What should I do with the last weekends of summer? Rest? Relax? Play?
Well, if you’re like me, you may be tempted to sit down with the calendar and piles of paper and emails and frenziedly plan for the fall. This time of year is packed and gets more packed by the day! (Can I run screaming now?)
How can we take our wellness into account when we head into planning mode?
- Let’s be realistic about our abilities. There are only 24 hours in a day and we do actually need to sleep during some of them. Are we in a recovery period from illness, degenerative disease, mourning, moving, changing jobs or school, birth of a child, etc.? Any of these require time in themselves. If we have more than one, it requires more time. What kind of time? Time to process. Time to live. Time to think. Time to feel. These things generally don’t happen while running from one activity to another. Be sure to allow plenty of time to recover! Remember that others in your family also need time to recover.
- If we consider our energy level figuratively in terms of adrenal dollars, we can say that each day we start out with $100 to spend. As above, if we are recovering (or need to recover), we may start out each day paying a debt – let’s just say we start out with an interest payment of $20. Now, how are we going to spend the rest of the $80? Are we going to spend impulsively? Are we going to have spending leaks? Are we going to go into greater debt? Are we going to borrow from the future with adrenal stimulation (e.g. caffeine, high stress movies, video games, or even stressful thoughts)? Or, are we going to make a payment toward principal and endeavor to build and support our health? And, are we going to thoughtfully invest our adrenal dollars in what is most important to us?
- We need to take the time to recognize what is most important. Have you ever seen the illustration by Stephen Covey in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People about Big Rocks? Basically, each of the things we spend time on is a rock. The important things are big rocks and the unimportant pebbles. We need to fit our rocks into a jar representing our time. If we just react to the many things that happen during our day, we are probably filling our jars with little pebbles, leaving no room for our big rocks. So, we need to place our big rocks in the jar first and then, if there’s time left, fill in with some pebbles. My big rocks are my husband, kids, health, family – oh yeah and prayer! I need to recommit to placing them in my schedule first!
Here’s a fun quote: “Schedule the Big Rocks, don’t sort gravel!” http://www.franklincovey.com/tc/publicworkshops/productivity-workshops/the-5-choices-essentials-1-day A concise list of choices to help find the most important. (Not necessarily recommending the workshop – just liked the list.)
Here’s a blog about how life is not about fitting the most rocks (of whatever size) into your jar! http://www.lifeofasteward.com/coveys-big-rocks-illustration-is-wrong/ (I’m not familiar with this author, so have no idea what the rest of the content is like.)
- Basically, we need to keep our ultimate goals in mind. I endeavor to ask myself when I’m scheduling anything, “Does this help us as a family to meet our goals?” We have goals and needs for the family as a whole and then individual goals and needs for each member. An example that comes to mind for our family is sports. We have a couple of boys who would enjoy sports (we have a couple who wouldn’t). So, we have to ask ourselves, “Does joining this sport meet our goals?” For the boy, yes it would be fun and help him exercise more. For the family, no, it means we’ll be running around two nights a week and most Saturdays for 2 months. As a family, we can’t handle that right now. Are there other ways for our boy to have fun and exercise that we can handle? This may feel like we’re depriving our son of opportunities. However, no matter what we choose, we are depriving him of other opportunities. We can’t do everything!
- Since we can’t do everything, but often try, we need to schedule rest. If it helps you, think of resting as something you’re doing – then there’s less guilt. “What are you doing?” “I’m resting.” A friend of ours said that when she felt the need to rest, she would start a load of laundry and put something in the crockpot. Then, she could say that she was doing laundry and cooking dinner while she took a nap on the couch. It’s not being lazy, it’s taking care of yourself!
So, that brings me back to my original question… What should I do with the last weekends of summer? I will include time to Rest, Relax and Play!