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Hit Summer's Home Stretch in Full Stride

Are you sad about trading in your summer swimsuits and sandals for long-sleeved shirts, jeans and closed-toe shoes? Are you excited about sending your kids back to school, but anxious about juggling new homework, sports and extracurricular calendars with your work and home schedules? Don’t worry: You’re not alone.

As you embark on the home stretch of summer, beat the end-of-season blues by transitioning into the cooler, more colorful and calming fall season with grace and gratitude.

Focus on the Present
It’s always easier to focus on what you don’t have, what you wish you had and what everyone else seems to have. At some point, though, you 'll eventually realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence. Being thankful for what you have will not only lift your spirits, but it also can allow you to live in the present and not miss out on the opportunities that may be right in front of you.

Instead of missing the flexibility and enjoyment of your past summer vacation or worrying about the upcoming hectic holiday season, focus on enjoying the change of seasons for everything it has to offer. Whether it’s taking a scenic drive to soak up the beauty of changing tree leaves, attending fall festivals or making plans with friends before the winter holiday storm rolls in, embrace what you love and focus on enjoying every minute of the new season.

Craft a Master Schedule
Family calendars can get out of control quickly as you run full speed ahead into the fall season. To keep everyone on schedule and en route to the correct activity, it can be helpful to develop one master calendar that includes everyone’s activities and obligations. Place the family calendar in a central location in your home or synch it with everyone’s mobile devices, if done electronically.

“The summer-to-fall transition is always difficult because so many things are happening all at once –- kids are back to school, parents are back to work after vacations and sports are starting,” said Natasha Williams, massage therapist at Elements Glendale. “It’s important to not get overwhelmed and keep your head clear by taking it one day at a time.”

Stay Connected with Family and Friends
Just because the summer season is nearing an end doesn’t mean that you have to discontinue family barbecues and neighborhood get-togethers. Now that everyone is home from vacations and settling into regular routines, it's a great time to host a neighborhood block party or schedule regular dinners with friends. And, with fall-favorite football season in motion, the weekend can be a designated time for watching the big game with friends and family.

The start of a new school year also brings new classmates into your kids’ lives and the possibility of making new friends for you and your family. Make it a point to meet your children’s friends and their families at school functions or extracurricular activity events. You never know when life-long friendships will be built.

Give Stress the Boot
Any time there’s a change in routine or the seasons, feeling anxious, excited and even a little stressed can be normal reactions. Instead of trying to ignore or cover up your feelings, it can be healthier to embrace them and find appropriate outlets to release them.

“A lot of people feel scattered and can’t concentrate on one thing at a time. They can’t think clearly or stay focused and they are tired with low energy levels,” said Suzanne McCraw, massage therapist at Elements Chandler/Ahwatukee.

To minimize the impact that stress can have on your life during this transitional time period, it can be helpful to find something relaxing you enjoy doing such as reading, crafting, exercising or baking favorite fall treats. It also can be beneficial to spend a few minutes each day of quiet time to re-center and re-balance your thoughts.

Instead of being anxious for a new season to start or dwelling on the past summer break, enjoy the calm fall season before Old Man Winter blows in. Take time to enjoy the changing of the seasons, the opportunity for exciting adventures, and the prospect of making new life-long friendships.

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