And just like that, our summer comes to a close. The change of season brings a shift to our approach and pace of life against the backdrop of a continuing pandemic. The onset of fall means it’s time for your kids to return to school whether that means in-person, hybrid, or remote. Thus, for us parents, the unabating worry and juggle of life continues on. So, to my fellow moms out there, how are you holding up? How are you making sure to care for yourself? If you need some self-care suggestions, here are some tips to help you manage the parental back-to-school burnout.
1. PERMISSION. During times of stress, it is paramount that we prioritize our wellbeing so we can survive the endless challenges coming our way. It can feel selfish and hard to hit the pause button on our mom lives, but the simple act of giving yourself permission to stop and reset will make all the difference in how you feel, which will translate into how you interact with your family. The best part about self-care is that it can be anything that feels good for you. It doesn’t have to be a fancy spa trip or an at-home bubble bath. Your daily self-care moment can be as simple as five minutes of alone time to read or do nothing so long as you come out of it feeling nourished.
2. PAIR IT. To ensure you get a few minutes a day of mama love, make a habit of giving yourself a moment of self-care whenever you treat your kids to media time or cookies. Pairing the care of your kids with your own self-care means you’re guaranteed to have nourishing moments at least once daily.
3. FLEXIBILITY. We’ve all had to practice the art of letting go over the last few months, but every day we still need to remind ourselves to release the unimportant things and prioritize the essentials. Making peace with the mess of life and being flexible with what comes your way will help you maintain your sanity. So, if you have a child yanking on your shirt during a Zoom conference call or blocking your floor space mid-burpee during your streaming workout, just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are flexible, capable and everything will eventually get done…one day.
4. TAG OUT. Moms, while we’re fabulous at being low-key superheroes, conquering every task and problem that comes our way can be so draining. Your mental state is way more important than your ability to just suck it up and push through. Furthermore, you don’t need to be the only person handling and managing everything. So, I encourage you to tag out with your partner or babysitter when you feel yourself dwindling. If you don’t have someone to physically replace you to manage a situation, you can simply take a moment to duck out of the room with the help of media or toys to occupy your kids. Do whatever works for you and your family to take just a few minutes to clear your head and hit your refresh button.
5. BREATHE. As a meditation teacher, I would be remiss not to mention meditation as an excellent strategy for managing back-to-school burnout.
Meditation is a great tool because it helps:
Enhance focus and productivity
Reduce stress and anxiety
Connect to the present moment
The best part is that you can reap the benefits of meditation from the moment you start trying even if that means you begin with only a few minutes a day.
Try out this breathing technique during a quick meditation:
- Start by taking a long, slow deep breath in through your nose and without any pause, flow into a long, slow exhale out of your mouth.
- Then flow your exhale back into your inhale without any pause. This is what I like to call the “Ocean Breath” because it flows back and forth continuously like the waves going in and out of the shore. By witnessing your breath and making sure you are flowing your breaths continuously, you are focusing your mind on this single task making it difficult to think about anything that was stressing you out previously.
As we progress into these next few months and return back to school and the looming holiday crunch time, it is essential, now more than ever, to establish healthy strategies to manage our daily mama stressors. It’s okay to give yourself permission to fall back and relax every now and then in order to preserve your wellbeing. By incorporating a daily self-care routine, even for just for a few minutes each day, you will feel nourished, more relaxed, and better equipped to handle other people’s needs. If falling back is okay for our clocks, it certainly can be okay in our lives, too.