173: Finding Energy + Fresh Motivation for Back to School + Your Fall Schedule

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Looking for fresh motivation to begin the back to school season? What healthy mindsets can we cultivate about life balance so that we can create a fall schedule that doesn’t result in mom burnout? How can we create a personal and family schedule that is full but still makes space for rest and replenishment?

Today’s episode shares 4 practical questions to ask to help you set boundaries around your family’s time and honor your own mental self-care needs so that you can serve your family well and avoid burnout. Let’s help you take back control of your fall schedule and create rhythms of rest as life ramps up again after summer break!

Need some fresh motivation to start the back to school season? When we cultivate a healthy life balance, it allows us to create schedules and stay away from mom burnout. Let’s look at 4 questions you should ask yourself for setting boundaries so that you can take back control of your fall schedule after summer break.


  • [5:32] Experiencing mom burnout from summer break and how to take back control of your fall schedule
  • [7:45] How your ‘why’ fuels your motivation to take back control
  • [13:52] Two critical questions to ask yourself in discovering your ‘why’
  • [15:49] 4 questions to help determine the elements we want to include in our fall schedule
  • [17:45] The first steps in creating self-care and rhythms of rest to manage busy seasons better

 [5:32] Experiencing mom burnout from summer break and how to take back control of your fall schedule

It seems easy for us to just begin the back to school season by filling up our schedules with all the extracurricular activities, but as someone who has gone through multiple seasons of burnout, I can testify that it is crucial for us to take back control of our schedules. 

It’s time that we plan out our schedules with intention, honoring where we are in the process, seeing where our kids are, and easing back into a rhythm instead of jumping right back into it. We have control over our tone of the school year, so if we think our kids should start sports later into the school year, that’s perfectly okay.

There are some very specific ways we can do this, not only from a theoretical standpoint, but by asking ourselves some questions and using specific exercises to begin cultivating that healthy life balance and creating a fall schedule that allows you to be your best self. No more continuing to accept things as they are and heading straight towards mom burnout.

How does this relate to mindset? If we want to not end up in burnout we need to ask ourselves questions like, “What mental shifts and beliefs do I need to adopt in order to not take steps that create an overpacked schedule that leads to burnout?”

Today I’m walking you through several questions we can ask ourselves to determine what elements we want to include in our schedules for the school year. Then from there, I want to help you honor your own mental self-care needs and create regular rhythms of rest during the busy seasons of life – especially the back-to-school season.

[7:45] How your ‘why’ fuels your motivation to take back control

Before we can dive into those things, we want to figure out ‘WHY’ it’s vital for us to take control of our fall schedule. Why is it important to be intentional about what we agree and disagree with? Why is it important to establish these regular rhythms of self-care and rest? 

The vehicle that drives our motivation is our ‘why’. Sure, we could make all the plans we want in our schedules, but if our ‘why’ doesn’t motivate us, we will not succeed. I plan to share my why with you; however, it’s up to you to set the intention behind your ‘why’ to create that version of yourself that feels replenished and ready to approach the new school year. 

To give you inspiration, I want to share a few of my ‘why’ statements. Here are four reasons why I cultivate a back-to-school mindset that is rest-focused and includes healthy boundaries. 

First, rest and self-care allow me to be a more sane person, which allows me to show up as my best self for my family, my clients and my own priorities. I definitely am better able to control unhealthy emotions and unrealistic expectations too. Regardless of the inevitable things that may come up during the school year, operating from a place of rest and replenishment allows me to manage the ups and downs more easily because I know God is in control of all of it. 

My second reason or ‘why’ is that my kids are more sane, too! When my husband and I help set regular rhythms for them, they aren’t overextending themselves. It’s super tempting to want to sign them up for all extracurricular activities, which could be good for them, but it’s important we consider their mental health needs for replenishment. Our kids need to know that they have limits, too. It’s not just about cramming everything into their schedules as possible. It helps when everyone is in a more balanced place together as a family.

My third ‘why’ is that I like myself and my activities way more when I’m not overextending myself. When I’m a stressed-out mess my activities become more burdensome, and I cultivate a bad attitude about doing the everyday mom activities (homework assignments, practices, etc). I become resentful and carry a spirit of bitterness like I’m stuck in a situation. I’m blessed to be called a mom, and God has graciously given me these activities as part of this mothering season. That’s the truth I want to operate from, and setting limits and establishing rhythms of rest allow me to better maintain this truth. 

My fourth and last ‘why’ is that I refuse to put my health at risk again, even for seemingly good-intentioned things. Five years ago, there was an incident that nearly took my life. It was a huge wake-up call for me to change my life drastically regarding self-care and to replenish my body’s needs. It was also a call for me to get to the root of why I was doing so much. It kept me from getting rest and put my mental and physical health at risk. Through that experience, I now know my limits and refuse to return to that place. God gave me a second chance to become a more whole human being instead of the need to produce or contribute constantly. You can hear more about my story on this in episode 125: How the Hustle Culture + Need to Achieve Nearly Took My Life.

