With the first couple of weeks of school under our belts we have dipped our toes back into the waters of working through the ebb and flow and potential tricky situations of sending a piece of our hearts back out into the world without us.
Our children are out there going to school, interacting with peers and school staff, they are having new experiences and different days.
Social Media Picture Perfect
If you have social media your feeds have been full of smiling back to school photos, chalk boards with future dreams scribed on them and many reports of great days and happiness at new beginnings. That is the experience of many and certainly reflected in posts and comments as we scroll.
Some of us feel a bit raw after these weeks of photos and descriptions of busy extra-curricular activities and some of us are just plain exhausted after tiptoeing our way through the dance of trying to readapt to the rigorous pace of life in the fall.
It can be a tricky dance, particularly if you happen to have one or more children who aren’t experiencing the new routines in a positive and exciting way.
Whatever your experience is this autumn, one thing that we all have in common is that there is an unspoken mental load carried by primary caregivers at this time.
Schedules to remember, incoming phone calls and requests for meetings, providing emotional and practical support to our children as they adjust to the newness of the school year.
All this while likely trying to work and manage the demands of running a home.
I’d like to invite you to take a moment and acknowledge that it’s a lot and it’s ok to feel the heaviness of that load.
Now that we’ve acknowledged it, let’s spend a bit of time thinking about some easy things we can do each day to try to make the load feel a bit lighter and allow us to remain truly connected to our kiddos.
Managing the Dance
There are some great, easy to implement strategies that can help lessen the impact of this load and help us be resilient as we move through our days:
- The first thing I’m reminding myself to do daily is to DRINK WATER! We are so much better able to function at peak capacity if we’re hydrated. One of my favourite ways to get myself to drink more water is to add lemon to it or to drink non-caffeinated fruit tea.
- Take the time to relax your shoulders, unclench your jaw and take some really deep breaths.
- If you work at a computer, remember to look away from your computer screen for about 20 seconds every 20 minutes.
- If you spend long periods of time on your feet remember to stretch and change positions frequently.
- Practicing gratitude as a family is an excellent way to stay connected and keep the lines of communication open. One easy way to practice gratitude is to take the time to share the best part of your day. It can look a bit different for everyone but my family usually has the chance to share this in the van after school pick up or with my oldest, on the way home from his after school job. After the children have vented any frustration they experienced during the day I simply ask them what the best part of their day so far has been and if they’re struggling a bit to come up with something I share first. In taking the time to allow for sharing of the positives it can be easier to talk about difficult things as they arise.
- Try having one spot in your house that can act as a communication centre so that everyone knows where to go to see messages from each other, where to leave forms that need to be signed, perhaps leave any chore lists that need completing and any other communication that will help things run as smoothly as possible. It doesn’t have to be fancy or big, just a designated spot for communicating. It can take some time to get used to it but can be very helpful in the long run.
- Now this one is a doozy…. Try to give yourself permission to do one thing just for you each day, it can be small or big, it can be the same everyday or different, it can be whatever you need and want it to be. I make sure I spend time outside for a little while each day, without my children chattering at me so I can breathe, reset and get on with what needs to be tackled next. Sometimes I hike, go for a walk alone or with a friend or just spend some time outdoors with my dogs.
Above all else allow yourself some grace and allow your children some grace as you all readjust to autumn routines. Sending out lots of peaceful, calm vibes from my little chaos zone to yours!