Summer

July 13, 2016

Happy July, my friends! I hope you are thoroughly enjoying your summer.  Traveling, spending time with family and friends – the best of summer, indeed.

 

But summer can also mean some pretty frenzied days. Can I tell you, we are just barely approaching the middle of summer and I have done 4 road trips, two plane trips and royally screwed a third (which I will say I miraculously saved, thank you very much!).  That paired with work, kids, hubby, family, friends…well, I gotta say that I should be about ready to pull my hair out. 

 

But you know what, I’m not.  I really am not! I have crisscrossed the state (and the country for that matter), and have been pulled in a multitude of directions, yet I sit here energized and ready for the rest of the summer.  It’s really crazy!

 

So, I know that about 99.9% of you are cursing me.  But I tell you, in the midst of the chaos, finding peace is doable. I promise. It doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted at the end of the day.  It just means I’m not fried. I’m not completely spent and unable to do one more thing without freaking out.   And it boils down to a few things:  managing expectations, time management, and scheduled down time.

 

Now stay with me – I know it is easier said than done.  But let’s just take one thing at a time. 

 

First, let’s talk about managing expectations.  Yes - what you expect this season to be and what your family, work, etc. expect.  You have to begin with the knowledge that summer doesn’t have to be perfect.  You don’t have to travel to every beach, schedule a million play dates or create your own version of summer camp or VBS at your house to have successful summer.  Your only responsibility is to love your family, spend time with them and do your work well.  All the rest is gravy.  You aren’t a failure if you kids tell you they are bored or if you don’t make it to the beach more than once this summer (or at all).   In fact, downtime for your kids is important and teaches them to be self-sufficient and creatively come up with ideas to pass the time.  The school year has so many requirements – summer is a gift of taking time out. 

 

Now, time management isn’t all about keeping a day planner and writing everything down for every minute of the day if that isn’t you.  But what it IS is understanding where your time is going each day.  So that may take a little work, but it is worth it.  Some questions to ask yourself:

 

  • What are your sleep habits? Wake up and go to bed times?

  • How much time do you spend driving each day?

  • If you work outside the home, how much time to spend working vs. socializing (a HUGE time killer is the “water cooler” chat)

  • If you work from home or stay at home with your kids, do you have a regular schedule that you stick to or are you flying blind?

 

For as much as you may feel that a scheduled day means you are being controlled, it is more about being in control.  You can see where your holes in your day are as you review your daily schedule and where you might be losing time. 

 

Scheduling down time is probably the hardest tip to embrace if you are anything like me.  I am prone to running around from morning to night, always with something that has to get done.  But you actually make a greater impact on your work and family if you schedule time to restore. Just like when your car needs gas, you have to turn off your engine to refuel.  If you don’t, your car blows up.  Just like you.  Scheduling time to just sit and relax each day, and maybe even a few times a day, replenishes your emotional and physical resources so you can be ready for those stressful situations and frenetic schedules without snapping like a twig.

 

Scheduled down time allows you to just be and release the stress of the day.  In the midst of stressful situations, take note of your body – are you holding your breath or breathing shallowly?  Is your heart rate a little high? In the middle of those stressful moments, breathing can cut your long-term stress impact significantly.  Take 5-10 really deep breaths.  Make sure your belly sticks way out as you fill your lungs (holding in your tummy doesn’t allow you to get a really full, cleansing breath).  You will be amazed at how much more relaxed and in control you feel just by taking some deep breaths. 

 

So, if this all sounds easier said than done, I get it.  It is a practice that takes time. But if you want some help, I am here for you.

 

I am hosting a free 90-minute workshop on Wednesday, July 27th.  You have two options: 10-11:30 am or 6:30-8pm.  This will be a time where I will share tools and resources that you can use to get yourself back in balance.  For more info, please email me at natalie@barnhillcounseling.com .  I can’t wait to see you!!

 

Much love and blessings,

 

Natalie

 

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