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Fresh Starts / New Routines

In Ask the Experts by Emily Fitzgibbons0 Comments

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In last month’s column, I wrote about how we, as parents, might learn to thrive throughout the summer holidays. I admit, I experienced a couple of melt-downs over the six weeks.

On reflection, this isn’t too bad considering my children have driven me crazy at times, with their separate agendas and our home weirdly resembling a teen hotel on many occasion. So, I for one, will be looking forward to some semblance of order back in our lives after what has been a relatively long period without routine. Although my children may have a different view, those late starts and breakfasting at 2pm will thankfully be over for a while!

For many of us, the month of September signals the end of summer. Astronomers base the seasons on celestial events and so the date for autumn is decided on when the hours of daylight and darkness are roughly the same. This year autumn begins September 22nd.  For some, however, saying goodbye to summer can feel like the end of the world. There’s nothing like a dose of post-holiday blues to make us wish we could chuck it all in and open a yoga school in Greece!

Your world may feel a little discombobulated for a while, but take some comfort in knowing you are not alone. Research shows that 70% of us find it difficult to get back into a routine after summer and 72% say it takes one or two days to adjust to work post-holiday. It’s no wonder 57% of us fancy a new job come September!

But, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. While September marks the beginning of a return to work and a new school year, the possibility of starting anew and having a clean slate can feel exciting. There’s a hint of charge in the air, or could that be a nip? As the temperature does take a noticeable drop!

This time of year often creates a new surge of energy and we may feel compelled to sort out our wardrobes in preparation for wearing warmer clothing. As the heating gets switched back on, so do our rituals and routines as we experience the shorter days and evenings arriving sooner than expected.

Returning to school/work needn’t crush our joie de vivre, look at it like hitting the refresh button and a time to rebrand ourselves and focus on what we want to achieve as opposed to bobbing along on auto-pilot. Feeling in control of our lives is important as it affects our sense of wellbeing and in turn how productive we feel. It also relates to our happiness, stress levels and confidence as well as our sense of security.

And yet, it’s only natural to feel fed up when we return to our routines as we fantasise about the freedom we had away from them. However, if we can recognise this for what it is, we can adopt a natural problem-solving approach to address these feelings of sadness or boredom. Noticing these thoughts for what they are is helpful as we can strive to be more productive by reminding ourselves of our goals and what it is that we are trying to achieve.

So, while routine may sound boring to some, it is necessary as it provides us with structure and familiarity. Structure is a way of organising our life so that it creates meaning and provides us with direction. Research shows routines, even as simple as that morning cup of coffee and a check on Facebook, can give us both pleasure and a sense of peace.

Therefore, if we are striving for balance and harmony in our lives, then routine helps by encouraging us to be more efficient to fulfil said routine. It is important that we devote most of our energy and time to those things that challenge us and increase our productivity, which ultimately improves our sense of wellbeing. This further allows us to take our metaphorical foot off the accelerator when we are having less motivated days.

So, what have you got planned for this September? With a holiday booked for October half term, I’m going to remain motivated and work hard through the September blues.


Lindsay George,
Health and Well-being Expert,
Twitter: @therapylgeorge

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