Yes! Time out can be a GOOD thing…in fact, it is a necessary thing. Relaxing, resting and rejuvenating can play second fiddle in the juggle to manage multiple schedules and competing priorities, especially during relocating a family. As important as it is to set aside family time to talk and touch base, it is as important to take our space, step away and do something that recharges our batteries. We have many skills we want to teach our kids to help them get all they want out of life. The skill of withdrawing is often not top on our list but is no less important as the more obvious skills like taking turns, being polite, or supporting a friend in need.
Here is a “Top Ten” list of not-so-common ways to take time for YOU:
10. Feed your Soul – We spend hours, days, sometimes months finding enrichment opportunities for our kids to help them grow intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally. Find something that “feeds your soul” and sign up!! Commit yourself to you!!
9. The One Thing – If you’re old enough to remember the scene from the movie, City Slickers, you remember the quintessential moment where Curly, the grizzled cowboy, tells Mitch, the city slicker, that he must find that “one thing” that is most important to him. We sometimes let the “One Thing” play second fiddle to life’s worries and challenges. So, clear the path to the One Thing and find that “other” one thing that is standing in your way. What is your biggest worry or challenge? Then spend time learning how to manage it or, better yet, eliminate it. For example, if your biggest worry is sending your kids to college, read up on financial management and college savings plans. It may not feel like traditional “self care” but you will find more energy when you are spending less time stressing.
8. Get Moving – I’ll be the first to admit that when I think about taking time out for me, exercise is NOT the first thing that comes to mind. However, so much of our “feel good” feelings stem from getting those endorphins flowing and movement is a great way to do that. Have a dance party with yourself. Close the door, put in the earbuds, close the blinds if you’re more self conscious, and blast the music and just move however you want to move. Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy,” from the movie Despicable Me 2 is one that I just can’t resist!! (click here for the complete music video with lyrics…you won’t be able to sit still)
7. Make a List – Studies are showing the benefits of mindfulness- being fully present in the now. Take some time each day to make a list in the moment of what you are seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, and tasting. Practicing mindfulness helps keep us present in our lives and cultivates enjoying the moments rather than reviewing the multiple mental “to do” lists that we can juggle on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.
6. Look Outward – Giving to others is a great way to give to ourselves. Think about something you have a talent for or something you really love to do then find a way to do that for others. For example, you may love to read. You can volunteer at a children’s hospital reading to kids, or in a senior center reading to seniors. Do some research and find an organization that needs volunteers to create books on tape.
5. Write a Letter – In our Facebook- and Twitter-obsessed world, handwritten letters are a thing of the past. However, who doesn’t love to get a letter the old-fashioned way? Is there a friend or family member you’ve lost touch with lately? Get some nice paper and a really good pen. You know the kind that feels like a little piece of heaven sitting in your hand. Then, this is the important part, sit down. Get off your feet, breath, relax and write a letter. Or, you can write a letter to yourself. Write about all the things you appreciate about you, what you like about who you are today. Then on those “not so good” days, you can pull out and read it to raise your spirits.
4. Slow down so you can move faster – Sound impossible? Counterintuitive? When you slow down long enough to understand what you need, take a good look at where you are as a professional, a parent and a person and prioritize, you are in a better position to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves every day.
3. Think Progressive – Having dinner with a group of good friends doesn’t classify as a “not-so-common” way to take time out but think “progressive”- as in a progressive dinner. You can save money by either doing a potluck dinner or, even better, a progressive dinner. Choose four host homes. Each host home provides one part of the meal – appetizer, soup & salad course, main course, dessert. If you are lucky enough to have more than four friends in close proximity, have people team up so no one cooks alone. Start at the appetizer location and move, en masse, from house to house enjoying each others’ cooking talents as well as company. You might want to consider adding one rule: spotless homes are not a requirement!!!
2. Get your ZZZZZZ’s – OK, again, not an “orginal” idea but an important one nonetheless. Most parents, in fact most people (up to 80%), do not get enough sleep each night which has a more detrimental impact that we sometimes believe. (look here for some surprising facts) Sleep studies have proven that your “sleep deficit” can be made up but it takes a lot of work to get there. Make sure to prioritize sleep.
1. Make your own Top Ten – What are the Top Ten Things About YOU? Write them out. Put them where you will see them every day. It can be difficult for us to let go of judgment and do this so if you have a hard time “tooting your own horn,” ask friends and family members to tell you one thing they appreciate/like/think is your best quality. You’ll fill up that list in no time!! Breath and enjoy!
Self-care looks different for everyone because it’s essentially about what YOU do to help YOU…and no one knows how to do that better than YOU. What all self-care has in common is STARTING. So take one of these ideas or create your own, the important thing is to get it on your schedule and, like Nike, just do it!!
No parent should move without a written game plan to help your children deal with the difficulties they face when moving.
For more information about the Moving Families Initative, please visit www.movingfamiliesinitiative.com.