Back to School Rest & Renewal Formula
Rushing out the door first thing in the morning, after school activities, homework, the dinner rush... It’s that time of year again. It can be a challenge to remember to honor our commitment to rest, renewal and play as we all prepare to get back to school. Life gets busy and filled with obligation and I hear parents complain all the time that there is simply not enough time to get it all done.
This past week, I was reminded of how important it is to pay attention to my needs for rest and renewal no matter how busy we are. I was in bed for three days with the flu. Yes, in the middle of August. I know this means one thing for me. I am committed to exhausting myself and my body is yelling at me. I have ignored my need for rest and renewal. At times, I still wear myself out. Each May, I find myself longing for the end of school and the ease of summer days. I fantasize about slow morning starts, relaxing walks, yoga everyday, dinners on the patio with family and friends, no homework stress and the promise of more play in my days. And I have 3 teenagers, a partner, a few pets, a household, everyday life to manage, oh and a business to run. Life is full.
This month I have been talking about the importance of honoring rest, renewal and play in our lives, and I clearly have not been practicing what I preach.
And this is what I noticed.
- I am less productive when I do not honor MY rest and renewal patterns
- I am far less creative and inspired
- I am grumpy
- I lack motivation
- I get sick!
What is also true is I am grateful for my flu as it was a reminder to me to wake up and shift. It has remind me to recommit to my natural rhythms of rest, renewal and play. As I head back into the stress of the back to school routine I am reminding myself what I need to stay at the top of my game and optimize my health and well being.
My Formula for renewal as we go back to school
- Honor thy sleep! I am no longer 18. With teenagers in the house staying up late, coming home late and sleeping till noon throughout the summer, my sleep patterns get disrupted. I can sometimes go below the line and guilt myself into staying up too and ignore my natural sleep cycles. Learn your optimal sleep patterns and HONOR them. You will have more energy, feel better and more alive and have access to more creativity, motivation and of course keep your immune system strong.
- Just say no. I want to do everything, see everyone and not miss a thing. I often say yes without always checking in with myself. Although I may truly WANT to do it all, I need to honor what I am capable of and say no, even when I am pulled to say yes. Know your limits and learn to say no, even when you want to say yes. Schedule 50% less than you are used to. It is much like not having that extra piece of cake or next glass of wine. It looks good in the moment, but you almost always regret it and the price to pay later is rarely worth it.
- Stillness Speaks volumes. Meditate, Meditate, Meditate. Everyday. We know the science, we know why. As the Nike slogan says “Just Do it!” Even if you do not have a traditional meditation practice, find 10 minutes a day to be in stillness. Turn off your technology, drink a cup of tea, listen to the birds, shut everything out and simply BE. Imagine you are like your cell phone and need a charge. Unplug and recharge. It works wonders for your mood and aliveness. When you notice yourself short tempered, irritable, exhausted, or scattered, STOP and walk away from whatever you are doing. Recharge and when you get back to said task you will accomplish it with more ease.
- Find the FUN. Do at least one thing a day that you love. It doesn’t matter what it is or how much time it takes. Simply find one thing that brings you joy. Read, work out, do yoga, drink a cup of tea or glass of wine, take a walk, talk to a friend.
When we pay attention to our needs for rest, renewal and play we maximize our energy, expand our creativity and are more available to those we love and care for. When we model this behavior, we are teaching our kids to do the same. So, what is your formula?
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