There is a nostalgia that surrounds this time of year, the start of a #newterm and a change in both the weather and our mindset. The change from summer to autumn brings shorter days, a chill in the air and a crisp feeling below our feet. Autumn means a lot of fun and outdoors activities for me and my son – nature is beautiful this time of year. 

As a busy single working parent, the new term to me means help with childcare. It wasn’t until my son returned to nursery that I realised just how much my day to day routine had changed. During the summer break, when it was just me and my son, I put a lot of things on hold. I found my time was spent either entertaining my son or tidying up after entertaining my son. Days were always busy and active, and bedtime meant starting on daily chores. I just wasn’t able to do much for myself.

For us parents, the new term brings a chance for healthier habits after hectic summer holidays and just a chance to catch up and take a moment to enjoy a warm cup of tea.

Now that I have my weekdays back, I have to admit that I am enjoying getting back into batch cooking, long walks with the dog, and doing the odd charity shop trip with donations of toys, books and clothes.  

Having the headspace to plan our weekly meals is not only cheaper but healthier too. – I have time to food shop and prepare meals without little hands getting in the way.  Now that the weather is getting colder, I’ve began to experiment with stews (who doesn’t enjoy tasty feel good food!). I’m working my way through WCRF’s Comforting Cuisine and Enjoy Greens cookbooks, especially now that autumn veg is in season.  Having that time for me, whether a long walk with the dog and a podcast once a week, a yoga session, daily diary entries or just a bit of peace and quiet is really important. As a parent I often prioritise caring for others over my own self-care.  I am ashamed to admit that I’ve even put a health niggle on hold (unintentionally) until the schools went back. As we transition into a new season with uncertainties ahead due to the pandemic we need to remember to take time for ourselves, make changes for a new now.  

Schools are back and I feel re-energised – I’m grateful to have the time to refocus and install balance back into my life, I am also delighted that during this time I have lost half a stone.

Lauryn Monahan, Social Media & Communications for SCPN