The holidays are over but returning to the usual routine can be difficult. Waking up when it’s still pitch dark and freezing outside just makes a person want to go back to sleep. Experiencing the winter blues is perfectly normal, and can be exacerbated if you had irregular sleep patterns during the past few weeks of celebrations as well as feeling the effects of jet-lag.
One of the main reasons you can feel “out of sync” is the desire and expectation to have things run perfectly smooth. Therefore, instead of trying to fight the blues, we should accept them and allow ourselves at least a few extra days to feel back to normal. In a few weeks, the well-oiled routines of late autumn will feel like they’ve returned, days won’t feel so short and everything will return to a feeling of harmony again.
To make things easier for the whole family, here are a few tips to make that return to routine a bit easier:
1) Set the alarm clock a few minutes earlier
This can be especially useful for those who have a hard time getting up in the morning to begin with. Setting the alarm a few minutes earlier will allow for snoozing, those extra winks which can seem priceless, yet you’ll still be up on time and be in a better mood. Those children who prefer things at a slower pace in the morning will also be appreciative.
2) Prepare things the evening before
Check appointments, schedules, timetables for the next day before going to bed. Get (school, work) outfits, bags and backpacks sorted as well. This helps avoid rushing at the start of the day, because that stress can linger all day. Personally, there is nothing I dislike more than frantic treasure hunts in the morning with half awake children wandering aimlessly around the house, looking for “that” sweater, library books or pair of gym shoes.
If you have girls, you can also brush and braid their hair the night before, so that it only needs to be straightened in the morning.
Whether you or your kids prepare their lunch boxes, agreeing on the menu the evening before avoids endless discussions in the morning. If having a proper family sitdown breakfast each morning is part of your usual routine, be clear about the departure time when everyone needs to be ready – in our house breakfast is 7 a.m. and departure time is 7:30am. Make clarity your friend.
4) Try to be early
Personally, I prefer planning to get somewhere early. This allows me to stay calm when something unexpected happens, such as a road closure, traffic jam, etc. Even with an unplanned delay, you are likely to still make it to your destination on time.
5) Reward yourself
Rewards can be an effective means of getting things accomplished. If everyone gets out of the house on time during the week, offer a reward on the weekend; a nice family outing or staying up late for a Friday night movie is something we do which seems to yield the desired results.