Ask ten random people how they are doing and I’m willing to bet that over half of them will respond “Busy.” “Busy” is the new “fine.” It’s the explanation why we haven’t called in ages, why the kids haven’t been over for playdates, why we haven’t read stacks of bedside novels, and why we’ve let our priorities slip to the side.
One of my friends (who is a teacher) described the start of summer as the beginning to an educator’s new year’s resolutions. Sure, we all need to (re)kick-start workouts, healthy eating, or connecting with friends from time to time. But, obligations never go away. There will always be bills to pay, laundry to wash, meals to cook, and work demands. Throw kids’ activities, school, sports, and pets into the mix and well…we’re busy.
I read an interesting article (can’t remember where) about Jillian Michaels (the tough Biggest Loser trainer) a while ago. She remembered thinking that clients’ reasons for not exercising and taking care of themselves (work, kids, etc) were simply lame excuses. Until she had kids. She said she looked at her calendar one day and realized between training clients, speaking engagements, and other work functions, she had two free hours in her day. And, she finally understood the dilemma: am I supposed to work out or spend time with my kids?
So, life is a balance. Not always a perfect one, but we try nonetheless. Especially now that the kids are out of school, how do we balance life, exercise, and relaxation without feeling guilty or “too busy” to enjoy our true priorities?
Try these 5 tips to bring a little balance to your summer.
1- Family meals. With summer activities, maybe sitting down to a family dinner isn’t feasible. Try a picnic lunch instead. Gather the kids, a blanket, and lunch & meet the parent who’s in the office that day at a nearby park. Even 45 minutes gives everyone a chance to eat, the kids to run around a bit, and a few minutes of catch-up time for you and your spouse.
2- Exercise. Unless your gym has a child center, maybe workouts need to change for a couple of months; think of it as summer cross-training! Involve the whole family in various activities that don’t feel like exercise: walking the dog at the forest preserve, Geocaching for the afternoon, or climb a million steps at the water park!
3- Mental Break. Best-seller or latest magazine unopened for too long? Set a “quiet time” outside to each sit alone under a tree, in a tree, or lounging in a recliner for twenty minutes of reading, drawing, or just listening to music. It’s a great opportunity for siblings to have a few minutes to recharge apart from one another too.
4- Connecting with Friends. It’s great when your friends are the parents of your kids’ friends, makes getting together a little easier. Since that isn’t always the case, plan a walk to the ice cream store & pick up your child’s friends that live along that route. End up with a ton of kids in tow? For the cost of one huge sundae, you may have created a favorite summer memory!
5-Household Chores. Even though it’s summer, there are still plenty of chores to complete. I don’t want to spend the whole day cleaning the house any more than the kids do, so I’m trying something new this summer. Every day I’m going to let them choose one of five chores, we’ll then spend 20 minutes working on our selected chores. That’s it. Between the three of us that’s an hour of housework that’s completed (besides nightly dishes & making beds). Is my house going to be immaculate? Nope. Will it ever all be clean at one time? Not a chance. But, it is instilling the importance of working together, contributing to the maintenance of our home, and helping me keep some semblance of sanity!
Even though everyone is “busy” we can still create balance, albeit wobbly, it’s still a start.
How do you find balance, especially during the summer?
Daily Green Special: Since we’re all “busy” and on the go, our Vapur Anti-Bottles are buy 2 get 1 free! Yep. Buy any 2 awesome USA made, dishwasher safe, freezable reusable water bottle and get a 3rd (equal value) free. Just write “on the go” in the checkout notes & we’ll add the free Vapur to your order. Offer valid until tomorrow’s post. Happy Thursday!
Hammock Photo credit: KatieTT / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA