Back to School Routines for Empty Nesters

Back to School Tips for Empty Nesters

As much as we love Summer, Back to School is the time we all use to reset whether we have school age kids or not. We all need a little structure and that comes from establishing routines for self care and priorities. Our self care and priorities are part of the big picture of purpose and meaning. Back to School can be a time of reflecting, learning and boundary setting.

 

Resetting Self Care

Summer might have meant more fast food dining. It could have been too hot for outside exercise. AND maybe you have been staying up much later because it is light so late into the evening. Resetting your priorities is often resetting your self care. Take baby steps to get back to your daily routines of hydration, exercise and nutrition. First, reset your bedtime to mirror what is best for work from home or work in the office. If bedtime is a continuous struggle, look at your routines before bed.  Keep your self care goals easy to accomplish and link existing successful routines to other routines.

 

Reflecting on Priorities

Back to school time feels a lot like new year. It can be a time where we evaluate and update our priorities, balance and connections. Our work life integration is where we have a balance between our professional life and personal life. Set aside a few minutes of reflection time to create a vision of balance. Priorities result with a clear decision on how you want to spend your time after work and where you work. Resetting priorities gives us the opportunity to find meaning and connection in our lives. This is also a great time for an annual summit for you, your family and your business.

 

Back to life long learning

Life long learning and curiosity go together. There is no age limit on learning so let Back To School prompt you to begin learning something new. Reading, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube, taking a course are all ways we grow in knowledge. It is also how we thrive. Learning new skills slows cognitive aging. Now this is a good reason to continue life long learning of all types.

 

Resetting boundaries

The best part of Back To School is setting boundaries.  Remember in school when time in one class was 50 minutes. That was a great boundary for work in that content area. Boundaries add structure to your time and connections helping you adhere to your goals and priorities. If it is a struggle to set boundaries, know why you are setting a boundary to get the most benefit.

 

Back to School for Empty Nesters is an optimal time to create new opportunities, let go of what has not served you well, and get back to routines. Seize the opportunity to overhaul and create time for what is important to you.

3 Tips to Maximize Your Vacation While You Are Away

 

3 tips to maximize your vacation while you are away

 

You finally are away on your well deserved vacation.  Congrats on prioritizing your self care in taking time away!  You prepped your colleagues at work and your pet sitter is managing the home front. Now is the time to maximize your time away. No matter where you go or what your plan is, your vacation should provide a change of daily life, a boost to your wellness and self care and a way to make a memory for yourself and your family to reflect on through the next year or beyond.

 

Start with a digital detox

We have been glued to our screens for a long while now. Every day seemed to bring new complex situations. This vacation could be the perfect time for a digital detox.  The reasons are clear that we need time to be present and in the moment with those with us on vacation, as well as time to just sit. Create a common charging spot for your devices and place them in this area each morning and night. Be intentional about your time on vacation. Choose activities that engage you and fulfill your spirit. In the evening set up card games or family games.  You will return to your job more productive.

 

Be intentional and organized about time away

Break your trip into segments that work for your energy level.  There are options for everyone during vacation.

  • New experiences, new connections and learning are exciting and engaging. Decide what kind of experience you want to have while you are on vacation.  Think about hobbies and interests you may not have time for at home.  Consider finding local adventures like zip lining or mindfulness opportunities like yoga. You can find cooking lessons or try new cuisine while away.  Choosing something out of your every day experience that brings you energy and joy.
  • Choose the time you spend with family. We are excited to see family that we have not seen in a while. It can be exhilarating and exhausting. When you feel ready to take a break, spend the time on your own regrouping. Set aside times during the day that you can be together and apart.
  • Maybe this year vacation is all about peace and quiet. Many of us are depleted of energy and motivation after this difficult year.  Intentionally choose to sit and relax. Choose a beautiful view to sit and be quiet. Take a walk in silence to start or end your day. Head to bed extra early while away to gain on your sleep schedule. Being on the go can leave you exhausted after your vacation.

