Back to school may not mean much to you, but we assure you that it does to many people in our communities. From our students, teachers, faculty and all those who work in or around the school system, it’s a time of year like no other. With so many people now hitting the roads earlier, shopping for supplies, trying to get everything done and more, back to school time can feel like back to stress.  We have some suggestions to help keep everyone happy, healthy and safe, not only this fall, but all year long.

Plan ahead. Plan out your week, being mindful of who needs to be where and when, what meals you will have and/or food you need to prep for being on the go, what clothes need to be ready and what tasks are must do’s for the week. Whether you are trying to get into the swing of things for school or not, preplanning for your week ahead is a win-win for everybody. It’s always a good idea to double check and make sure of appointments, meetings, and other duties you may have going on as well too. This can help reduce anxiety for the week and give you an upper hand in feeling more control over your week.

Slow Down. Everyone is scrambling this time of year and if we all slow down a bit we might not only be able to enjoy ourselves more but keep each other safe. Morning commutes to work appointments or even to go visit friends for coffee just got a little more cramped with buses and extra cars headed to schools. Be mindful of vehicles that make frequent stops both in mornings and afternoons, for there could be children coming and going out of these vehicles too. Chances are there are more walkers, bikers and people out and about, so keep things slow. Not everyone obeys the crosswalks so be aware of people who may be darting across the street or turning on bikes. If we all take it just a little bit slower we can help ensure we all get where we need to be in a safe manner.

Be patient. Back to school means your store clerks have been seeing extra people, many people have been spending extra money and everyone is feeling tapped and stressed. Be patient with each other. If the store clerk makes a mistake, give them a chance to fix it without an attitude. If the person in front of you in line runs to grab one more thing, let them. Let the mom with three kids cut you in line, offer to help bag your own groceries. Let the people around you breathe and make mistakes without ridicule. Those small acts of patience are contagious and we just never know when we will be the person holding up traffic or taking too long in line. Breathe; we are all doing our best.

Have fun. Stressful times don’t have to mean the worst of times. Take time to find the joy and laughter in all that is going on. Maybe you get stressed seeing your neighborhood kids waiting outside each morning and making noise waiting for the bus, try to find the positives! Get a good laugh remembering how you used to wait for the bus, or how you had no bus at all. Sick of trying to figure out how to keep everyone fed all week, get the kids involved! Spending time together in the kitchen is sure to stir up some good laughs. Find time to sneak in some fun! Laughing, hugging and just taking some time to do nothing are really important ways to keep things light, maintain your composure and make memories.

Start fresh. Back-to-school time is just a natural time to think about how we can all “start” something new. Maybe you want to organize your house by starting with one room or closet at a time. Maybe you have decided it’s finally time to sign up for a Wellness Center Class or to join a book group. Whatever you are starting this fall all of these little rules still apply: plan ahead, slow down, be patient and have fun. When you do those four little things you can take on more than you thought and accomplish more than you imagined. We have a feeling if you start incorporating those four guidelines this just could be the best fall yet!

All in all “back to school,” may still feel like it doesn’t apply to you, but chances are it does to many people around you and in your neighborhood and communities. Let’s do our best to support each other this fall and all year long as we all can remember how daunting this time of year can be. Even if “school” isn’t something on your mind, the reality that summer is just about over is hitting us all! Those longer days, warmer nights and endless sunshine are soon to fade with our green leaves. So jump on the bus for ways to stay happy, healthy and safe as we all feel the pressures of back to reality time!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center