I know summer is supposed to be about savoring the slow, but doing less and slowing down is not what the Universe has in store for me this summer.
That’s right, yet again we are about to embark on an international adventure as a family.. An adventure which involves a lot to do.
And of course, when you have 1,000 things to do it is often difficult to STOP, BREATHE and CONNECT with your kiddos.
Even the slowdown time – bedtime – can feel like a box that you just need to tick so that you can move back onto your “to do” list.
My personal adventure involves moving our family from one country to another.
Right now I find myself in the thick of managing an international move for 5 plus the end of the school year plus setting up the biz for the summer months.
And whether or not your summer involves something quite so drastic, or a more minor transition, in between visiting family, going on a road trip, a camping trip or restructuring life around camp, it is likely that your summer does bring along with it one kind of transition or another.
In light of this (and for the obvious selfish reasons) I’ve dug deeply into my toolkit over the past few weeks in search of some excellent strategies to support me to STOP, BREATHE and CONNECT with my littles and with myself during this crazy time…a time characterized by ever-mounting stuff whipping around in my head, distracting me “to do” more and to connect less.
Here they are…my top 3 tips to finding ways to stay sane and keep the family healthy while in the middle of a big transition.
Tip # 1. Up the self-care ante.
When things get crazy busy, the first thing we let go of is self-care. Be aware of this tendency, Mama, and stop yourself in your tracks because NOW IS THE TIME to up the ante with self-care.
Why now? Because you need to be strong strong strong to hold this family together right now, that’s why.
You need to be emotionally stable to keep grounded when your littles are struggling with the changes.
You need to be physically strong to do everything that needs doing without falling ill
And of course, you need to be mentally fit to have the clarity and focus to prioritize and well, basically manage all the moving parts.
Besides, it makes you a healthier, kinder and happier person. Yes, even if the face of life altering transitions!
When I learned that we had to move, I set my model calendar up in a way that prioritized my self-care in a flexible way. I knew I’d need hyper-flexibility so I created two swimming windows where I imagine myself going with the flow through life; I set up personal appointments with my Physical Therapist in advance to ensure my alignment and core strength is happening; and I block off some morning meditation and yoga time to basically stay sane.
I go for rather spontaneous evening walks or porch meet-ups with my lovely girl friends at least once weekly to keep the soul alive and the girl love fresh. And my delicious essential oils are lifting me up and calming me down on an as need basis. (Peppermint and lemon to lift me up, and the delicious Balance blend to help me stay calm!)
Is this more self-lovin’ than usual?
It is. But that’s ok, because I need it all so desperately and I know that it’s my job to love myself right now.Hold yourself softly, Mama. Others will learn to do the same.Click To Tweet
Tip # 2. Keep it simple sweetheart (K.I.S.S.)
During a big life change it is easy for everyone to build up walls around themselves in order to protect themselves for the difficult feelings that come up. Busyness is my wall of choice.
I create work for myself where it isn’t 100% necessary…
So that ultimately I find myself prioritizing sorting out the garage over taking my kids to the neighborhood pool (for what could be the last time before we leave!)
This time around, I have committed to the KISS mantra to help me stay focused on what is most important – our precious moments together and with friends. If there is time or drive to sort stuff out, I’ll do it (and yes, it’s on the list) but I’m coming around (work in progress) to the idea of not wrapping up the material move with a nice red bow.
It’ll work out just fine. (another great mantra!)
Tip #3. Stay connected
Staying connected during times of transitions is super difficult because emotions are flying. And, for the most part, we are not all that good at dealing with flying emotions when our own are on edge.
There are some super ways for you to integrate quick and easy moments of connection with your littles. But before you do that, I want to suggest the BIG FEELINGS MEETING…
That’s right, bring everyone together, tell them what’s going on and talk feelings. Here’s what it looked like at my house.
We gathered and announced that we were moving. Different kids had different reactions – some more muddled and mixed than others. We spoke then we watched and listened. And then we said to them all: “Listen, we know this will be difficult.
There will be many feelings going on and they may not always feel comfortable or like they are making sense. Goodbyes and new starts are super hard, and you may feel tired of moving. We want you to know that we wouldn’t have made this decision if we didn’t know that you could handle it, AND if we didn’t believe that it will be an amazing life experience for you.”
And then we watched and listened and acknowledged and hugged again. And we repeat this in mini-moments now regularly.
Dinner time meetings.
We use our time at the dinner table to update everyone on how we are feeling and what’s going on. Things are changing quickly at the moment and new things are happening. The in-laws are in town to lend a hand; the workmen are bringing the house up to code for the new tenants; Mom and Dad will be leaving for a pre-assignment visit; school is ending. There are good bye parties, birthday parties, house showings, etc…
And in order to feel safe, the littles need to go what’s going on
I know the ideal bedtime routine sprawls itself over one hour and involves Special Time and a few chapters read, but over the course of these especially busy weeks, with three kids, I can’t always do that.
So here’s what I do instead: I make them into a pizza or a burrito so we get some giggles and touch in there. Then we talk for a bit (or they read) while I rub legs with sandalwood oil and their little feet with lavender (super calming) or frankincense (emotionally balancing). I do a little emotional check-in and give them a hug.
And if I don’t get to every kid every day, I forgive myself. And sometimes I’ll cuddle up with them early the next morning.
I’d love to hear about what you use to keep yourself sane over the transitions that summer brings, Mama. Please hop over to my Stress Less | Love More Facebook Group and share your comments and insights.