The other day I was literally ‘spinning’, my mind (and heart) racing, in and out of my home office, doing laundry between zoom calls, ensuring my school agers were logged into their online classrooms, thinking about what to make for dinner and if I need to zip out to the grocery store or not, while also thinking about what to get my dad for his birthday. Sound vaguely familiar? I feel like I have been living my life in fast forward for the past year. Under all this whirlwind of activity is a feeling of guilt somehow, like I am not doing enough as a parent, daughter and employee. And what about me? I hadn’t even thought about my own physical and dare I say, mental state of health. Before I had a breakdown, I called one of my friends that is one of the ‘calmest’ people I know (despite a full and busy life) and she had some great advice for me, here are the highlights!
- Slow down to speed up – tornados make a big mess! Sometimes going ‘fast’ really results in doing things more than once, or not doing them well which leads to more stress. Be purposeful in what you do. If it’s important to do, do it right. Moving your body or speaking slower actually has a calming effect and reduces stress.
- Set limits – stop doing things that aren’t important (or as important). Does it really matter if the laundry gets folded tonight? Or if the beds aren’t made for one day? It’s okay to say “no” to family and friends when you really don’t have the time to do something for them. Prioritize your family and yourself.
- Time for yourself is important – Find something that relaxes you and take the time to do it!– yoga, 5 minutes alone in the backyard or balcony, swim, watching a mindless tv show. If it recharges your battery, it is time well spent! Taking time for yourself is the opposite of selfish – listening to your own needs helps you meet the needs of others.
- Disconnect – seriously. Put the phone down, don’t look at social media. Be present ! Try doing this for longer periods of time and more often. Your children will notice this more than almost anything, that you are engaged with them in the moment. What you are doing with them in that moment doesn’t really matter. Ever notice that? Your children are happiest doing ‘anything’ with you as long as you are truly present with them.
- Be okay with not being perfect – being a parent is messy and being present and in the moment with children is much more important that being a perfect parent. Be mindful about how you are parenting, what we do and say has an impact. Showing children that making mistakes, forgetting to do things, or not being able to finish something is ‘OK’ then they too will know that they do not have to be perfect.