By Laura Reagan-Porras
Trying to facilitate the best summer for my kids and with my kids is like running the gauntlet. I was seeking the impossible, if not the improbable with minimal summer learning loss, keeping up with summer reading goals, stimulating healthy eating habits, keeping my commitment to cook at home more and eat out less, keep up with exercise, have family fun, live in the moment, take a vacation trip and stay on budget! Summer leaves me overwhelmed and spent by the time school rolls around. Then I find myself in the hunting and gathering mode with school clothes to purchase and a school supply list to negotiate, while navigating my daughter’s pre-teen hormonal swings. Finally, like crossing the finish line of a marathon, the kids are back in school.
I have been a work at home mom and a work outside the home mom and the feeling is the same. I have a sense of brief relief and then I feel an overwhelming need to recover and reflect. I realize I did the best I could and vow to do less beating up on myself and more self-care. Renewal begins by recharging my physical, emotional and spiritual batteries.
Whether you are a work at home mom or a work outside the home mom, time to yourself is a rare and precious commodity. Taking time for yourself is a necessary practice not only for your own mental health but also to be able to give your family, career and passions your best. Here are a few suggestions for your autumn renewal. Choose two or three and recharge with them, guilt free!
1. Music transports us so buy a new CD or download one to the device of your choice for a daytrip to a local or regional park. The drive to new music can rejuvenate you and will give you a fresh outlook.
2. Buy flowers, just for you, just because.
3. Go to a day spa for a massage, manicure, pedicure and skin or hair treatment.
4. Cook a brand new meal you have never cooked before to adult tastes. Invite a friend over.
5. Indulge yourself and take a nap.
6. Write down your bucket list. There is something magical about writing it down. We are more likely to actually do it some of it.
7. Go to a matinee movie all by yourself or with a friend.
8. Drive down a nice neighborhood you fantasize about living in.
9. Enjoy some silence. Our lives can be so noisy. Breathe deeply. Do some simple yoga.
10. Listen to the ocean or a babbling brook.
11. Volunteer at your charity of choice for an afternoon to get a different perspective on your own life.
12. Read a book you have put off.
13. Sit on a park bench, close your eyes and just listen.
14. Create! Write a poem or song, compose and take a photo or paint a canvas.
15. Take a long hot bath with candles lit instead of electric lighting.
16. Browse a travel magazine or book about a place you would like to visit one day.
17. Buy a magazine you enjoy, sit in your favorite spot with your favorite beverage to read it.
18. Write a gratitude list.
19. Take a walk in one of your favorite spots in town.
20. Call a friend from another town. Chat about everything and anything just because.
21. Go to a grown up movie all by yourself.
22. Enjoy a rainstorm. Play in a puddle.
23. Write a love letter.
24. Buy new crayons and draw your kids a picture for a change.
25. Plant a tree, herb garden or flower garden.
26. Go window shopping for yourself.
27. Exercise in a new way. Take a swim or try a palates class or dvd.
28. Visit a museum. Take time to consider each exhibit.
29. If you are an animal lover, visit the zoo.
30. Babysit for a mother of young children so she can take a break. You will likely leave the experience more grateful for your own kids.
Laura Reagan-Porras is a freelance writer and mother of two. She is already renewing with several activities from the list!