Give yourself re-entry time

A rushed re-entry into real life can take away from your most relaxing vacation. Give yourself the opportunity to easy back into work and life.

  • Bring back a little keepsake, a photo or something to keep your vacation in mind all summer.  That photo can be placed where you see it daily, especially on your phone screen.
  • Get back earlier than you might think. This will give you time to catch up on laundry and meals at home.
  • Start by making a list of what needs to be done, prioritize your list and make a plan. Not everything needs to be done the first day or week back.
  • Allow for time at work for catching up on email. Share responses that acknowledge receipt and time to get back into work flow.
  • Give yourself breaks when you return to work. Conversations with colleagues when you start the day, a walk in the middle of the day, and a recap of productivity at the end of the day make it easier.

 

The pay off to your productivity is huge if you have truly spent your time away regrouping, resetting and refreshing.

Taking Time for Self Care Daily

 

taking time daily for self care

 

We’re coming out of a rough time for the past year or so. Looking through the many possible celebrations this summer, I saw these that made be smile. In the first week of June there are so many things to celebrate. Some of these include National Go Barefoot Day, National Leave The Office Early Day and National Doughnut Day.  That smile brought to mind how important our daily self care is, which could be celebrating each day by running in the yard barefoot or leaving work early from time to time. With all the good things and hope that is coming together, it’s time for us to take time for joy and to prioritize self care.

 

Creating a mindset of self care

We’ve been through some anxious times.  Starting, breaking up or ending your day with self care will help. It is going to be have to be intentional and prioritized.  That means, something else will not happen that is on your list and that you will have know that this is the best way to spend that time. It means that you are setting priorities and boundaries. Self care happens when we stay true to our priorities and block distractions.

What happens when those in your family or those you work with do not understand?  It can be uncomfortable for you and them to explain that this is not selfish.  Self care is about finding meaning and purpose in what you do, not just self indulgent need. Self care promotes personal energy which is required for emotional regulation and refueling. Thinking of yourself as a leader for those around you, especially if this is misunderstood.

 

Daily self care

Daily self care can look and feel like a lot of things. Use this list of simple suggestions and to accomplish self care.

  • A protein smoothie for breakfast (available frozen at Costco, purchased by online shopping, or shipped to your home via product provider)
  • Eating healthy snacks throughout the day (accomplished by ordering online.)
  • Exercising every day, like a short walk or yoga (available on YouTube or by placing your sneakers by your bed.)
  • An evening playlist for relaxing (available on Spotify, Pandora or Alexa.)
  • Routine, same time bedtime each week night (accomplished by charging your devices in a common charging spot.)

Prompt yourself by setting up the first step to do this action. Simple planning and preparation can help you every day.  Automate what you can to provide support for your daily self care.

Remember, every day is a new day to start your self care.

We are going to have days that were over-filled and there was no self care. We start fresh every day with self care. It is there for us all the time to restart.

How to incorporate Self care with the Hybrid Work Model

self care and the hybrid work model

We can tell another transition is underway with work in Houston as rush hour and traffic build.  People are returning to the office to work part of the week.  When we were only working from home, we had more time because of the lack of commute.  We also could wedge in a small piece of self care within the day or week. During this transition, or as your work becomes a hybrid model of home and office, it’s a good time to assess and prioritize self care.

 

Assess and prioritize

Acknowledge that a variety of feelings are going to emerge during the transition back to work. There may be increased anxiety and sadness.  Give yourself time and a way to process these emotions. While we settled into work from home, we are now settling back to work at the office.

Work from home has given us options. Many of us have added walking mid day or specific times for exercise because of available time.  Online grocery shopping for healthy snacks and meal delivery have become more of the norm.  Decide what is non-negotiable for you. There is less time available because your commute takes time away.  Know what is so important to your self care that you must include this in your day and week. Knowing your priorities sets clear boundaries for you.

