The last few weeks of the school year seem to get crammed with last-minute projects, activities, and parties. It is a marathon, and it is exhausting. After crossing the last-day-of-school finish line, it is tempting to want to crash during summer break.
There is a saying that “summer bodies are made in winter.” This is often used every January to lure people into gyms and nutrition programs as an enticing reminder of their New Year resolution to get in shape. It is a common saying because there is so much truth to it, and it can be applied to routines during and in between school years.
Generally speaking, it takes about two to three months of routine to form a habit. That might look like a winter of pilates classes to feel confident in a swimsuit over spring break or starting daily study sessions over spring break in order to waltz through final exams.
Whatever our goals are, we should look ahead at what we want to accomplish and know that it is never too early to start working towards them.
In summer, when we don’t have to worry about carpools and homework, it’s easy to let kids stay up late and binge on screen time while we take a much needed break from monitoring schedules. However, it’s important not to throw all routine out the window as soon as June rolls around.
Whether training for a marathon or another intense exercise regimen, it is important to practice active recovery. Active recovery is doing something simple like walking or stretching after strenuous exercise. It is essentially a cool down to help the body recover and function at its best.
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Summer break is the perfect time to practice an active recovery from the school year. The marathon is done, and our bodies need the rest. Taking an active recovery approach to summer rather than a crash and burn is the most beneficial for everyone. Here are a few tips to ensure we keep functioning at an optimal level.
1. Keep bedtimes and wakeup times the same (relatively speaking). Routine is so important for kids and adults alike. One of the benefits of summer break is getting to enjoy longer days, but having everyone go to bed and get up around the same time will make a world of difference in how the days go. It will also make the transition back to school much easier.
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2. Eat three meals a day. When you are home with kids, it is easy to let them snack all day long. However, our bodies function best on routine and balanced meals. I’m sure every parent has seen how a weekend of junk food can flip her child’s personality and mood. Avoid this with consistency in their meals, offering healthy summer options.
3. Limit screen time. Keeping screen time to a minimum, especially in the evenings, helps everyone sleep better. I’m all for letting my kids spend the day watching Netflix while I get things done, but having a cutoff point for technology keeps a TV binge from derailing the nighttime routine.
4. Start a summer project. It’s easy to make a bunch of plans for things you want to do over the summer. But then the months inevitably fly by. Have everyone pick one project they can work on throughout the summer or one goal they can work towards.
Choosing one thing to focus on ensures feelings of accomplishment and pride once it’s finished.
Ultimately, summer vacation should be a time to reset and recharge. Consider putting in a little active recovery and enforcing a flexible schedule and routine to make your world easier.
What do you do over the summer? What routines do you keep and which ones go out the door?