[13:52] Two critical questions to ask yourself in discovering your ‘why’

Here's an exercise I have for you to find your ‘why’ by putting yourself in the future, six months from now, and asking yourself two questions.

Question one: What would my demeanor, thoughts, ability to show up, family, and relationships be like if I said yes to everything and filled up our schedule

Question two:  What would my demeanor, thoughts, ability to show up, family, and relationships be like if I created a schedule that allowed for activity and space for replenishment

Picture what you would be like in each of those areas for both questions. Understanding and seeing those two different versions of you can be a very effective tool for seeing how you should genuinely approach fall or any other busy season. So having the energy to tackle what comes next comes from recognizing that we're in control of our yes, no, and maybe statements. 

Spoiler alert! We will be talking about this specific topic with a friend of mine next week, who has written a book on this topic. I know you will love this discussion because it is the perfect way to start the back to school season and set ourselves and our families up for success. 

Be sure to tune in next week for episode 174!

Need some fresh motivation to start the back to school season? When we cultivate a healthy life balance, it allows us to create schedules and stay away from mom burnout. Let’s look at 4 questions you should ask yourself for setting boundaries so that you can take back control of your fall schedule after summer break.

[15:49] 4 questions to help determine the elements we want to include in our fall schedule

I have 4 questions for you in selecting the essential elements of what you want your fall schedule to look like. 

Question 1: What elements must be included as the bare minimum to get done? Only focus on the necessary elements because they are the most important as the bottom line.

Question 2: What is a nice element to add to this school year or this fall, but isn’t 100% necessary? 

Question 3: What would be something that I probably do not need to include? Think about the things that you can allow others to take off your plate or that you could ask for help with. 

Question 4: What should be your highest priority this fall for you and your family according to God? What things has God impressed on your heart for the past few months? This could be important to heed for your upcoming fall season.


[17:45] The first steps in creating self-care and rhythms of rest to manage busy seasons better

Let's discuss those first steps to creating regular self-care and rest rhythms. Cultivating this new life balance will give you more energy and motivation to serve from an over-flowing cup while managing your busy season. It starts with taking baby steps. It sounds tempting to be ambitious in doing everything, but that is when perfectionism can take over and overwhelm you. 

We don’t want to be in that place at all! Focus on progress, not perfection. First, I want you to brainstorm as many things as possible related to self-care in four quadrants, in terms of self, with each labeled: emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical. Set a timer for five minutes and think of as many things as possible that could help you in this busy season to replenish. 

There's no guilt in doing things that feel overwhelming at first, especially for achievement-oriented ones, because many of us don't know what it feels like to have rhythms of rest and fun. We may not have put a value on fun or rest. Personally for me, I have had to learn to incorporate these things in a way that feels healthy for me. So free yourself to think of something you have always wanted to try. 

Once you have done that, I only want you to circle one or two things to start incorporating. I want you also to be mindful of which ones will be the most impactful and least stressful to begin implementing. Remember that one of those first obstacles to making this happen, as I mentioned before, is there are so many steps to take in making it happen.

As you look at this list, I want you to pick things that are the low-hanging fruit, the things that you could begin doing, that are not going to have several steps involved to get you there because you don't want to have any obstacles to get in the way of it. Then, as you feel able, you can slowly add more items to your list to help you see progress. 

The next step is to grab a piece of paper and write down what needs to be done for this to happen. Take 3 to 5 minutes. For example, if your plan is to walk every morning for 15 minutes before you take the kids to school, and you need walking shoes, a good workout jacket, or anything else to make it happen, you will include that on the list. Whatever your start date is, you now have the time to see what it is you need and how much time you have to get those things in order.

From there, I want you to share it with a friend, share it with me on Instagram by tagging me on the post for this episode (episode 173), and letting me know what you are committed to doing to have that fresh motivation for your fall schedule along with your ‘why’. I would love to hear from you!

As I said, next week is going to be a very special topic with a dear friend on specific ways we can manage our responses to all things going on so that we can take back control of our lives, be intentional, and stay energized for all that God has in store for us this fall season and beyond!

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About Alicia Michelle

Alicia Michelle is a certified NeuroCoach™, Bible teacher, speaker and host of The Christian Mindset Coach Podcast and You Tube Show. More importantly, she’s a lover of Jesus, a wife of 21 years to her best friend, and mom of four amazing kids ages 19 to 10. Alicia struggled with overthinking, negative thoughts and “being enough” for most of her adult life until God radically transformed her heart after a life-threatening medical crisis. Now through her signature courses and coaching programs she loves equipping women with practical, scientific and biblically-based mindset tools to help them overcome negative thought patterns and discover more confident, joyful lives in Christ. Listen to her on the podcast or on You Tube; download free workshop trainings at VibrantChristianLiving.com; and connect on Facebook and Instagram.

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