 

Baseline for self care

Bedtime is always going to be the first step for self care. Sleep schedule consistency for you and your family are critical.  Factors have interrupted our sleep patterns to the point there is a name for this, “coronasomnia.” If you struggle with this, here are a few tips.  Remember to set up a central station for charging devices and placing these in their chargers an hour before bed or at 8 pm every night. Create a bedtime ritual that could include a hot bath, reading before bed and cooling down your space. If you feel you have not had enough time for yourself during the day, set aside an hour before bed as time for you to do what you love whether that is a hobby or other pampering.

Organizing as self care

Spend time on organizing for your return to work. Being organized helps us feel confident and take charge.  Review your wardrobe and see what’s working now. Work attire puts us in the work frame of mind.  Plan your morning and evening routines with respect to the time for your commute.  Refresh the organizing in your office. Digitize to access projects, materials and resources at both locations. Plan a weekly time to reset all your organizing for maintenance.

Start adjusting your routine even while you are at home. Prep meals ahead, plan lunches and move your routine into what you will be doing on those days you commute. It will help you problem solve ahead of time.

Oops are going to happen. It may be that specific daily self care does not happen every day or falters entirely. Look for balance as well as obstacles. Is there a creative way to find the time for that activity? Is that obstacle because of lack of preparation? Don’t give up on your self care however be realistic about the time you have and where you spend it.

 

Adding in time for joy

Laughter and joy have been in short supply while we worked through the pandemic. Now is the time to amp that up. Joy looks like a lot of small things like birds singing or a rainbow. It also feels like sleeping in on Saturday or journaling. Find small things that bring you joy to incorporate in your week as a reminder of your resilience and self care. It may be necessary for you to pause to acknowledge this joy because we are getting so busy again.

Self care is one of the biggest positive take aways from our pandemic time.  Prioritizing ourselves and being empathetic with our colleagues brought us through the difficulties we faced.  Thinking through your self care will help you create a new system for recharging and self care.

 

Summer Self Care

 

summer self care

This summer let’s thrive on self care where we rejuvenate all summer long! Summer is beckoning us outside to enjoy more Vitamin D, fresh air and greenery. Make this your summer of self care.

 

Read or listen to a book

Take a cue from the many book clubs and grab a summer best seller. You can read by audio book too. Choose your favorite genre to enjoy.

 

Hydrate with fresh fruit

Add berries or cucumber to your usual tumbler of water.  Keep a pitcher of water handy with lemon slices floating in it.

 

Exercise outside

Summer is the perfect time for an early morning walk since it’s light much earlier. You can find a water exercise class to end your day. Remember your sunscreen and bug spray too.

 

Enjoy the seasonal green stuff

Head to a Farmers’ Market, a berry farm or grow a garden. Nurturing ourselves by cherishing our food reminds us of where we get our food is important.  We are for sure what we eat. Fluff up a salad for lunch and dinner to get all your 5 a day veggies.

 

Disconnect from your devices

Having time away from technology helps clear your mind.  Set your device aside for a certain amount of time. You can unplug for an hour or a day, whatever feels more freeing.

Take a day off

Be in touch with your younger self with a list of summer fun. Don’t forget making homemade ice cream, taking a trip to a water park, enjoy a day at the beach or the pool, make s’mores, or do something special that reminds you of summer camp.

 

Meet a friend for a picnic

Gather up treats and head to a shady park to meet a friend for lunch or an early dinner. Be a support and get support while you catch up on news.

 

Be creative

Summer invites us to be more artistic and creative.  Choose fun art mediums like water colors or chalk for self expression. Snap some artistic photos with your smart phone. Keep it simple and easy to be creative.

 

Start a new interest

Have you wanted to paint pottery, play the guitar or take up scuba?  Start a new interest during the summer. With the longer daylight, it feels like there is more time in the day.

 

Vacation or Staycation

Pull out your calendar right now and schedule time away. That time can be physically away or away from work.  Setting the date is the first step to really committing to time off the grid. Prep for your time away a week ahead with lists, packing, and organizing. While away, stay in the moment and enjoy the time.

