By Jackie White
Good morning Sunshine! How are you on this glorious day? Some of you jump on that greeting and are peppy as all get out, and then some of you pull the pillow over their heads and grumble about going back to sleep. No matter your affinity for the morning, there is one thing we all can benefit from and that’s a morning routine.
What’s the big deal? Morning routines will set the stage for being productive, intentional, happy, and less stressed. When you take the time to go through a pre-set routine each morning you are preparing yourself for the day. You are systematically checking boxes of accomplishments before the day has barely started. This psychologically sets you up for success. Admiral William McRaven wrote a book about it called Make Your Bed. In it, he says “if you want to change the world, start off by making your bed”. He means that the simple act of making your bed is an accomplishment that sets the tone for the rest of the day.
Are you in? Let’s take a look at what a good morning routine looks like. You can modify this however you see fit, but this framework is a place where you can begin.
Get up before everyone else: This is a great way to carve out time for yourself before the rat race begins.
Make Your Bed: Set yourself up for success by accomplishing a task right away.
Drink Lemon Water: This is amazingly good for your body as it detoxes and wakes up your system.
Enjoy Your Coffee: Enjoy your morning java. Don’t glug it down for a shot of caffeine.
Eat Breakfast: Skip the donuts and go for a good dose of protein in the morning. It will fuel your body for the start of the day.
Meditate: The morning is a great time to ground yourself through meditation.
Gratitude Journaling: Taking time to write down what you are grateful for helps keep your mindset in a positive state.
Exercise: Morning exercise gets the blood pumping and sets the intention for healthy choices.
Shower: Utilize your time in the shower to curate big ideas. Many people find the shower a great medium for your brain to tap into your inner intelligence.
Hug and Love on Your Peeps: Don’t forget to share the love with your peeps!
Now doesn’t that sound better than rolling out of bed and racing against the clock? So much more peaceful and accomplished. Adopt what works for you. Maybe start with your top 1 or 2 things to implement in your routine and as you get comfortable, add in more.
Join the successful productive people of the world, get your butt up and let’s get in the routine Sunshine!
Oh yes and don’t forget to Shine On!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Anyone else riding the back to school emotional rollercoaster? This seasonal transition seems to always be highly charged, even if you are excited for, ahem, school to resume. Even the most excited parent may find themselves unexpectedly sobbing at the Target back to school flyer, especially if any of these scenarios are happening:
Spoiler…these are just some of the things that Jackie and I have going on in our lives - thank goodness we each have a kid with no major, emotionally charged milestones…this year. And, we know we aren’t alone! Granted, some of you might be like, nope…not me! As King George III from the popular, and hilarious, musical Hamilton would say, “Great, awesome”! Chances are, the time will come when this does hit home so you just might want to bookmark this blog, or you may know someone that is feeling all the feels right now and on an emotional rollercoaster, send this to them!
There are always times in our lives that we will feel these extra feels. We have a solution to ease this season for you…double down on the self-care! If you are a mom with a family, no matter the ages of your kids, you are busy. You wear multiple hats and have to get all those things done. We have a tendency to put our heads down and push through, and forget about stopping for a second to take care of ourselves.
Let me stop you right there, DreamChaser! As we like to point out, taking care of yourself is a daily must-do, not a have-to or get-to or when I have time-to. And, in times of high emotion or stress, a great solution is to double down, or do more, self-care, not less! To help you out, here is an approach we recommend when emotions are running on high:
1. Become Aware
As with most things, it all starts with awareness. You need to realize you are in a high emotional or stressed state so you can take the proper action to calm that chaos! How does this show up in your life? Are you tired or low energy? Are you quick to anger or snap at others? Do you feel scattered or unfocused? Are you teary? Take note of your signs so you know what to do to feel better!
2. Feel Those Feels
This is a big one…and often skipped over. Why do we avoid feelings, anyway?!? Seriously, we often avoid feeling those feelings at all costs. I challenge you to sit in them for as long as you need…avoiding or suppressing feelings has a tendency to make them compound or bubble up later. Feel them, then find a way to pull yourself up to deal with them.
3. Double Down Time!
Pull out your Calm the Chaos plan. (If you haven’t had the pleasure of doing this with us yet, stay tuned for the next opportunity to develop your personal Calm the Chaos plan. In the meantime, brainstorm a list of activities that help you feel at peace or centered such as exercising, meditating, reading a book, watching a movie, or having a coffee with a friend.) First, look at the things you have to get done…I’m talking the bare bones, not all the bonus extras you pack into your day to day. Look at the actual time they need to be done. Spread out these activities accordingly. You should have freed up some much-needed time to do something you WANT to do, not HAVE to do. Fill that time with something for YOU.
4. Repeat as Needed
Still feeling emotional or stressed? Pick another self-love activity. Repeat until you feel more like yourself.
Here’s the truth. If you have children, you will reach a point where you are like, “whoa, how do I already have a (kindergartener, senior in high school, college freshman)”. Putting off school shoes shopping to go for a walk or go to the pool with your kid will be a better use of your time and just might be the ticket to soothing that mama heart. Shine On!
By Jackie White
It’s August. All aboard The Crazy Train! It is the time of the year to cram in all the lasts of the summer like swimming, camping, roasting marshmallows, and picnicking. It’s also the time to get organized for the upcoming school year. What school supplies are needed…you think darn it where did I put that dang list? You wonder do the kid’s shoes still fit? Oh thank goodness they do, but just when you thought you could mark that off your list, you realize they have a hole in them! Now, who needs new underwear? Everyone! And oh my gosh, your son grew 8” and all of his pants are highwaters…the list goes on and It can become too much!
