New Jersey Institute of Balance - September 2017

Extracurricular Overload Every parent knows that a poorly organized tangle of kids’ activities is a recipe for amigraine. As school starts up again, so does sports season, and your kids’extracurricular ambitions pile up like the falling autumn leaves. Don’t let yourself get burned out. Here are some tips on how to stay sane in themidst of the extracurricular whirlwind.

How To Demystify Your Kids’ J mpacked Schedules

Consolidate all your scheduling, jotting, and activity-tracking into one system. Let’s get one thing straight: You can’t afford to be scrawling“Abby piano lesson rescheduled 9/21”on the first scrap of paper you come across. That doesn’t mean you have to be hyperorganized, but it does mean that you need to keep your entire calendar in one place, whether that place is Google Calendar, a fridge whiteboard, or the old-fashioned standby: a calendar with a lighthouse on every page. One particularly attractive option is the Cozi app (, which not only consolidates an entire family’s calendars, but allows you to include to-do lists, shopping lists, recipes, chore checklists, andmore.Whichever systemyou choose, keep it updated. Its word is law. Formparent alliances. Those soccer practices Jacob’s going to? There are other teammates there, and they have parents shuttling themaround, just like you are. Set up carpools—Noah’s momdrives thembothTuesday while you’ve got Thursdays—tomanage scheduling conflicts between your kids and drastically reduce the time you spend as a chauffeur. To simplify the process andmake sure everyone’s on the same page, check out the Carpool-Kids app at It’ll let you directly invite other parents and set up weekly or one-shot carpool schedules. Learn Healthy Coping Mechanisms That Put You in Control D aling With Stress

Maintain balance. You almost certainly will need to say no to additional extracurricular activities every now and then. Sure, simultaneous baseball, football, and soccer seasons might seemhealthy and fun for your kid, but you need to consider your own needs, as well. Many parents give their children free rein over what to choose, but limit activities to one or two per season. Johnny wants to do underwater basket weaving? Strange choice, but sure—though he’ll have to abandon either fencing or ice hockey. Make sure you weigh each child’s needs equally, and keep the rules the same for each of them. ways to deal with stress. Instead, find unique, healthy coping strategies. Focus on what makes you feel calmand in control. Avoid, Alter, Adapt, and Accept Some stressors are predictable. Learn how to predetermine your reactions by choosing to avoid, alter, adapt, or accept. Avoid people or situations that stress you out. Talk about your feelings instead of bottling themup, create a balanced schedule, reframe your problems, look at the big picture, and practice gratitude. It’s critical to look at the glass as half-full and learn to forgive. Make Time for Relaxation Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If youmake ample time for self-care, you will be in a better place to handle life’s stressors. Give yourself options like going for a walk, calling a good friend, journaling, or reading a book. Live a Healthy Lifestyle In addition to regular exercise, there are other healthy lifestyle choices that can increase your resistance to stress. Eat a healthy diet; reduce caffeine and sugar; avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs; and get enough sleep. Stress is unavoidable, but it doesn’t have to dictate your life.With stress management techniques, you can avoid chronic stress, reduce your stress levels, and live your life to the fullest.

You have more control over stress than you think. Stress management is about taking charge of your lifestyle, thoughts, emotions, and the way you deal with problems. Nomatter how stressful your life seems, there are steps you can take to regain control. Identify Sources Chronic stress is hard to recognize. Look closely at your habits and excuses. Do you explain away stress as temporary? Do you define stress as an integral part of your life? Do you blame your stress on others? If you don’t recognize your role in creating or maintaining stress, you will never be able to control it. Find Healthy Strategies Withdrawing from loved ones, bingeing on food or alcohol, procrastinating, and sleeping toomuch are all unhealthy

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