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Tips to Survive the Back to School Crunch

Tips to Survive the Back to School Crunch


    It’s back to school time. Parents everywhere are steeped in the hectic back to school scramble, supplies, clothes, lunches, activities, car pool, after school care… The list is endless. We have to plan, prepare, shop, organize, schedule and then we actually have to make sure they get to school on time with supplies, lunch and completed homework in hand. It’s enough to make even the most organized among us weep with exhaustion. There’s no getting around the long list of school needs, but there might be some relief for the accompanying migraines.

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    Some Back-to-School Sanity Savers

    • School supplies – Buy school supplies as soon as you receive your list. Make sure you check sale flyers before you shop. Don’t forget to check your local warehouse club for bargains. It pays to buy extra, supply prices are at their lowest this time of year. If you have a stash of the basics, you won’t run out later in the school year, necessitating a 6AM trip to Wal-Mart for a #2 pencil the morning before a big test…maybe that’s just our house.
    • School clothes – Clothes can break the bank, like no other part of school prep. Shop all summer long, so that the expense can be spread out over several paychecks. Watch for those buy 1, get 1 sales, sign up for coupons and email notices from your favorite clothes stores and take advantage of those “the more you buy, the more you save sales.” It may be cheaper to buy several of the same jeans in different washes or shirts in different colors.
    • Sports equipment – If your kids play sports, then you know how expensive all that equipment can get. One way to save is to buy equipment or sportswear the next size up at the end of the season for next year. Most areas also have a second hand sporting goods store in the area. Or check eBay, Craigslist, etc. Another idea is to talk with your coach or fellow parents about organizing a swap or resale within the sports team. It’s a shame that perfectly useable equipment sits in a dusty basement, when someone else could use it.
    • Lunches – Plan lunches ahead. Look at the lunch calendar for the week and decide with your child which days will be buy days or bring days. Most schools now have a pay ahead system so that lunch money doesn’t need to be sent in every day. If your child brings a lunch, decide what those lunches will consist of and shop for the whole week. Again, stock up on snack items and non-perishables ahead. Granola bars, pretzels, drinks, etc. can all be bought in bulk. Pack lunches the night before if possible…and teach your child to make their own lunch as soon as they are capable.
    • Routines – Devise a morning, afternoon, and evening routine that works with your schedule. Create a checklist and print it out so that you or your child can check of each item as you go. Some sample routines include:
    1. Morning: Eat breakfast, feed dogs, get dressed, brush teeth, comb hair, make bed, and check backpack for lunch, snack, sports equipment, and homework.
    2. Afternoon: Unpack backpack, eat snack, homework, etc.
    3. Evening: Check school calendar for next day, pack backpack for next day, pack lunch if applicable. Discuss any activities, sports, daycare, and carpool arrangements with child.
    • Carpool – Talk to your fellow parents and set up a rotating carpool schedule if you can. Set up a phone tree or trade contact info. with other class or sports parents. *My best time saver has been trading cell numbers with other parents. We text to arrange rides, share schedule changes, ask about supplies, etc.

    Back to school will always be a busy time of year, but with a little bit of planning and organization, you can save a whole lot of time, money, and aggravation.

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    Do you have any back to school tips to share?

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    (Photo credit: Green Apple on Book via Shutterstock)

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    Royale Scuderi

    A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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