You’re already back at work or preparing to head back, and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Though it felt like the holidays passed in a flash, you now seemed to have forgotten how you managed to juggle being a mum and having a work-life.
“Holidays allow us to disconnect from our daily work tasks and essentially, our forever running to-do list,” explains Australian mum influencer Steph Pase. “So, when it comes time to switch back on and head back to work and school drop-offs, we can experience post-holiday blues.”
So, what to do? Pase says the most important thing to keep in mind is to not put pressure on ourselves and our kids getting back into the hustle of everyday life. To do this, she suggests simply setting small, achievable goals for the first week back.
“If you don’t tick these boxes, don’t be hard on yourself, make sure you meet yourself with compassion,” she says. “Slowly ease yourself back into your routine, but don’t overdo it.”
Ahead, Pase shares seven other tips for easing yourself and your kids out of holiday mode and back into a normal routine, all tried and tested by her.
Adopt a Bedtime Routine
“Avoid screens, alcohol, blue lights. Embrace books (including audio if you’re not much of a reader) hydrating water, sleep-inducing oil diffusers, do not disturb iPhone settings – and gradually adjust your wakeup time 15 mins earlier each week for 4 weeks instead of going cold turkey – which can be a rude shock to your system and leaving you feeling grumpy.”
Create a Morning Routine
“Your morning routine should be about looking after yourself and taking time just for YOU. With this in mind, it’s important to set your alarm so you get up before your children and have time to stretch, meditate, have a coffee, or even just pack school lunches in peace and silence before the chaos starts.
“This will leave you feeling clam, energised and organised, whilst allowing you time to help with the kids without getting frustrated or feeling like you’re always late and in a hurry. Try my free morning routine tracker.”
Plan Your Workouts
“Exercise plays a massive role in our physical and mental health so setting time aside for movement is crucial, as we all know as a parent, if you don’t set time aside and organise yourself, it probably won’t happen.
“Try setting your alarm for 30 minutes before the kids wake up to allow for a short walk or home workout, or squeeze one into your lunch break. If you have a young child, you can also consider riding your child to daycare on your bike or pushing them in a pram instead of using the car. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference a bit of exercise makes to your day.”
“Meal planning is so important for a stress-free afternoon after finishing work and picking the kids up from school. It avoids parents coming home and realising that there is no food in fridge, and nothing to eat for dinner.
“Most of us tend to cook the same meals on repeat anyway, so it’s pretty easy to plan ahead. Take a look at your family’s schedule for the month and note down days when someone is away, you have an event to attend or the kids have after-school activities.
“Once you know which days don’t require cooking, and which days you’ll be limited on time to get dinner on the table, you can plan your meals around it. Cooking extra amounts and keeping them in the freezer also reduces stress of realising you have no dinner.
“From your meal plan you can then write your specific shopping list, which will stop you buying too much food or items that you don’t need, and makes shopping in store, or online, faster, and more efficient. Consider getting my Steph Pase Planners meal planners for your fridge.”
Write To-Do Lists
“For the working parent, heading back to work after the festive season can feel like a major brain explosion as you have to remember all the things you have to organise for the kids, pay for, attend, cook, clean and buy, all whist trying to concentrate on your own work. Creating lists can help you feel more in control, motivated and productive, and contributes to more of an organised and stress-free day.”
Start a Cleaning Schedule
“Having an organised and clean space around you will reduce the feeling of chaos. Breaking up cleaning into 30min sections each day can make it feel less overwhelming and can be a realistic task that you can actually fit into your daily routine, for instance Monday: bathrooms, Tuesdays: floors, Wednesday: kitchen etc.
Clean Your Inbox and Junk Mail
“Having an inbox full of junk makes it super-hard to spot anything important and find things when you need them. Delete the junk mail, delete things you’ve already read, delete expired offers and unsubscribe from anything that no longer interests you.
“Also labelling/filing emails into categories makes life much easier when trying to find that email that was sent months ago (it’s like finding a needle in a haystack!). This will help contribute to a clear head, and clean stress-free start to your new year.”