As the light shifts across my kitchen table and our 1970’s summer comes to an end, I hold myself with certain sadness, mindfully aware of the changing seasons and routine. It has been a summer of wins for our family. We successfully pulled off a family digital detox with a flashback in time to the 1970’s when kids could just be kids and free play all day long. Tuesday is back to school for my three kids and back to routine for all of us. Whether you’re happy or sad for a return to school and new routines, here are my five tips for mindfully going “back to school” as a family.
The Art of Noticing:
Notice how you are feeling. Take five to ten minute breaks all throughout the day to stop, breathe, and notice your body. Are you holding tension in your body? How are you feeling? Are the feelings yours or are you taking on energy in the family? This can even be done while you are doing last last last minute (so last minute that the shelves are empty and what’s left is in the clearance bin) shopping. Stop, breathe, observe, relax (SBOR??). Here’s Vicki’s post on “Meditation Made Easy“.
Pema Chodron’s Article on “Turn Your Thinking Upside Down”
Socially connect with other parents and ask for help when needed. Coffee dates, phone chats, helping a friend – nurture your human need for connection outside of social media and connect in person. Even if your week is hectic, take time for yourself with a good friend. Make it a #JOMO break. What the heck is JOMO you say? Follow me here – it’s pretty cool stuff, actually.
Family Meetings & Check-ins:
Create space in your schedule to gather in your family. With busy and hectic lives, it can be easy to overlook this aspect. Imagine creating rituals around gathering in your family – like a momma duck gathers in her ducklings. No matter how old your kids are and how busy you are, it has a far reaching ripple effect when we bring our family in close. This could be a fifteen minute check in before bedtime. It could be story time or games night. It could be that you take ten minutes with each person before bed. Create your own special time.
Master These Skills:
Saying “no” and practicing kind and gentle thoughts. Saying no frees you up to say yes to someone or something else (thanks to Vicki Chick for that life tip). Keep in mind that the first couple of weeks back to a school routine can be hectic and disruptive to everybody in the home. You may need to say “no” to things that you’d normally want to do just to save yourself from crazy-making. Practicing kind and gentle thoughts can help you get through the week. Try these on for size:
I’m so grateful for myself and my ability to______________.
I am doing the very best I can and I love myself for that.
Tonight, I am going to take care of myself by_______________.
Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on “Saying No”.
Don’t Fall into the Comparing Trap:
You are doing the best you can at any given moment. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your insides to other people’s outsides. Social media is a great way to pass the time away but it’s also an easy way to get distracted and start comparing your life to others. Remember that you are amazing. Just because one mom seems to have it all together and is posting pictures of the most spectacular bento box lunches you’ve ever seen does not mean that you are the worst.
Words to remember through the first couple of weeks: