Back to school and back to the grind! Fall is here and with that comes maxed out schedules and new routines — school, sports practices, work travel, getting ready for the holidays and more. It can be hard to keep up, especially when you sometimes want to just lay down and recharge, but there are some easy ways to keep your energy going during these long weeks. Check out these 5 simple tips for tackling your busiest days — full speed ahead!
1. Reach for water
Water is not just for athletes. Studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute show that insufficient hydration can cause fatigue, heat exhaustion or dizziness, and even a loss of 1-2 percent of your body's water can make it harder to think and focus. Everyone needs to stay hydrated, and not all drinks are created equal. Sugary sodas kids ask for and coffee parents grab to combat a mid-day slump can backfire — sweet drinks can lead to an energy crash later, caffeinated beverages don’t hydrate well and both may interfere with getting a good night’s sleep.
According to WebMD, children and teens should drink six to eight cups of water per day, increasing water intake during active play or exercise to a half cup to two cups for every 15-20 minutes of activity. Pack a refillable, insulated water bottle in your kids' backpacks, adding ice to keep water cold. Involve kids in making fun labels with their names so everyone has their own reusable bottle. And do the same for yourself — keeping water by your side keeps it top of mind.
2. Make a plan for lunch
Wherever you are, whatever comes across your desk, have a game plan to keep you fueled. For days when time is short, stock up on easy-to-fix snacks with plenty of protein to keep you energized throughout your day.
For example, new Farm Rich Time Outs include tasty microwavable snacks for one, which will give you a boost in just minutes and curb cravings: Fiesta Chicken Roll-ups with Mild Poblano Ranch Sauce, Boneless Chicken Bites with Sweet BBQ Sauce, Pepperoni Pizza Roll-ups with Marinara Sauce and Mozzarella Bites with Marinara Sauce. Keep some in the freezer at work so you'll always have a convenient, wholesome option for a quick lunch or mid-afternoon pick-me-up. (Grab these up at Walmart and Publix stores in the freezer aisle.)
3. Namaste every day
When you hit a slump, a meditation break before heading to your next meeting can keep you going. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that meditation can lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and depression, plus it could potentially help cope with pain such as headaches. And people are catching on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in 2017, 14 percent of people in the United States practiced meditation, up from just 4.1 percent in 2012. Meditation can be done anywhere you can find a quiet spot. Sit upright, close your eyes, breathe deeply and relax the mind. Consider apps like Headspace or Calm for a little guidance.
If your child is dozing in the back seat on the way home from school, find time to refresh his or her spirit before heading to whatever’s next. Stop at a park to swing on the swing set or let them lie on the grass and watch the clouds. Go ahead, join them! You’ll all have more energy because of it.
4. Add in a little movement
Sometimes moving is what you really need to do but may not feel like you have time to do. Keep it realistic. Try standing and stretching every 30 minutes, especially if you sit at a desk all day. If you don't have time for yoga classes or the gym, consider doing a walking meeting instead of sitting in a conference room, or, if you travel, pack a jump rope or resistance band to use in your hotel room.
When you're home, a short bike ride or some outdoor play in the yard can get the whole family moving together.
5. Boost energy with protein-rich snacks
Whether it’s during the work day, after school or an evening activity, protein-packed snacks can power you through. Find snacks both you and the kids enjoy and that provide quality energy. For example, Grilled Cheese Sticks from Farm Rich are a good source of protein at seven grams per serving. They're easy enough to make that older kids can microwave them in minutes. It may be just what they need to fuel that evening homework session while you check off that to-do list. To find these and other Farm Rich products at a store near you, visit FarmRich.com.
Taking care of yourself puts you in a place to be your best for family and friends and make it through jam-packed days. Allow time in your day to recharge and refuel, because in the words of wise, old Benjamin Franklin, "When the well's dry, we know the worth of water."