In this crazy, wonderful time of back to school chaos, there is a lot of transition. Children are growing up, entering a new grade, a new school or a new phase. As someone who supports women in creating success without burning out, I've learned that during these busy times of transition, it's vital you take time to come back to yourself and focus on what really matters.
It's easy to be swept up in the momentum of all the external changes. Many of us get caught up in details and stress out about school lunches or new schedules. This can lead to feeling run down and exhausted. Instead, what if you were to focus some of your attention on YOUR needs?
Anytime there is a lot of change going on, especially with those around you, it's helpful to ground yourself and refocus on your needs. Bringing some focus back on you is a powerful way to balance the changes and demands that are coming from the outside.
Here are seven simple steps to come back to YOU in the midst of back to school season:
1. Get out in nature.
Even if you only have ten or twenty minutes, taking a walk and breathing fresh air can immediately rejuvenate and re-center you. One study in Japan showed "forest bathing" (spending time in nature) lowered stress and increased positive feelings.
2. Read a book... just for fun.
Rather than reading something you "should" read, try picking up a book that makes you laugh or a page-turner you just can't put down.
Research shows meditation lowers stress and improves focus. Here is a free 30 Day Meditation Challenge that's just five minutes a day, perfect for the "busy" parent.
4. Ground your body with a massage or bath.
5. Take a nap.
It's counter intuitive, you actually need MORE rest when you have more going on.
Ask some big questions. What matters to me? What do I believe so strongly that I'm willing to die for? Think about your values.
7. Find a sanctuary.
Carve out a place where you can feel safe, be absolutely undisturbed and enjoy the quiet. There will be a lot of demands thrown at you from your partner, kids, teachers, and work. It's important to create a sanctuary where you feel protected from all these outside sources trying to pull energy from you, where you can replenish and tap into your own inner energy. This can be a room in your house or a special bench in a park nearby, anything convenient and quiet. Spend at least ten to fifteen minutes in your sanctuary each day.
If you're thinking "but I don't have TIME for any of this!" Recognize that time is always in your control. If your child broke his or her arm, and came running in the room saying; "help! I'm hurt," you would stop everything and take your child to the hospital. All of a sudden, you do have time.
We always have control of our time, the bigger issue is many of us feel like we "should" be doing other things or we feel guilty if we take time for ourselves. You have more control than you think, and most of the activities above take less than ten minutes.
The best way to get through a busy period is to balance the busyness with periods of rest and calm. As Mother Meera says, "Being relaxed and peaceful is the most important thing for opening."