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'Time Stress' Tips for the School Year

As school begins in my neighborhood I found myself reminiscing. I loved the summer months when my son was young (an adult now). We took every opportunity to explore our area museums, hiking, water parks and most of all we just loved to hang out in the yard playing. I dreaded the coming of the school term as we were forced into a schedule, often rushing to get to events at assigned times, getting massive amounts of homework done, etc.  You may have the opposite response, looking forward to getting the kids off to school, hoping to find time for yourself. Either way, with the onset of school you may experience ‘Time Stress’.

Children and parents schedules become very full when school begins. This concerns me for many reasons. When a child is overscheduled they do not learn to entertain themselves and lose the ability for creative play and thinking. When adults and children are both over scheduled you tend to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Does this sound familiar?

When my son was quite young I remember saying to him, “We have to hurry…. We don’t have time…. What do you think this teaches them? Then I began studying mindfulness based stress reduction and began noticing how often I said, “We don’t have time”!  Mindfulness helped me to choose to become more present in each moment, savoring our time together and allowing him to discover his environment, picking up stones along the way on our walks exploring the neigborhood instead of being focused on MY end goal.

Your children will grow up faster than you can imagine.  I invite you to slow down a bit to truly live each moment with your family. This time is precious and I feel very blessed to have learned it in time. If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of things you need to accomplish in one day, my suggestion is to truly take time to prioritize what is important to you. Perhaps by imagining if this was the end of your life what would you want to do more of, who would you want to spend it with and how?

Make an intention to spend quality time with your family. Put down the phones and tablets and really be present with each important person in your life. Look into their precious eyes and listen to them. Play a game, read a book together, and do any activity that you both love.This will actually reduce the feeling of stress for the entire family.

Children pick up our stress. When you are running ragged it will inform their behavior. Very often a vicious cycle of acting out will occur between you. When you begin to feel stressed or anxious try taking a long deep breath, pause, and return home to your true self. I often recommend applying a drop of soothing essential oil blend to your palms and deeply inhaling. You can also do this practice with your children.

You may often feel a need for ‘Balance’ but feel it is impossible to achieve and come up with various excuses. What does “Balance” actually mean?  Balance in this context is our ability to be flexible in the face of constant change. If we struggle too much with this concept of imposing a sense of order in our life or getting organized “once and for all,” it implies the pursuit of a static state that can actually lead to distress or illness, especially when we ignore our feelings.Striving or working hard becomes counterproductive. In our fast paced, goal orientated society it is very easy to become severely out of balance, which creates the ‘stressed out’ feeling we experience.

Fortunately, there are many wonderful tools for developing balance, including meditation, physical exercise, a nurturing diet, and a restful sleep routine.

Take a few minutes in this moment to consider where you’re out of balance and how you can restore your natural equilibrium. Right now - STOP- take a deep belly breath, exhale fully and out loud say ahhhhh, feel into your body and experience what is here. Allow whatever arises to be present and just notice the information you are receiving without judging it. Breathe again.

As a mindfulness meditation teacher and healer I can assist you in learning to parent in a more relaxed way. Meditation teaches us how to navigate life with presence.Feel free to contact me if you would like to explore living with less stress and more joy. Take time today to come home to yourself.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."     ~ Lao Tzu