Now that summer’s here, it’s time to relax and unwind … right? Maybe not, if you’re like many parents! Summer sports, vacations, work, visiting friends or relatives … we can end up just as busy as were before. How can it already be late June, anyway?
Of course we have things that must be done, and all families have different needs and priorities. Being busy is sometimes inevitable, but sometimes we take on too much and overschedule ourselves into a no-win situation. We rush from activity to activity, multitasking or staying up late to get things finished. We don’t enjoy the time we do have “free” because we’re thinking of the endless to-do list.
We’ve discussed mindfulness before and how slowing down a bit and being “here” in the moment can help clarify things. With respect to stressful overscheduling, we can reconnect with our values to make decisions. What really matters? Does each and every activity need to happen, right now? Are there some things we could reduce, or even take a break from, just for a little while?
Delegating or asking for help is another way to reduce overscheduling. So many of us feel we “have to do it all” or have expectations that no one else can meet, so we end up taking on too much. Maybe the dishwasher won’t be filled exactly the way I wanted it to be, but if someone else handles it, that’s great! It’s challenging, but when we can begin to let go of the need for everything to be perfect or “our way”, we allow others to give, which is a gift in itself.
Are you overscheduled because you want to please everyone? We can run ourselves ragged doing for others, and end up exhausted and resentful. Again, reconnecting to your values and asking yourself what matters most will help you decide if some things on the calendar can be handled by others.
Even when you’re busy, a few minutes of deep breathing or a quick burst of some kind of exercise can help refocus and refresh you. Take time to really examine how you are spending your time, and you may find ways to carve out some wonderful relaxing hours that help you engage and enjoy all the other activities!
– Lori Warner, Ph.D., LP, BCBA-D; Director, HOPE Center at Beaumont Children’s Hospital