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Building Bridges by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante  

And… we’re back!

Celebrating the end of summer

and beginning of fall

by Cheryl Dizon-Reynante 

It seems that whenever the September long weekend is over, there is suddenly a different feel in the air. Mornings are cool and crisp, we notice that the leaves are changing colour, and we put on jackets and boots. And for some it is harder to get out of bed and get going in the morning. Most people are transitioning from relaxed summer mode to a steady routine.

To make it easier for you and family members to get ready for the new school and work year, here are some things that can ease the end-of-summer blues and mark the beginning of fall with a sense of hope and excitement.

1. Ease into the sleep routine

Don’t wait until the night before the first big day to go to sleep at an early hour. This will probably not go well the next morning! For children, starting a minimum of one week before will get them into the habit of going to bed and waking up early. The new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth recommend uninterrupted nine to 11 hours of sleep per night for those aged five to 13 years of age and eight to 10 hours of sleep per night for those aged 14 to 17 years of age. For adults, the Canadian Sleep Society recommends seven to eight hours per night.

The benefits of good sleep are that it boosts learning, increases attention span, and contributes to growth. There’s also evidence that an adequate amount of rest can help maintain healthy weight, defend against germs and illness, and reduce the risk of injury.

2. Introduce regular physical activity

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth also encourage that kids get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. For adults, Health Canada recommends that adults get 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week.

During the summer months, it is easier to achieve these recommendations by going for walks, playing in the park, riding bikes and swimming. However, once the colder months arrive, it is more challenging for kids to find opportunities for exercise. Look into what is available through your local community centre or the Winnipeg Leisure Guide: http://www.winnipeg.ca/cms/recreation/leisure/leisureguide.stm

Keep in mind that although Manitoba winter weather can make us want to stay indoors, there are plenty of no-cost and fee-for-service winter activities such as hiking, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and tobogganing. For more ideas, go to Tourism Winnipeg at https://www.tourismwinnipeg.com/play/outdoor-activities

3. Set goals

Take some time to think about what was done and learned in the previous year and how much progress was made. If you have children returning to school, they might need some help remembering what challenges they had and how they overcame them. Ask them what new things they want to try and learn to do. Usually with school age children and adolescents, these goals are academic or social. For example, they might want to try reading a higher level book or memorizing their multiplication tables. Or they could try to get to know a new kid in their school or join a school sports team.

Adults can follow the same process by reviewing the previous year and what has been accomplished. Common goals that adults strive for involve increasing their overall health and well being, or improving their financial status. For example, you can set a goal of exercising for half an hour, five days per week or creating, and sticking to, a weekly budget.

4. Celebrate the end of summer and beginning of fall

Often, celebrations can be a memorable way to transition from one thing to the next. People can get together for a special dinner, potluck, or picnic to mark the beginning of fall. It is a great opportunity to review the events of the summer, which can include looking at pictures and talking about what their favourite memories are. This gives everyone closure and encourages moving into a steady routine with happy memories and a hopeful attitude.

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile” – William Cullen Bryant.

Cheryl Dizon-Reynante is a licensed therapist with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association.