Nobody loves hanging with their kids more than me. Many of my friends send their kids to summer-long camps, but not me. Nope. I adore the quality time with my kiddos, sucking up each and every moment in the summer before they head off to college in a few years. Like many expats, we spend our summer bopping around our home country (the US for us), visiting friends and family, sleeping in guests rooms galore. I love it and what I most love about it? Time with my kids.
But I also love this week, the week my kids return to school. They close the door behind them as they head out to school and the house is silent. It's almost a vacation from our vacation. No quarreling teens. No stress about keeping them busy. No worry that they shouldn't be on their devices so much. Peace. Sigh.
Nope, this week is all about me. And man do I love it all - from checking out the school fairs to the AWA Fair to AAS' Welcome Back this coming weekend. What an amazing chance to reconnect with people I haven't seen for a month or more. And there are so many coffees and drinks and things to do. And of course, there are also the runs to the store for school supplies and lost uniform bits.
But all this fun can wear a girl out! I now need a vacation from my vacation's vacation.
So here are a few tips on how to take care of yourself this frenetic first few weeks.
Listen to your body
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you may need to rethink you're nutty schedule and take care of yourself first.
You have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
You are tired much of the day
You are hungrier - or less hungry - than usual
You are constipated or have diarrhea
Your thoughts race or blur, making it difficult to focus
You feel irritable or snap easily at co-workers, peers, kids or even strangers
You are more impatient than usual
You feel more nervous than usual, leading to increases in habits like biting your nails, tapping your pen or feet during meetings, or fidgeting
You find yourself drinking or smoking more than usual
You isolate or socialize significantly more or less than usual
You begin feeling less interested in your daily activities, or wonder what is the point?
Set aside ten minute a day for yourself
Do something you love for ten minutes a day. Read the news. Walk the dog. Have a quiet cup of coffee. Take a long bath. Call a friend. Make a little me time a reality.
Invest in yourself
Overwhelmed? Find a good therapist or at least talk to somebody you trust. You are worth it. Invest time in yourself whether it's financial or simply spending time on yourself.
Yea yea. We all know working out reduces stress. I'm queen of making exercise an afterthought. The key is to schedule a work out and make it just as important as any business meeting you have - because it is. Don't squeeze working out in. Rather, squeeze the rest of life around working out.
If you are lucky enough to have a helper, get her to make you healthy food and have her cook other healthy meals ahead of time for Sundays. It's really tempting when we're really worn out or busy to just eat crap, but that just makes you feel worse when you're already overwhelmed. Do your best to eat something a bit healthier and you'll feel better all around.
I'm sure you've seen all the studies about sleep and how good sleep keeps you from getting Alzheimer's, but it's hard to make yourself go to bed when you're up against a wall for a deadline at midnight. Still, try to be mindful that a good night's sleep helps you now, today, too, and not just in the future. If you're more rested, you'll far more enjoy that welcome back coffee or drinks with friends if you've given yourself permission to get a good night's sleep.
I'm crazy busy all the time and I do love seeing friends and rushing around from event to event. But now and then I stop and ask myself, "What's my hobby? What do I do for myself that brings me joy?" So my goal this coming year is to find something I can do for an hour a week that is completely selfishly fun. What will it be? I don't know, but I'm excited to find out! What is your selfish hour a week?
All that said, enjoy this busy, crazy tiime, but be sure to take care of yourself while you're at it.