School has officially started. All the prep is over. The anticipation has passed. Now what?
For some of us, it’s a time to take a breath, regroup, and refocus. After nearly three months of concentrating most of our attention on our kiddos, we can shift our priorities to that beautiful person staring back at us in the mirror.
Despite what you might initially feel, this isn’t selfish. It doesn’t mean you’re neglecting the other members of your family, it just means that you aren’t neglecting yourself, either. Focusing your attention on yourself might just be the most valuable way to fill the time-void that occurs when your little ones go back to school. If you’re not quite sure how to do that, here are a few possibilities to get you started.
Meditate – With the increasing focus on mental health, many experts around the world agree that one of the best things we can do to improve our state of mind is meditating on a regular basis. If you haven’t had much experience, it’s important to know that there is no wrong way to meditate. You don’t have to be a monk, you don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to commit hours to the practice. Start slowly and be patient with yourself. It won’t take long to start feeling the benefits.
Exercise – Just like with the practice of meditation, getting in the habit of exercising is extremely personal. Maybe it’s taking a walk around the block every day. Maybe it’s signing up for a gym membership and committing to going a couple times a week. Maybe it’s even getting the courage to step outside your comfort zone and try a new form of exercise that looks fun to you. Take a stand-up paddleboarding class, find a new hiking trail, join a yoga class. Take a chance and you might just discover a new hobby that could provide a lifetime of enjoyment.
Have FUN! – Sometimes, the best way to recharge is by simply having a good time. We so often overlook this simple concept—especially when it comes to having fun by ourselves instead of focusing on entertaining the entire family. Go to a movie you want to see. Set up lunch dates with your friends. Go window shopping at all the stores no one else in the family will venture into. Go to the beach, or the mountains, or a park. Make a list of fun activities that will put a smile on your face and check them off one-by-one. Bucket lists don’t have to be extravagant adventures, they can also be simple excursions that bring a little joy to your life. Go seek them out!
How you get in the habit of focusing on yourself isn’t important. What is important? Making the commitment and following through. There’s a reason why the airlines insist you put on your oxygen mask before helping others—because if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help take care of anyone else. Give yourself permission, and don’t feel guilty about it for a second!