 

Houston’s Top Self- Care Products

Houston top self care products

 

We are spending lots of time this year talking about self care. It is necessary with the uncertainty of life and our need to address the anxiety that comes with that. There are physical examples of self care like developing a regular sleep routine, aiming for a healthy diet and going for a walk at lunchtime. In addition, there are many product possibilities that lead to taking care of ourselves in a way that also improves organizing and productivity.  Check out these options, including many that work with your smart phone.

 

Hidrate Spark syncs with your smart phone for all day hydration

Hidrate Spark syncs with your smart phone for all day hydration

 

Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock

Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock to wake to natural light

 

Scale Synching with Smart Phone

Scale Synching with Smart Phone to graph your weight, body mass and more

Fit bit

Fit Bit to record your exercise and sleep

 

Amazon Alexa

Amazon Alexa (to play music or dolphin sounds)

 

 

Headspace

Headspace (an app) for Meditation helps you relieve anxiety and create serenity.

 

 

Lavender Bath Salts

Lavender bath salts for a relaxing end of your day

Learning, Listening and Embracing Diversity

 

As we celebrate Black History Month. I am listening and learning.  These authors, leaders, allies and advocates give me insights into belonging and inclusion.  As we continue to learn, we are embracing diversity.

 

Black History Month 

Learn more about the origins of this month long celebration.

 

7 Powerful Lessons Learned from Black Authors

Read about diversity and inclusion from seven well known black authors.

 

Black History is for Everyone

Author Daily Lovelace shares ways that we are all acknowledging the rich history of African Americans in our country.

 

PBS Celebrate Black History Month 

PBS shares documentaries and shorts on celebrating Black America.

 

Biography.com

Learn about prominent Black people who play significant roles in America.

 

 

4 organizing tips to accomplish your 2021 health goals

4 organizing tips to accomplish your 2021 health goals

 

Getting healthy and losing weight have forever been the number one new year goal.  This year even more of us have the goal of getting and staying healthy. The uncertainties of life have reminded us that we must focus on what we can control.  Nutrition and exercising are what we can focus on and work together and work together on.  Here are four tips to help you accomplish your 2021 health goals.

 

Be intentional

Intentional is where all change starts.  Since we are more aware than ever the role that health takes in our lives, being intentional about wellness means it keeps a top priority. That motivation starts every morning with positive input with meditation, prayer or podcasts.  The days things go awry are the days you are overtired and unfocused on your plan.

 

Be specific

Every good plan requires specific actions.  Keep it simple with fewer choices and specific ways you are eating and exercising every day. Fewer choices means having the same breakfast each morning rather than choosing between protein bars, egg bites, smoothie, or yogurt with fruit.  Keep exercise simple with walking 5 to 10k steps which can be clocked on your fitbit or apple watch. A specific number keeps you set on your goals.  One friend tracks the number of days she has walked 10k steps to keep motivated not to “break the chain.”

 

Be organized

Every goal that is a priority must have a time to accomplish this goal. Wellness starts with this time allocation.  Set time on a specific day at a specific time for meal planning, grocery shopping and meal prep.  Plan on protein snacks so that you are preparing for unhealthy obstacles.  What time will you walk or exercise?  That is an additional block of time. Time to reset and unwind are valuable time slots for you, which includes setting the same wake and slumber time each day.  With these realistic time blocks, you are assured of success.

 

Build a team

We are all in this together now with health and wellness. As we are on this journey, gather and support a team of those who are like-minded.  Teams are the best way to assure you keep on track and are accountable to your goals.  This year I have embarked on a new health journey to use intermittent fasting with intention.  I have several friends who are on my team to support this effort.  It’s also fun to compare notes on our successes.

 

Rules for Life 2021

 

2021 simple rules for simple living

 

I have been inspired this year with many ways to be positive and resilient.  Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper has a Sunday To Be list each week that is a synopsis of a person’s goals.  Tim Denning recently wrote a his Overly Simple Rules for a Good Life focusing on rules. His new mantra included “Rules provide constraints in your life. Constraints help you focus. Focus provides clarity. Clarity helps you take badass actions.”

