Growing up, summer vacation meant freedom from the confines of the classroom and the ability hang out with our friends and enjoy all the things we loved to do. As we got older and finished school, the idea of a summer vacation disappeared altogether, with work continuing straight through the warmest months. But as we’ve gotten older still and had little ones who are now enjoying their own summer vacations, these months now come with their own unique set of responsibilities and stresses that can threaten the healthy lifestyles we’ve cultivated over the school year. To the rescue: These strategies will help you avoid the stress of the kids being home and help you stick to your healthy habits.
Create A Schedule
Perhaps the biggest characteristic of the school year that makes it easy to maintain healthy habits is, well, school. It is easy to stick to your plan of cooking a healthy dinner, attending an exercise class or going for a walk outside if you know that your little one is going to be out of the house for a few hours during the day. And just because school is out doesn’t mean that he or she needs to spend all day every day in your apartment. Seek out camps, classes or activities that your kids can attend a few hours or days a week so that you still have that time to yourself to make your healthy choices. If an organized activity like this is out of your budget, reach out to your neighbors in your building to see if anyone has children of similar ages and may be willing trade off watching them so you both have time to meet your goals.
Find Opportunities In Kid-Friendly Fun
Sure, there are things your kids will want to do this summer, like go to the playground or the pool—and some of these will inevitably interfere with the habits and schedules you created during the school year. First, don’t stress about it! Be flexible and savor the chance to spend some time with your family and enjoy the summer sun. And second, these activities are packed with hidden opportunities to get in a mini workout. While your kids are having fun on the slide, try traversing the monkey bars to work out your shoulders or climbing over the jungle gym to engage your core. If the little ones are splashing around in the pool, hop in and tread water instead of watching them from a lounge chair. You may be missing your scheduled workout, but you can certainly still get some exercise in!
Define Your Priorities
The most important thing to do before the last day of school: Recognize and accept that your days are going to change, and then determine which parts you are willing to tweak in order to achieve your goals. If you go into summer vacation under the assumption that you will be able to do everything you had been doing before, there’s just another human at home now, there’s a chance you’re right—but there’s a greater chance that this assumption will be met with frustration and stress when it proves false. To avoid this, take stock of your priorities, whether those are related to your health, work or social life, and decide what’s most important. Is it your daily morning meditation? Try waking up earlier to do it before the little ones rise. Is it your Thursday night book club? Try to lock down childcare (from a family member, friend, or professional) that you can count on every Thursday for the entire summer. If you start the summer vacation with your priorities and goals clearly defined, it will be that much easier to keep, meet, or even surpass them.
Do have a trick for seamlessly transitioning to summer vacation? We would love to hear about it! Comment on our latest Instagram post @powerforlifefitness and let us know!