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Pencils, rulers, backpacks… oh my! It’s back-to-school time!

by Alex Inman

It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again – back to school! ‘Tis the season of rushing to the store for school supplies, trying (and, usually, failing) to get back into a normal sleep routine, sorting out schedules (between school, teams, activities, etc.), and figuring out what in the world to pack for lunch to make sure your kids are eating healthy… and are actually eating what you pack!

Personally, I’m also gearing up to head back to UBC for a degree in Dietetics. Having worked at DASH for the summer, my sleeping and packing lunches routine is already in place – but making a balanced schedule has always been a challenge. Research has shown that maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating right, exercising regularly and maintaining positive mental health, is associated with better learning and higher grades! So here are some tips that I’ve found on how to practice BALANCE in your life between work, school, and personal commitments.

  • Write out a ‘typical’ weekly schedule. While this may change over time, starting out by putting in things you NEED to do can help you schedule in time for things you WANT to do (and some “me” time too!)
  • Ensure that children are getting at least 60 minutes of rigorous physical activity a day. This infographic shows the link between being physically active and academic achievement. An easy way to ensure your children are active enough is to sign them up for teams and lessons as this will keep you accountable to getting to practice/lessons every day. Or consider getting active as a family – what about after-dinner walks that the whole family gets into? Or how about taking the whole family to the local pool for a dip? You can also check out ParticipACTION’s funmobile that is touring the province.
  • It may be a little late now, but it helps to start getting into the habit of going to sleep earlier a few weeks before the start of school. Now that we’re already in school, think about getting into a bedtime routine. Turn off all screens at least half an hour before you want to sleep (the light from TVs, phones, etc. keeps our bodies awake) and choose quiet, calming activities to do before bed such as reading a book or having a bath. Set yourself a bedtime by starting with what time you want to be up and aiming for 6-8 hours of sleep!
  • Make sure you’re packing healthy, balanced lunches for the school or work day. A balanced meal includes at least 3 of the 4 food groups, with a focus on including fruits and vegetables. Extra tip: make extra for your dinner tonight, so you can pack it for lunch tomorrow! Here’s a great video from UBC Dietitian Tanya Leung about packing healthy lunches!

I hope you found some of these tips helpful for easing back into the school routine. I’m curious though, what do YOU do to get ready for back-to-school? What’s some of your best advice for leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle even as we start to get busier in September?

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