This month, a great chunk of adults in our nation breathed a collective exhale of relief as their children headed back to school. While the summer months can be blissful, they can also bring… extra stress. Like all… that… free… time… left to fill.
But along with that relief can come some serious anxiety – what exactly are you supposed to do with yourself with all this “free” time on your hands? Sometimes it seems that everything was simpler when we were kids. When it came time to get “back to school” we knew it meant a new backpack and binder, a new lunchbox and class schedule. Maybe some new friends to add into the mix! There was an ebb and flow and, at the same time, some excitement. Parents don’t get to feel the breathless anticipating of scribbling in a new notebook or navigating the halls for the first time. That doesn’t mean you should fall back into your old patterns. Instead, this month, it’s time to get back to your (self-love) school and recommit to your intentions, your desires, and your self-care.
Ready? Let’s do this! Don’t think of this time of year as being a throwaway before the holiday rush. Instead use the start of school to double down on your commitment to self.
Step 1. Remember what you WANT.
When you are so busy taking care of others needs before your own (totally normal) it is easy to lose sight of what ignites you. How do you want to feel in your life? What state of being do you want to live in?
Jot down a legit list by saying, “I want to feel…. In my life” and fill in the blank with the desired emotion.
Take the time to actually honor this thought process. Rather than chasing quantifiable “yes” and “no” goals in your life, leave things open for interpretation; remember there are many different ways to create and embody a certain feeling in your life!
Step 2. Identify what you do that KEEPS YOU from feeling that way?
This takes some real honesty. Take a deep breath and cut yourself some slack. Now, without judgment, be real with yourself about what you currently do in your life that keeps you from feeling this specific feeling?
For example, if you say, “I want to feel… rested” then you need to think about what you do that causes you to NOT get rest at night. If you want to feel something different in your life, you have to be accountable for what you do now that doesn’t work for you. In this case, maybe you end up spending hours in bed scrolling though social media before trying to get shut eye? Maybe your workout at the end of the day and not in the morning? Maybe you haven’t taken an actual vacation (you know, NOT working 24/7) in years? Maybe you live a carb-dependent diet? Whatever it is, write it down and OWN it.
Step 3. Identify specific action items that “solve” the roadblocks you just listed.
This is where we go from theory to reality. If you love lists and checkboxes, you’ll have a blast with this! For every roadblock you’ve identified, brainstorm a few possible solutions and list them out. For example, if your statement is “I want to feel… rested” and you then identify that you are overworked, eating too many carbs, losing yourself with screen time and haven’t stepped away from the desk in years ---- make your list of action items.
... Commit to putting the phone down an hour before I go to sleep and leave it outside the bedroom.
… Research a more Mediterranean or Paleo diet; start by eliminating bread!
… Plan a mini-getaway every quarter. (Write it in your planner!)
Each one of these identified action items can be considered an act of self-love! I believe that self-love can be defined as any action, thought, process, belief, or thing you do that connects you to your highest self. That brings you closer to your desired state of being!
You can re-commit to your self-love by getting specific and actionable with these three steps. Go from “what if” to “this is what I can do RIGHT NOW” by being honest and accountable! You don’t need to sit in a classroom to be educated… Instead, be real for YOU on behalf of YOUR passion and YOUR goals and who you know your highest, most love-filled self is!
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.