There’s something about the start of Autumn that feels particularly energizing. September is definitely the month of new beginnings and can be the time when we realise that we have perhaps over indulged. With fewer routines, long summer days and more distractions from barbeques, picnics and holidays, it is easy to pick up a few bad habits that have got a little out of control. If you are feeling a bit stuck in a rut, September is the ideal month to get back to your goals, refresh, refocus and recommit.
How to help children back to school
Whether your child is starting school for the first time or about to embark on A-Levels, it is natural that after such a long time away from school, they are bound to be feeling a little anxious. Teachers will have been working hard to make the classes as safe and welcoming as possible and will be well aware that this year’s transition will be more complicated than most. However, as parents or carers, there are a few things that you can do to help.
- Make a plan with your child. Talk to them about drop-offs and pickups, where they eat their lunch and what happens when they need to use the toilet. Involve their teacher if they are feeling particularly nervous. For older children looking at taking exams, encourage them to take ownership of their study by creating To-Do lists so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Expect to help them out in the first few weeks because they may need to relearn these organisation skills.
- Give them your time. Not all children will communicate how they are feeling. Those that are experiencing stress or worry may come home and have more tantrums. Try and be understanding and make sure you are available if and when they do want to talk.
- Get organised. Help children pack their bags and buy everything that they need in good time. Label everything because things will get lost.
- Put routines in place. Over lockdown and the summer, children’s routines were probably all over the place. Try and lessen the shock of early school mornings by setting bedtimes and ensuring all technology is out of the room. Encourage older children to read and wind down in bed instead of constant phone scrolling.
Get back on track with health and fitness
Many of us will have enjoyed the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and perhaps over indulged a little. It’s been a strange few months so don’t beat yourself up if your health and fitness plans have gone out the window a little. The important thing is to get back on track for your physical health as well as your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
- Start small. Tell yourself you will just start walking and then a light jog when you feel ready or start with some gentle stretches for ten minutes. The hardest part of exercise is actually getting going and sometimes you just have to force yourself to start. The first five to ten minutes are always the worst but once you start, you will find your rhythm.
- Find the time. That is probably one of the most over-used excuses for not exercising but you don’t need to dedicate hours to it. Just twenty minutes a day, every day, can show real results. Try telling yourself that you can’t scroll social media until you’ve got going and you will find less excuses not to move.
- Know why you are exercising. It may be for your health, to improve your mood or because you want to be able to run around with your kids. Keep that in mind on dark mornings or evenings when you want to stay in bed.
- Mix it up. You may be bored of doing the same thing so find something new. It could be a short yoga session on YouTube, hill sprints or weight work. Whatever it is, expect it to feel hard initially until your body gets used to it.
- Eat your veggies. Get into the habit of filling half your plate with vegetables or have a few days every week when you follow a plant-based diet. Healthy for you and the environment too.
- Prep and plan. To make sure you stay on track, planning is key. Know what meals you want to cook for the next few days to ensure you have the right ingredients. Planning and prepping should stop you reaching for a takeaway.
- Drink up. Aim for between six to eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Try and sip on water all day to stave off hunger pangs and replace normal water loss.
- It’s ok to treat yourself. Enjoy the treats without the guilt but get back on track the next day.
Clear the clutter
Our environment affects us probably more than we know. A space that is disorganised and full of clutter is not good for our mental health. Whether you are continuing to work from home, trying to carve out a space for the children to do homework or wanting to freshen up your living space, September is the perfect time to blitz your home.
- Start small. Take one area such as a vanity drawer and get rid of everything that you don’t regularly use.
- Set a timer. Give yourself 15 minutes of intense decluttering and break after that time.
- Bin it. Walk around your home with a bin bag and get rid of anything that is broken or not useable.
- The one-year rule. If you’ve not worn it or used it in the last year, then get rid of it.
- Set the mood. Put on some music, get dressed in comfy but put together clothes and plan a lovely lunch. Enjoy the process, which may inspire you to make it a regular habit.
- Get the kids involved. Give them a box to fill with anything that they no longer play with.
- Storage solutions. There’s so much out there to create the perfect looking pantry or most together playroom. Use see through containers for seeds, cereals, pastas, rice etc and small boxes or dividers to separate clothes and underwear.
Update your wardrobe
Summer dressing is fun with little dresses and sandals but nothing beats the joy of a new season. Soft knitwear, chunky boots and warm coats are making their way to a high street near you and it is hard not to be tempted. Whether you want to follow the trends of the catwalk or just add in a few key pieces, there are lots of ways to update your wardrobe.
- Key colour trends to look out for include metallics and jewel colours. If you want something subtler, there are shades of toffee for a more neutral colour way.
- You don’t need to invest in new clothes for an update, accessories play a big part in defining your look for the season. Four autumn 2020, big earrings and a chunky gold choker chain are key.
- Whether you are working in an office or at home, running around with young children or a mixture of all three, select pieces of clothing that will work for you.
- Layer up. Let’s face it, we can experience a mix of summer, spring and winter on any day in September so invest in layers that give you versatility.
- Operate a one in and one out policy. When shopping, think about what you have already and try not to buy a similar version of something you already own in multiple, slightly different ways.
- Luxe leather. You may well already own some leather items and it will continue to be big news this autumn. In fact, designers are also turning vegan leather into beautiful, buttery soft pieces.
- To cope with the unpredictable weather, expect to see lots of statement trench coats around.
- Every year, blazers are an autumn essential. They can be dressed up or down and look great with boots.
- Knitted vets are going to be a key item for this autumn thanks to brands such as Dior and Gucci. If you don’t want to follow the more far out catwalk looks, this is a nod that you still have your eye on the ball.
- Chunky boots are back and will see you through all autumn and winter. A great investment for whatever the British weather throws at us.