It is beginning to feel like Spring. We may be a couple weeks away from the official start of spring, but the signs are all around us. The days are starting to get a little warmer, trees and flowers are starting to bloom. Many of us just sprang forward with our clocks so the sun will stay out longer each day. In our house the start of Spring also signals the start of a couple event-filled months. Spring baseball and softball keep us busy with practices and games multiple nights a week. The school year enters its final quarter and it’s a race to complete projects, concerts and various other school activities. Even at the office, new projects seem to be appearing with tight deadlines and high expectations.
In short, Spring signals action and it’s about to get really busy.
Just thinking about the things that are about to happen makes my heart quicken and my shoulders tense. Busy schedules often lead to feeling of overwhelm and can trigger feelings of anxiety. Have you ever looked at your schedule for the upcoming day and anticipated how exhausted you’re going to feel at the end of the day? You end up stressed out before the day even begins.
Imagine a pot of water on the stove. Cold water will take longer to boil than warmer water. Similarly, if your internal “temperature” (aka stress, anxiety, overwhelm) is already warm to start the day, will only take a couple triggers to hit your boiling point (or freak out mode). If you can start the day cool and calm those stressors will have a lower overall impact.
I’m sure you’re thinking that analogy is easy to talk about now, but how am I supposed to stay calm when my day is crazy busy, and it feels like I can’t possibly fit in one more thing? Many parenting experts talk about the importance of self-care - which instantly conjures up images of massages and pedicures and other delightful things busy parents don’t have time for. However, I’m here to tell you self-care is so much more than that and is at the core of surviving busy days. Self-care can be going for a walk or taking a few quiet minutes for yourself between meetings. Self-care is taking a moment to step away from the schedule that is ruling your day and take a couple deep breaths. Self-care can also be drinking your coffee, singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs, eating an apple, reading a chapter of a book, sending a text to a friend, exercising or doodling a picture. Self-care an opportunity to reset, to dial back the temperature of your internal pot of water and reduce the likelihood of reaching your boiling point.
Self-care is great when you are in the thick of it, but do you ever stop to think how you got so busy in the first place? For many of us, it’s easy to say yes to things. Sometimes we say yes out of obligation and sometimes we say yes because we feel bad saying no, either way, it’s a fast way for our schedules to fill up in the blink of an eye. What we don’t often consider is with each yes, we are also saying no to everything else that conflicts with that yes. Logically we are aware of this trade-off, but rarely do we call it out in this way. When we are overscheduled, we miss out on the spontaneity a Spring day can bring.
There is a feeling of new energy and liveliness this time of year. We naturally feel the buzz in all aspects of our lives and with a little extra self-care and carefully choosing what we say yes to, we can truly enjoy this beautiful season.
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I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.