Did you have goals to slow things down this summer? To spend more time enjoying yourself and your family? To let go a little and take things easy? Summer is a great time to lighten your load and to experience more fun. However, sometimes taking things easy or enjoying yourself all weekend leads to more stress during the week. What will we eat? When will we get groceries? What do we have planned? I’ve got a simple structure to spend less time stressing and more time enjoying yourself this summer.
It just takes a little planning
I’ve learned over time that with a little structure, I’m able to be more present and less stressed throughout the week. For me, too much structure takes the fun out of things, but “structure” is pretty subjective depending on your personality type. Whether you like a lot of structure or a little, some planning before the week starts allows you time to devise a game plan and not get overwhelmed with the basics. It can also help you stay focused on healthy nutrition and activities that bring you energy vs. drain you. Finally, even a little planning allows you to be more present so you feel less like a “chicken with your head cut off.”
Find a time to do your planning
The first step is to find about 30 minutes each week to do your you planning. I like to end my week this way, so I reserve 30 minutes on Friday afternoon (or Thursday afternoon if I’m taking Friday off). I used to do this on Sunday morning, but I found I was missing time to enjoy my weekend this way. Also – when we had something planned on Sunday morning, I missed my planning time and then had a hectic week. Either way, try out some different days and times during the week that you can commit to planning and see what works for you.
Have a centralized calendar or schedule
It’s hard to do your planning if you don’t have everything on one calendar. This also leads to more chaos when it comes to your week as it’s hard to know what is going on. So, if you don’t have a place where you keep all of your and your family’s activities and commitments, now is a great time to start. You can use a paper calendar, the calendar function on your phone, or a calendar-sharing app like cozi. Just find something that appeals to you.
Start with an overview of the week
When you sit down to do your planning, the first step is to take a big picture look at what’s going on each day. Here are some questions to consider:
- What do you have going on personally?
- Your spouse/partner?
- Your kids?
- Which activities are already planned for the week?
- What would you like to get accomplished?
- How would you like to feel each day?
You have to eat
What you eat during the week has a big impact on how you feel, so it is important to have a plan for it. Also, scrambling around to find something for dinner when everyone at your house (including you) is already hangry is the worst. So, now that you have an idea of what’s going on for the week, decide what you’ll need to eat. If you aren’t currently doing any meal planning, I recommend starting small with a goal of 2-3 dinners at home. And – don’t forget to plan for the other meals, too. Here are some things to consider when planning your meals:
- What nights will we be home?
- How long will we have to cook before events/activities?
- Would it be helpful to have a crockpot meal on busier evenings?
- What will we eat for breakfast?
- How many days will I need to pack lunches?
- What nutrition goals do I want to strive for this week?
Don’t forget the groceries
Now that you have a plan for the week’s meals (I recommend writing down the plan on your calendar, too), pick a time to buy your groceries. I absolutely LOVE grocery pick-up because it saves me time, and I’m less likely to buy items that are not on my list. You can create your grocery list based on the number of meals you need. Try to keep your meals as simple as possible – especially if this is new for you. Think in terms of a protein, starch, and green vegetable for dinner. For breakfast and lunch, consider staples that are easily put together or that can be assembled on one day and then eaten all week. If you have time, go ahead and place your grocery order during your planning time!
Schedule your workouts
You’ve got a plan for your meals, and now it’s time to make sure you will get your workouts in, as well. If you’re not currently exercising regularly, schedule in 2-3 days of workouts the first few weeks. Although tempting, getting up early to workout is not always the best option. It takes tons of willpower! Find some ways you can incorporate activity into your normal routine. Take a walk at lunch, go for a stroll around the block with your kids after work, take a quick exercise class on your way home from work, find a free yoga class to try online before bed…these are all ways you can do some exercise without having to get up super early. Make sure to put them in your calendar like any other appointment.
Find some time to prep
Even the smallest amount of food prep goes a long way. When it comes to productivity, it is a much more efficient use of your time to group similar activities together. For example – if you are going to be make something for lunch anyway, go ahead and make a week’s worth of lunches at one time.
If you are making some crockpot meals, go ahead and get everything ready at least the night before so all you have to do is dump it in to your slowcooker in the morning. The more you have prepped, the more likely you will be to eat what you have planned and not make emotional (hangry) food choices throughout the week.
Schedule time for yourself
Part of the reason you feel stressed or frazzled is because you need some more time for yourself! Most women I talk to take little – if any – time for themself. This can be as little as 15 minutes per day, but it will allow you time to decompress and re-energize. This might be a better option for getting up early so you can enjoy your cup of coffee in peace. Or – maybe you take a relaxing bath 1-2 times per week. Whatever it is, make sure you have a plan for it, as well, or your time will get gobbled up!
If you’re not someone who currently does weekly planning, the first few times you do this might feel a little rough. And – even though it will help you feel less stressed – planning time might not ever be something you enjoy. However, you WILL enjoy the ability to be more present, to feel energized instead of frazzled, to meet your nutrition and exercise goals, and to have more fun. The key is to stay persistent and dedicated to this process until it gets easier for you!
I’m more than happy to help you get started and stick with it, so please reach out for support. Heck – we can even accomplish your planning time together to make sure it gets done. I’ve got lot’s of tricks up my sleeve!
I’d love to hear how this goes for you. Now, go spend less time stressing and more time enjoying yourself this summer!