Fall is a magical. It’s not just the majestic colors of the leaves or the cooler temperatures or football games or the return of our favorite shows.
Autumn is also a time of reprieve. Kids go back to school and normalcy returns for a brief moment. Schedules are in place again. Routines have returned. Right now we are in that sweet spot – the calm before the storm of the holidays.
How can we savor it while preparing for the chaos ahead?
- Get outside! Fresh air and sunlight can do wonders for our wellbeing. Going for a hike or even a drive can boost our feel-good endorphins.
- Reset your sleep cycles. Fewer daylight hours actually has a bright side – it makes going to bed early far easier. When we set our clocks back an hour on November 4th, consider setting your children’s bedtime back too. Most young ones need more sleep anyway. This is the perfect way to get them down naturally and free up an hour for yourself in the evening. Do you run the risk of having them get up earlier? Maybe. But most of us aren’t getting enough sleep anyway. This is an opportunity to change that without really changing anything.
- Assess your child’s IEP. If you have a school-aged child, now is a good time to look over his or her IEP and make sure it’s being followed and accommodations are being provided. Teachers are in their groove and settled so you’ll get a really clear picture of what the students’ days are like. It’s also a good time to schedule a meeting with your students’ teachers since they should be settled into their routines. Parent teacher conferences typically do not provide enough time to address everything when a student has an IEP. Use that meeting as a way to feel out the bigger issues you need to bring up when you sit down with the full team.
- Schedule necessary appointments. Now is the time to book any needed appointments with doctors and therapists. Many insurance policies change or reset on January 1st. Filling prescriptions before our deductibles reset can save a lot of money. You can also get new glasses or dental work done with that left over flex spending money if you have it.
- Set up supports for holiday breaks. Do you or your loved one rely on a personal care attendant? Start talking about the holiday schedule now. Do you have the support you need for when children are out of school? Will family be able to help? Are contact lists up to date so visitors can help with picking people up? Review the calendar so you’re not caught by surprise by a half day or a holiday your child might have that you don’t.
- Get ready for winter weather. Storms are getting more powerful and unpredictable. Take some time now to put an emergency plan into place. Make a list of supplies you’ll need if snowed in. Slowly stock up on water and canned goods so you don’t have to fight the crowds and lug a bunch of heavy stuff into your home all at once. Think batteries, candles, matches, back up cell phone chargers, medicine, pet food, etc. This is also a good time to work out an inclement weather plan with any care providers you work with.
- Create a budget. Many of us can get swept up in the holidays and spend without thinking. Take some time to look over your budget and put some thought into what you need and what you want. You’ll thank yourself come January.