Back to School!

school bus full of kidsIt’s that time again! It’s a bit cooler, there’s that freshness to the air, and…are the leaves already turning ? It’s back to school for our kids, back to school if we are teachers, and for some of us it’s also back to school taking a class or changing the direction of our lives. I’ve just celebrated the finish of year one of the Yoga Therapy program at LMU, and will be right back at it for year two in a few weeks. Even if you don’t have children, or aren’t a student or teacher yourself, you can sense the change in the atmosphere, as morning drivers are more hectic, as college towns fill up with parents and traffic. Stress levels go up and everyone is busy busy busy! How can you maintain calm, an exercise routine, and good health once everyone’s schedules fill up?

Plan ahead! Buy lots of healthy snacks to have on hand to grab while quickly out the door, some that can keep without refrigeration, like healthy bars, but also lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Always pack a bottle of water too, but please use refillable bottles so we don’t continue to pollute with millions of plastics!!

Be efficient! Shop once a week while doing other trips to save time and gas. Shop earlier in the day or late at night when stores are less crowded.

Keep up your exercise routine! Your body loves and deserves the healthy routine you’ve worked so hard to create. Make it a priority! Keep it up! On those busiest of days, park your car farther away, walk stairs instead of taking the elevator, combine your own workout with your dogs, combine reading that report or doing homework with the stationary bike. Keep workouts fun — they shouldn’t be an obligation! And make them shorter and more frequent if you need to in order to fit them in to a busy schedule. Research studies show that 3 ten minute workouts during the day are every bit as beneficial as one 30 minute routine!

Make time for family fun! During chores, make time to stop off at a park and run around with a frisbee, walk the dog together, watch a movie broken up into shorter segments, or plan fun mini vacations on the weekend!

Breathe, meditate, sleep, laugh, relax! Studies show that muscles need sleep and adequate rest to regenerate and strengthen. Same goes for our minds! Your concentration will be better if you get that extra ten minutes of sleep, find time to meditate daily, or just be still, quiet, consciously breathing for a moment each day. Research also tells us that laughter is one of the greatest medicines! So take time every day to laugh. And here’s something really funny: faking laughter is actually every bit as good as the real thing!