The question then becomes how do you do all this and stay sane? We got you! The following framework will help you ease the transition from summer to back to school.
1. Enjoy the Last Bit of Summer with your Kids: Grab the calendar and pencil in the last few events of the summer. When you are doing the event, make sure to stay mindful of it. Take pictures and participate in the memory you are sharing with your kids, it’s important!
2. Find Time for Yourself: It might seem impossible to squeak in some time just for you, but this too is important. Get up a little earlier, plan time with a friend, or hey, go all out and get a massage. Lord knows you're going to need one once the chaos of the school year ensues!
3. Stay Energized: Energy is everything and when you are dragging everything seems more difficult. Go to bed and sleep minimally for 8 hours. Get rid of the phone on the bedside table because electronics and sleep do not go together. Finally, get your body moving. It’s a great time to establish a fitness routine to support hectic lifestyles.
4. Get Ready for School: Do not drag your feet on this. Hit the stores early for what your kids need. Make sure you have thoroughly reviewed everything the kids will need: supplies, lunch boxes, lunch money, bus pass, lock for the locker, and don’t forget the athletic stuff like cleats or mouthguards.
5. Sports: Speaking of athletic stuff, there is a lot to manage here. Get signed up for the team, go to tryouts, and purchase any required equipment or uniform. Make sure to get the doctor to fill out the sports forms needed too.
6. Appointments/Sign-Ups: Set some time aside to sit down and make the calls for doctor and dentist/ortho appointments. Sign up for snacks for the team, scouts, tutoring, or any other extracurricular activities.
7. IEP/504 Plans: If you have a kid with special needs, please make sure to establish their individual learning plan or 504 plan. This will set expectations for the accommodations and support your kids will receive. You may have to push a bit to get these documents going, so start early.
8. Medicine/Allergy Plans: If your child has allergies or needs to take medicine at school. Make sure to complete all the necessary paperwork and submit it along with your child’s medicines before school starts.
9. Establish Schedules and Routines: Take the time now to plan out a schedule and routines to help alleviate the chaos back to school brings about. While you are at it, get those kids to bed earlier and please set a shower schedule! You definitely don’t want to be wrangling those stinky kids the night before school starts!
10. Stay On It! Once you get all the balls in the air, pat yourself on the back..but don’t drop the balls! LOL! Seriously though, give yourself a high five (don’t drop the balls!) and then prepare to manage all the pieces now, by being proactive and putting together reminders for you to continue to stay organized.
And there you have it! 10 top tips to stay off that crazy train called August! Stay tuned and look for more organization and time management tips to help you calm your chaos!
By Erika Fehrenbach Prell
Um…how is it August already?!? Whoa. Know what that means? We are entering the BTS (Back to School) zone. This might make you jump for joy as you are over all the kids fighting, whining, and a constant need to entertain the troops, or you might be lamenting that it's going too fast. (Or, you are like me and fluctuate between the two, depending on the current situation. The days are l-o-n-g sometimes…amirite?!?).
Either way, the time will pass, and the first day of school will seem to pop out of nowhere. Suddenly, the last days of summer are replaced with a frantic flurry of getting everything in place. And, good luck finding those elusive classic Crayola colored pencils on the classroom supplies list. Side note, have you noticed there is always 1 or 2 items on each list you can't find anywhere? What's the deal with that anyway? Sorry, I digress…
Man, I'm feeling stressed just talking about it! What if I said I had 3 things you can do right now to set you up for a stress-free back to school transition? That got your attention! In the name of protecting the summer vibes, let's do this!
#1 - Get Your Schedule On
Chances are your kids and you (yes, you!) are due for appointments. You know, all the routine things we forget about like dental, orthodontist, eye, annual physical, influenza and other vaccines, to name a few. Have a middle or high school athlete? Don't forget the sports physical that is required every 2 years! These are not only necessary routine health but also ones that book out weeks or months in advance. While you are at it, fill out any necessary paperwork or online registrations. This might not sound like a fun task…lol. But, a little focused time and attention here, I'm talking an hour or so, will save you so much time and stress later.
#2 - Gear Up
Back to school time comes with new gear…school supplies, backpacks, shoes, clothes and any fall sports needs like volleyball or cross country shoes. As you get closer to September, these items become as elusive as spotting a jaguar in the rainforest. Know what else? There are often really great deals to be had starting now. Whether you choose Amazon delivery or shopping in person, get your gear now!
#3 - Plan It Out
Ready for the game changer? Get a large, weekly calendar. This can be paper or, my new purchase, a dry erase one that came with a variety of colored markers. Give each person in your family a section; for example, my calendar is divided into 6 equal rows, 5 rows for each family member and 1 row for that evenings meal. Every week, write out each person's commitments. (I also have colors assigned to each family member.) This is taped on the backslash in my kitchen, opposite where the kids sit for breakfast and right above the silverware…so, in plain view for even the most oblivious teenager or, ahem, significant other. This calendar has a bonus feature. Not only will it help everyone know what is going on that week, it can also allow you, the parent, to help kids take on the responsibility of preparing for these activities. No matter the age, it's good for kids to take on packing their sports gear or snacks. Delegation, baby!
Just think how much less stressed you will be during the final week of summer having these big tasks checked off the list? Get to it so you can squeeze every last good time out this summer! Shine On!
Jackie White has been writing about life and its ups and downs for many years. With a degree in Industrial Psychology and a life-long student of personal development she is intrigued by how each individual chooses to live their life. Jackie feels strongly that truly living your best life is imperative to attaining peace and fulfillment. SoulShine was borne of her desire to inspire and teach others to live their best life. This is her mission and her dream.