 

Entering 2021, I wanted to create some life guidelines aka rules that help me be my best and make a difference for others.

 

Keep it Simple Sweetie

I have to start here. Life is getting more complicated so I want to have a rule that helps me keep focused on simplicity. When life is simple, we enjoy our time with others and live life to the fullest.

 

Talk less, smile more

These words from Hamilton resonate with me.  I love to learn about the back story, what motivates others and who supports who.  That is when can connect in the most rewarding and authentic manner.

 

Curate incoming information

We have a lot information coming from a lot of sources.  We must review and process the quantity and quality of this information. Know what are your trusted sources and who you can rely on for truth.

 

Limit decisions

I like to keep it to only three choices.  I apply that to every decision, whether it’s paint color or breakfast.  Having fewer choices keeps us from being overwhelmed.

 

Plan and pause

Strategic planning, weekly planning and a daily task list keep me organized.  Adding a time to pause weekly also keeps me organized. This pause happens every Sunday when I take time to reset and rejuvenate.  Life is a balance of moving and stopping that keeps us organized and productive.

 

Family first

Knowing my family comes first makes it easy for me to prioritize.  Each decision is run through this filter of why I do what I do.  Having this priority makes it easy for me to make decisions, as well as plan my week.

 

I encourage you as the new year is about to begin to write your list of rules.  It is your way of affirming who you are, what’s important to you and shaping your every day.

7 Simple Organizing Tips To Keep Life Moving Forward

 

7 simple organizing tips to keep life moving forward

Life keeps moving. It’s moving fast and it’s easy to get bogged down, especially with our new normal. Your fatigue, anxiety, extra time spent resolving a challenge or a regular work week can get you behind in organizing and staying organized. Here are simple organizing tips to keep you organized on a regular basis.

 

Get through daily paper work and mail.

Paper is can paralyze us with so much paper coming in. Set up recycle and shred to easily sort the mail daily or at minimum weekly.  It takes 5 minutes daily or 30 minutes weekly to do a quick sort and triage.

Have a grocery plan and a dishes plan.

Food makes everyone happier! It takes a few extra minutes to order online, however you are saving time and money in the long run.  Make your grocery plan on the weekend so that it can arrive before the week starts.

Paper plates have a new sparkle if you are not getting your dirty dishes done each night. Create partnerships within your family to load, unload, and clean up each night after dinner. That includes taking out the trash.  Your future self- that’s tomorrow’s self- will appreciate this more than you can imagine.

Check your calendar each morning and evening.

Our best plans can turn against us without checking our calendar each day.  It’s a good start and end to the day to be organize, prepared and proactive.  Add tasks, appointments and projects all the time to your calendar to keep it current in real time.

 

Have a donation bag available all the time.

When you try on something and decide it’s scratchy, the wrong color or too hard to keep from wrinkling is the time to drop it into your bag. We drive by drop off sites all day and simply bring the bag to your car and drop off when it is full.  You will find it is much easier to do the laundry with fewer clothes too.

 

Keep laundry moving

I have seen loads of laundry washed and dried, yet not back to the closet or dresser.  Break loads into smaller units to get that final step complete.

 

Host a daily home and work reset

We wish we had a magic want to get all the items and papers back to where they belong.  Since we don’t  have that wand, we need a daily reset at both home and work. That’s where your family comes in to partner with you here.

 

Self-care is a daily priority

Self-care looks like a lot of different things in our lives. It’s going to be on time, exercising, eating healthy, taking a shower, reading a magazine or facetime with friends. Whatever self-care looks like to you, be sure you are keeping it a priority every day.  We need to laugh, get outside and get to bed to be our best selves.

 

It is hard to keep all these organizing maintenance tasks going. If you find a lapse in one in particular, focus on that for a week. It is also easier once you have your family on your team too.