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Back-to-SchoolToday we are sharing a great Back-to-School post from blogging partner Renée Peterson Trudeau. Learn more about upcoming events on her website, including her new fall tele-course Permission Granted: The Art of Extreme Self-Care.

Comment below for your a chance to win a complimentary registration to the Permission Granted: The Art of Extreme Self-Care tele-course (a $149 value). This is a wonderful course designed to help women name/claim the life they deserve—perfect for the start of fall!


Six Back-to-School Strategies to Help You Simplify Your Life and Stress Less This Fall

In the Native American tradition September signifies the start of a new year. It certainly feels this way to me. Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, the start of the school year signifies opportunity, a time for a fresh start and a chance to do things differently.  If you’re feeling some anxiety around the all the transitions, scheduling and driving that usually accompany a new school year, take a deep breath, pause, and consider the following ideas for a simpler, less stressful school year. Adopting even one of these ideas could make a huge difference in how you experience this potentially hectic time. Begin with compassion and baby steps as you consider the following:

  1. Identify what’s #1 for your family this fall. What values or new ways of being are most important to you in the upcoming months? Is it having calm mornings, eating dinner together, saying “no,” and not overscheduling, having dedicated family time, a good homework routine, or a game plan for regular communication? Consider creating a vision board together around your shared values.
  2. Set yourself up for success by enlisting a support team. What type of support do you and your family need to feel nourished and nurtured as you transition into the new season? Perhaps a parenting coach or counselor to support a special need, a new carpool team, a source for ready-made healthy meals, or a couple of backup baby sitters for monthly dates with your partner? Line up support now and post your “support team” list in your kitchen where the whole family can see it.
  3. Schedule replenishing nature respites. Being in nature elicits a relaxation response; it helps us shed worries and restore and replenish our bodies and minds like nothing else. Pull out your calendar and schedule some family hikes, a father/son camping trip, a visit to a country cabin over a holiday break, or a potluck in a state or city park with your neighbors or friends.
  4. Do less to experience more. In our office, we love the mantra, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” A key cause of stress is ambition and trying to do too much. Researchers in the field of positive psychology say we’re happiest when we have fewer options and decisions to make. What can you say “no” to so that you can simplify your family’s life? Our quality of life is enhanced not by adding things, but by letting go of that which we don’t need.
  5. Be mindful of technology. In a recent survey I did, families across the United States said overuse of media was the top culprit for derailing their family’s emotional well-being and sense of connectedness. Consider doing an informal family media use survey (include phones, computers, tablets, TV) and create some clear guidelines for how and when your kids can be online, play video games, or use other devices. I recommend having  a “home base”–such as the kitchen–where the phones and digital devices rest at night while everyone in the family gets their sleep.
  6. Designate weekends for rest and relaxation (as best you can!). It’s easy to pack our weekends with errands, household cleaning, social activities, sports, and more—but remember that weekend time is sacred. The primary purpose of this 48-hour break is to rejuvenate and restore your energy reserves so you can return to work and school on Monday with a fresh, excited outlook—ready to learn and take on new projects. While spending the entire weekend in a hammock may be unrealistic, realize rest and relaxation are essential to problem solving, idea generation, and creativity. At least a portion of your weekend—and maybe all day Sunday—should be devoted to physical and emotional renewal.

Decide now how you’ll communicate as a family during the busy fall months. Regular, open, heartfelt communication is key to people feeling heard, seen, safe, and secure, and knowing their ideas matter—especially when schedules are full. Some opt for weekly family meetings (post an agenda on the fridge and have your children add items to the list during the week), some parents have Sunday evening planning meetings after the kids go to bed, and others adopt practices as simple as everyone sharing a “thumbs up and thumbs down” at dinner each night. What would work best for you?

Now’s a great time to mindfully reflect on what has worked and not worked in the past for your family and to explore how you might implement some of these strategies now, so you enter the new school year feeling cool, calm, and connected.


More ideas, exercises, monthly meditations and inspiration on how to reconnect, stress less and experience more balance and harmony in everyday life in Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life (New World Library 2013) by Renée Peterson Trudeau.

Renée Peterson Trudeau is an internationally recognized life balance coach, speaker, and author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, US News and World Report, Good Housekeeping, AARP and more. She is the author of the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. Thousands of women around the globe are participating in self-renewal groups for women based on her award-winning self-care curriculum. Renée lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. www.reneetrudeau.com

Smack dab in the middle of one of the newest hip spots in east Austin sits Soma Vida, a co-working community and new home to the Nannies From the Heart headquarters. NH officed for many years off West Lynn and 6th Street in Clarksville. “It was a great location, but the actual office space was full of attorneys, CPAs and real estate brokers. While there is nothing wrong with these professions,  I felt a little out of place in that environment,” Rebecca D’Amico, NH president, said. Rebecca watched year after year as a new area in east Austin start to pop up and one place eventually caught her eye…Soma Vida.

Soma Vida“Not only did the man who owned the land/building take my engagement and wedding photos in 1996 (Peter Staats Photography), but I attended some retreats with the woman who started the community of Soma Vida. Her vision was strong and clear, and I was hooked,” Rebecca explained. It was last year that she finally decided to make the move. However, there was a long waiting list…so she got in line! “I co-worked renting out space, the conference room and the house for nanny socials. And finally the big day came…April 15th was my official first day in the office and it was also my birthday. I couldn’t have been more thrilled!” Rebecca said.

Rebecca has since had her first client meetings in the new space and has been interviewing nannies at Soma Vida for a while. She said that every single person comments on how nice or cool or neat it is. Recently a mom came by with her child and the receptionist loved on and cared for the child so Rebecca could meet with the mom, and two nannies actually have moved near enough to pop in and take yoga classes. “It just feels awesome and aligns with my image of where NH is headed. Community and Support,” Rebecca said.

In addition to yoga classes, Soma Vida has a beautiful garden and a full kitchen making it the perfect spot for nanny gatherings! Several nannies gathered earlier this month for some social time and planning for our May training event. Speaking of…the training will be held at Soma Vida on May 31 so SAVE THE DATE! More details coming soon!

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