So here it is finally, the first day when everybody had to get up and get back to school. My son had a half-day yesterday, and although he enjoyed a lie in, he was well miffed that his sister got one more day lying around the place.
But today was time to get the well-oiled routine back in place, and that means me getting up just before 6, and orchestrating a parade of people in and out of the bathroom, the kitchen and out of the door, each of them with a full belly, appropriate clothing and the correct kit for the day.
The routine was a bit rusty on day 1 – I had to chase my son down the road with one of his books that had fallen out of his bag, and then my daughter remembered that we had forgotten to buy her train pass, so she had to go to the station a bit early and buy a day ticket.
But, strange as it feels, by 7.15am this morning, I was sitting at home, cradling my second cup of coffee and ready to get on with my day.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the long summer holidays. My children are very easy going, delightful young people now. They do lots of interesting things and I have had a lot of fun with them.
But I have also got seriously out of routine, and a part of me has been dreaming about what exactly I would do when I had time to myself again.
As usual over the summer, I have concocted lots of daydreams and plans about how exactly I will suddenly become organised, productive, slim, beautiful and successful as soon as the kids get back. Do you do the same?
So here we are – the day has come. Today I am planning, and next week I will be putting the big plan into place. Look out world here I come.
Have you got more time on your hands this September? Have your children moved on a stage and are they spending more time being educated by somebody else?
I hear lots of mums on Facebook wailing and saying that they have no idea what they will do now that their little one has gone off to nursery or school.
My answer to that has aways been to reclaim a bit more of myself – have fun just for me, self improvement, relaxation and so on. I absolutely believe that all of this time spent on me and things that I enjoy makes me a better parent, becuase then I have more energy and headspace to devote to the children when they are at home.
So here for the record, are some of the things that will feature in my grand back to school plan this year. Please let me know in the comments if any of them resonate with you.
As always, the house needs a bit of decluttering – and as for the garden, I dare not even think about it. There are projects galore – little things that need fixing, painting, replacing – then there is the damage to the lawn after the drought.
The whole place is a bit of a mess if I’m honest. In some ways I like it like this – I’m defnitely more of a cosy and homely person rather than prisitne and minimalist, but it is a source of constant friction between me and my husband, as my definition of cosy and homely matches his definition of disordered, chaotic and overwhelming.
So I need to do a little bit to get things back to the point where he can accept them too. I’ve been doing my pre-decluttering reading, and I think I’m going to start with a bag a day challenge – tidying up one small area and chucking some stuff out each day.
I feel there is mental clutter to address as well – I’ve been doing some reading in that area too, but I will share more about that when I have actually come to a conclusion and done something about it
It’s all very well to promise grand radical change, but it has to be realistic. So I will start slow and do a little bit every day. I’ll let you know how it goes.
The Health Kick
There’s another big word and concept that seems to pop up on people’s lists whenever they are making resolutions or starting afresh. You can guess what I’m talking about I’m sure – yes weight loss!
So many of us are unhappy with our weight and seem to spend the vast majority of our lives on some diet or other (and the other half eating and refuelling, to celebrate the fact that the diet is done!)
Nowadays there is only one weight loss programme I would ever consider, which is Slimpod Gold from Thinking Slimmer. I will never go on a diet again, when it’s so much easier to just naturally curb my cravings for bad stuff, whist still eating exactly what I like.
However even getting back on the Slimpod programme is not specific enough, because having set a weight loss goal several times and failed to reach it, (and having set a goal and reached it 10 years ago, only to find out that it didn’t make me any happier) I have finally realised that weight loss is not actually what I want.
There is no point in me setting a target to lose a certain amount of weight because that means nothing to me and I won’t be any better off when I do!
So what do I want, you may ask? What I really want is to be healthier, to be able to move around more easily and to live longer.
You may say, that’s exactly the same as losing weight – if I got a couple of stones off you then all of those things would happen. And you would be right.
But it’s a question of focus – instead of fretting about the exact umber of pounds I want to lose (which may or may not lead to increased health benefits), I’m going to focus on the health benefits I want to see , and accept whatever number on the scales comes with those benefits.
So, no diet for me this year. I will be eating healthily, doing my best to follow the food prescriptions in the wonderful book by Dr Aseem Malhotra – the Pioppi Diet, which I read over the summer.
This book is called a ‘Diet’ because that is the ideal title for selling books. but the plan set out in it it describes so much more than what you eat – there are lifestyle principles in this programme too – regular mindful movement and a reduction in stress to start off with.
The eating programme focuses on a low-carb, high-fat, real food approach to eating. There is no calorie counting because you don’t have to use this programme to lose weight – its main aim is to promote health and vitality.
So I will be following the principles in the Pioppi Diet book, listening to my trusty Slimpod to keep me on track with what I have decided to do, and heading back to my favourite yoga class with the amazing Vernette.
Weight loss will hopefully follow, but what I am really looking for is decreased blood pressure, a lower resting heart rate, better sleep and an overall feeling of health.
Yup, here it is, another of the big buzzwords of the moment. I’m going to restart my meditation practice because it makes me feel so much happier when I do.
This morning when everybody had gone back to school and the house was empty by 7.15 I had plenty of time to meditate and it was blissful and made me feel better all day. So I absolutely have to make this a regular habit.
My favouite app to learn mindfulness meditation is Calm. Some people prefer the Headspace app, but I find that the guy’s voice on that grates with me a bit, whereas Tamera from Calm is just my bestie.
I started looking at Mindfulness three years ago when I spent the horrific summer with my mother as she faded away. I started with this book which teaches all the aspects of Mindfulness, not just the meditation.
My favourite exercise in this book was eating chocolate mindfully, something which I still do from time to time. It makes the chocolate last longer, and you get so much more good feelings and enjoyment from it.
I may have moved to Calm for my meditation practice, but I still reread this book often. I love my gratitude practice, and also paying full attention to my surroundings in an active mediation, whilst out walking.
This blog was neglected for quite a long time, but over the last few months I have been resurrecting it a bit. And slowly but surely the readers are coming back to me, aided by the fact that I have finally figured out how to work Pinterest .
So I shall continue blogging this year, not least because I am starting to get reviews to do again, and I’m starting to remember all the things I used to love about blogging.
I’ve set myself some growth targets and I’m going for it again.
Having mastered Pinterest, I shall be turning my attention to Instagram over the next few months – do drop by and give me a follow there. If you don’t have your phone handy to scan this, you can click the image instead.
I will keep you posted on how I get on and if I have any breakthrough moments you wil be the first to know….
Putting it all Together
So that just leaves one big and crucial part of my giant back to school, time for me masterplan.
I need to master some kick-ass time management and productivity techniques in order to hold all this together and make it work. And I will freely admit at the time of writing this, I don’t have a specific formula to follow.
Sadly organisation is not my middle name and I’m not known for my super-duper productivity either. I’ll probably wing it as usual.
But I shall try all sorts of things. And when I find something that works, then that’s another couple of blog posts isn’t it?
So if you have any big time management or productivity tips then please leave them in the comments. I could use all the help I can get in this area. I’d also love to know what kind of a masterplan you have drawn up yourself for this time of year, and how is it going so far?
So how is Back to school season going for you so far? any big changes?
Here are some more posts you may enjoy: