing grab-and-go snacks for the afternoon crunch will help you stay on track.

Walk on your lunch break

If you find yourself really strapped for workout time, try taking a 30-minute walk before eating your lunch. Even doing light cardiovascular exercise for a half-hour can help you stay in shape and shed some pounds.

Get the children moving

If you weren’t able to squeeze in a sweat session sans children, round up the family and take a long, after-dinner stroll. Encourage your children to keep up a moderate pace, while sharing stories and highlights from the day and playing games like “I Spy.”

More health and wellness tips can be found at leaf.nutrisystem.com.

Although it sounds counterintuitive or even impossible to put yourself first when you’re a parent, prioritizing your health and fitness is essential to keeping up with parental demands. This back-to-school season, stay focused on the fact that you still need time for you.