It’s mid-August which means it’s the median back to school time for so many. A lot of my friends start back today and the buzz of energy it is creating is palpable. Even though we’ve been rolling with lessons for third and first grade for six weeks now, I’m looking forward to the renewed vigor of a collective back to school movement. Still, I know school looks different for so many of us this year. Whether you’re homeschooling, virtual learning, going in-person, or a hybrid of it all, tensions are high (and I’m cheering for you!).
Pair that with kid activity decisions, a pandemic, political discord, and life’s usual twists and turns, and you’ve got a recipe for some increased stress. At least I’ve felt it. In fact, for a couple weeks I feel like I’ve let it build and jerk me around quite a bit. I only really noticed it when I was talking to a friend the other day and basically started crying mid-conversation. Dealing with our housing situation was about to push me over the edge.
So last week I finally decided I needed to create calm in my world. I decided switch my mental focus from things I can’t control to things I can control. Simple, right? It sounds that way but sometimes when things get to be overwhelming it takes a concerted effort to get myself back on track. Here’s what that process has looked like over the past few days…
Create quiet. For me, this looks like getting off social media and not reading the news. Basically, taking my phone out of my hands. Like most people I’d guess, I have a love/hate relationship with connectivity of today’s world. It’s an incredible opportunity for connection and quick information, but if mishandled, it’s a breeding ground for anxiety. I am on team “zero notification bubbles” so physically removing my phone from my presence is key to success. That may mean I don’t respond immediately to a text or miss a tag on Insta stories, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Find a reason to celebrate and spend time with people that fill my cup. Back to school season looks different this year, but it’s still an occasion worth marking. I’m grateful for a group of good friends that put together a small park gathering for our kids, complete with first day of school picture set up. The girls and I took a 30 minute trip to get a fancy milkshake (Mason’s Sweet Shoppe in Union Grove for local is totally worth the drive). We hung our with our quarantine besties at their pool, drank a good beer, played name that tune to the best rap music of yesteryear (Chingy, anyone?!), and stayed up way too late. Community and connection are so important right now and finding a way to make that work in today’s environment has been incredibly important to me.
It’s amazing how where you put your focus can change everything. Have you seen this story that has gone viral? It speaks to me…
Organize, tend to, or fix something. Many moons ago, David and I used to be Saturday house project junkies. We always had something we were working on or fixing. That fell by the wayside with kids and soccer, but we brought it back this weekend and were fueled by the high that comes with checking home projects off the list. The tasks were small (new light bulbs, fixed wiring, new door handles, cleaning out cabinets, etc), but it got the ball rolling and I foresee more project days ahead of us.
In the same vein, I helped set the girls up with a pillow sewing project, organized school materials, meal planned, and got through all the laundry. Isn’t it amazing how a day of organization and getting things in order can do wonders for your mental state?
Move my body, then rest. The working out part I’ve been pretty consistent with, as David and I still do Madeline’s workouts five days a week and usually workout a sixth day as well. We are currently a little bit hooked on the endorphin high from exercise (and our pre-workout drink, too). However, I haven’t been great at the rest part. I’m one of those people that can always think of something that needs to be done, and often opts to do that over just relaxing. Saturday afternoon though, I pumped the breaks. I took a nap on the couch and it was glorious. The best part? Kaitlyn started off cuddling with me, then ended up passing out herself. I can not tell you the last time one of my girls has slept on me and it was seriously the highlight of my month and encouragement to remember to just chillout and take a nap every once in a while.
One last highlight from the weekend that totally falls under the “take a load off category” — movie night! We’ve been working our way through this list of 31 movies to introduce to your kids and decided on watching the original Parent Trap movie. We set up the TV trays and all and I felt transported back to my childhood for the evening. Why are old movies just the best?!
So that’s the latest from my neck of the woods. I’m starting this week feeling more grounded than I have in a while and it feels good. In a hectic world it’s easy to feel out of control, but a deep breathe and a few boundaries sure helps me refocus on what is important and let go of the rest.
What helps your create a feeling of calm in your world when life gets too crazy?