Not to freak you out.

But in just a few short weeks, it’s going to be back to school time.

And whether you have kids in school or not, that’s the pivot that moves us from the lazy days of summer and longer days of sunshine into the buckle-down, head-into-the-last-quarter-of-the-year, prep-for-all-the-holidays kind of mode.


It makes me tired just bringing it up. (Thankfully, it’s softened by knowing that there will also soon be pumpkin-spiced everything.)

If you’ve had a summer filled with travel and more gentle routines, it can be a bit of a shock to the system to head into a more frenetic fall. So how can you make the transition to the busiest season of the year while not undoing all the good that the summer may have done you? Check out these ideas for creating a kinder on-ramp to the coming busy autumn days.

Pull out that fall calendar now. I know, you may want to avoid staring down all that is coming in the next few months. But go ahead and give yourself the advantage of noting the big rocks in the next few weeks, from back-to-school nights to major holidays to fall break. Making sure you’ve got some of the key items already notated on the calendar gives your brain some time to adjust to upcoming events.

Start soft. If there’s a big change coming with the back-to-school season, take some baby steps now. If your kids will be heading back to the classroom, but they’re currently staying up half the night and sleeping half the day, start backing up that routine by 15 minutes for a few days, and then another 15 minutes. Or maybe you’re not prepping kids for back to school, but you’ve backed off on your fitness routine or in-office schedule. Make some small adjustments now while the days are longer and the temps are warmer so that by the time you’re in full fall mode, you’ve eased yourself into the transition.

Audit your fall activities. As all.the.things start back up, it can be tempting to fill up a calendar that may have had more margins during the summer. Hit the pause button before you register for that next activity or class or volunteer opportunity and ask yourself this important question: “Is this something God is leading me to do or is this something I’m feeling pressured to do?” So often, we can start creating obligations for our time without taking a moment to prayerfully see what our days should be filled with. Before you sign up, pray up.

‘Crock Pot’ upcoming needs. No, this isn’t a post about cook-ahead recipes. But the philosophy is. What things can you be preparing now, ahead of time, before the fall crush hits? Can you get all the back-to-school items purchased this week? Could you knock a few Christmas gifts off the list? What if you pulled out a notepad and got some of the details hammered out for Thanksgiving? Sure, it might not seem as cozy and seasonal to think through some of these things in the crazy heat of summer. But your future self will thank you for prepping some things ahead of time.

And be sure and check out these resources from Altrua HealthShare on back-to-school checkups and finishing out the final days of summer with intention!

Julie Lyles Carr is a best-selling author, podcaster, and entrepreneur living in Austin, Texas, with her husband Mike Carr. They have eight kids, two unfriendly cats, and an antique dachshund.