The start of a new school year means new beginnings and clean slates. As we get our kids ready for a new academic and social chapter, I’ve been thinking about how this period is also a new beginning for moms. I felt a back to school self-care tips for moms post was in order!
After a summer of relaxed schedules, moms are kicked into high gear. School supplies, packing lunches, carpools, sports. Back to social circles with other moms along with school functions, parent obligations, and settling into our kids’ schedules become our norm.
Our lofty goals for that special project or getting in shape can fade into the distance if we don’t make time for ourselves in the midst of the back to school chaos.
New years isn’t the only time to set our goals for the year. As we think about goals for our kids, why not make back to school a new beginning for us too?
Before we get lost in running our households, let’s take a moment to think about how we’ll take care of ourselves this school year. The following is a framework to think about what we want.
5 back to school self-care tips for moms
Reflect on last year
How was your last school year? What impacted you most? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What would you change if you got a redo? Answering these questions will allow you to get clear on what you want for your future.
This last school year was tough for me.
- I had some problems with my health (read my post about my fibroids issue) which affected me physically and emotionally.
- A very close relationship with a girlfriend ended.
- My teenage boys and I butted heads constantly.
- My last fundraising project and related trip to a third world country left me feeling burnt out regarding charity work.
- Along with all that, I had to take a hard look at how this blog was serving me and where I wanted it to go.
The perspective of hindsight allows us the space to grow. By reflecting on my year, I’m able to be more clear about what I want for my future.
Think high level and drill down from there
What do you want for your year? Think of some things you know you’d like to work towards. Write down a few “goals” or “ideas.” These are my high-level goals for the year:
- Strengthen my family relationships
- Grow my jewelry business
- Enhance my blog platform to enrich over-40-year-old women’s lives
- Get more fit
Make a plan
Once you have a few goals for yourself, it’s time to plan out how you’ll achieve them. When we outline the steps to get us to where we want to go, getting there doesn’t seem as daunting and we can take little actions each day toward the end result.
For instance, think of anything that we do to level-up. A plan is always necessary, right? Example – if I want to run the Los Angeles Marathon in February, I will need to work backward from race day. Training for a marathon properly takes 16 weeks. This is about 4 months, which means my training would need to start in October, and I’d have to schedule in my runs each week and then follow through.
Similarly, I want to meet certain revenue goals for my jewelry business by the end of the year which means I need to plan for strong Christmas sales. I am in the process of outlining what steps I need to take each month leading up to December to ensure successful Holiday sales. Not as straightforward as training for a marathon, but I’m getting there.
Some goals are even harder to plan – like strengthening my family relationships. Connecting with my teen boys has been a struggle for me and my efforts keep backfiring. But I’m not perfect and I will keep trying. And, I can take active steps toward this goal, like planning family vacations and one on one time with my husband and each of my boys. I can also continue to work on my teen parenting skills.
The point is to think about what we want, write it down, and plan for it.
Behave as if you’ve already arrived where you want to be
Have you heard this phrase? It’s so true. The way we feel today and the way we feel once we arrive at our goals should be the same. Similarly, we should behave as if we’ve already achieved our goals for the year.
Most of us think in, “when we get there, my life will be wonderful” terms. But the reality is, once we get there, we realize we feel the same as we did before.
Also, there is something to be said about manifesting your desires and dreams by having the confidence and belief you will receive them. How would I behave if I already had a million-dollar jewelry business?
This makes me think of my beginning blog days when I was so desperate to prove myself. I was such a spaz, taking pictures and video-ing everywhere I went. And every chance I had, I talked about my blog. I was looking for validation from others in order to believe in myself.
Now that it’s been 3 years and I’ve received many paid sponsorships, I rarely go out socially with my camera. I also don’t mention what I do unless asked. People behave differently when they have nothing to prove, don’t you think?
If you were already 10 lbs lighter, had that successful business, or enjoyed the close relationships you wanted, how would you act? How would you see yourself? You can do that now.
Learn the difference between your prefrontal cortex and primal brain
I’ve been learning about how our brains work in our decision-making process which has taught me to step outside myself and observe what my brain is doing. When I first heard about this concept through a podcast by Brooke Castillo, I was like, “what is she talking about?” But now I get it, and it is super helpful.
Our prefrontal cortex is responsible for problem solving, memory, language, judgment, impulse control, and reasoning. I knew this, but what I didn’t realize was how our primal brain (hindbrain and medulla) which is responsible for survival, drive, and instinct when ignited, is the main driver of our decision making. It is activated when we want to fulfill an urge, have a craving or strong emotion.
When your primal brain is engaged, it overrides your prefrontal cortex brain which negates rationality and clear thinking. The reason I include this as a self-care tip is that I believe that understanding ourselves better will allow us to take better care of ourselves.
When we make a plan to achieve our goals, we are thinking with our prefrontal cortex. When we feel a pull in our brain to blow off a task that would get us closer to our goals (ex. not going for that workout or having the glass of wine when you’re trying to cut back), that is our primal brain thinking.
Understanding that we can observe our primal brain’s thoughts and let them pass like we might ignore a toddler having a tantrum until he calms down makes it easier to turn on our prefrontal cortex.
I hope I didn’t lose you with these 5 back to school self-care tips for moms. A bit deeper than tips like “schedule a spa day” or “set aside time to meditate.” I love those tips too! But for me, back to school symbolizes new beginnings for my kids as well as for me! I’m excited for the year ahead and I hope this helped you think about yours too.
Have a great week! And if you enjoyed this post, subscribe to my blog to get new posts delivered to your inbox as they are published!
Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A Lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.