Sunday, December 2, 2012

Surviving the School Year: Taking Care of Yourself

I wrote about some of my top tips for surviving the school year HERE. And when I checked out the Tyson Any'tizers Snacks School Year Survival Guide, I found a couple other tips to try. The Facebook page suggests making time for yourself. As parents, we tend to center our lives around our children (which, in my opinion, is how it should be), but now and then we need a little break. Doing something for ourselves is an important step that so many of us overlook. I know I do! The thing is - if you find a few minutes for yourself every day, it renews and rejuvenates you so that you can be at your best for your kids.

The Tyson page suggests making a list of your favorite activities and then doing them. In fact, most experts agree that parents need to make time for themselves and they suggest things like taking ballroom dancing lessons, scrapbooking, joining a gym and working out several times a week, etc. They're great ideas, but I know that (here in the real world) these things aren't always possible. For those of us living on a tight budget, joining a gym or signing up for lessons, for example, isn't feasible. But even though you may be limited on possibilities, you can still take time for yourself. Here are a few low-cost/free ideas.

1.  Create a dinner swap group. Get a group of friends together. Each of you cooks a dinner entree with sides that will feed however many people are in your group. For example, if you have 6 people in the group, you might make 6 lasagnas, while another person makes 6 batches of Swedish meatballs, and another person makes 6 pans of enchiladas, etc. Then once a month, get together and swap your dishes.. You can do this on whatever size scale works for you. The once a month (or once a week) get-together can be a fun outlet to break open a bottle of wine, pop some Any'tizer Chicken and Bacon Bruschetta in the oven, and enjoy the company of your friends. Meanwhile, you're only spending the money you would ordinarily be spending on feeding your family. Plus, you're gaining a variety of dinners that are easy to pop in the oven on a busy night!

2.  Instead of joining a gym, buy an exercise DVD and lock yourself in your room (so your kids can't laugh at your lack of coordination and groaning) and take half an hour to take care of yourself. Or recruit a friend or two to go for a walk with you after the kids are in bed.

3.  Escape into a good book. Take time to read. After helping your child with their ABCs, enjoy disappearing into a story of your own choosing. It's great to unwind with a couple chapters of a book that doesn't including green eggs or ham.

4.  Meet a friend for a cup of coffee or a drink. It doesn't take a lot of time or money, but it can be highly enjoyable to get together and talk and laugh and just unwind.

5.  Laugh! Go see a comedian, watch a funny DVD, or read a humorous story. Laughing is such a great way to forget about your problems and melt the stress away, even if only for a little while.

For more ideas on surviving the school year, check out Tyson Any'tizer page HERE. And add your own ideas!

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