Back to School“Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you HAD.” Shared by Inspiring and Positive Quotes on Facebook

Wow! I was about to write this post when I came across the quote above. It’s so perfect.

It essentially captures the concept of experiencing each moment and valuing it for what it is, not for what it could be, should be, or isn’t living up to. It’s about living in appreciation.

I read a lot during the day. Sadly, I’ve noticed the many comments from parents saying: “Vacation begins” (referring to the first day of school), or “Is summer vacation over yet?” “Counting down the days until school starts.” Things like that.

These remarks—even in jest—cause my heart to freeze. Imagine what merely thinking like that does to our kids?

I’ve got my own kids, so I KNOW the challenges of having all the kids home with loads of unstructured time. Still…what messages are we sending out to the Universe with those derogatory comments? And what can we do about it?

Then I realized that if a mom or dad really feels that way, it means that they are not refilling their own cups fast enough. In other words, if you are in giving/doing mode without setting aside time to refuel yourself, you will soon feel depleted. It’s a sure thing.

This applies to all areas of life when you don’t take time to recharge, not just parenting. It includes working too hard, being on the go all the time, and overextending yourself.

It means that it’s time to step back, take a deep breath, and reconnect with yourself. Make sure you take a half hour or more daily just for yourself to do something that gives YOU pleasure.

This is NOT SELFISH in any way. This is putting on YOUR oxygen mask first so that you can help others put on theirs! If you’re not breathing, you can bet no one else is either.

Here are some quick and cost-effective ways to revitalize without needing to take the dream vacation to a deserted island.

  1. Go for a walk outside in nature—somewhere beautiful. Look around; breathe in deeply; notice the smells, sights, sounds, and feelings of the trees, grass, flowers, sky.  Take off your shoes and sense every blade of grass under your bare feet. You belong to this blissful moment. And you are NOT thinking about what to make for dinner. (BIG no-no!)
  2. Meet with friends. There is nothing quite like a bonding session with good gal or guy pals. Nothing. (Ladies, you know who I’m talking about!)
  3. Get a massage—even if it’s a quick chair massage, or add on massage time to your pedicure. Instant relief! Last time I got a 15 minute chair massage, the massage therapist kept asking me if I wanted more time (I didn’t), and then gave me concerned looks as I left. That’s how much I needed that chair time! I was carrying rocks on my back when I came in, but left them at the salon before I left.
  4. Listen to music, dance, sing, put your hands up in the air, talk with weird accents or in a made up language. I do this. Don’t worry about it. Give it a try.
  5. Exercise of any kind—but if it’s too intense and you’re always doing intense activities, pick something slow-moving and relaxing like yoga, qigong, or meditation. If you’re generally lethargic, start jumping! Seriously. It does good things for you. Here’s how.
  6. Climb a mountain. Or watch someone else climb. The challenge is totally inspiring and distracting. Embrace the metaphor of rising to the top after great hardship. Shoot for the summit. Watch Everest with Liam Neeson as the narrator. It’s amazing! Think of the nuns in The Sound of Music chiming in with “Climb every mountain!”
  7. Do something of service without expecting a thank you. There’s just something indescribably feel-good about random acts of kindness! Smile at someone you don’t know and watch their faces beam. Compliment someone sincerely.  Put away shopping carts that block parking spots (is this just a pet peeve of mine?) Make a donation on Kiva like the gorgeous Sofie shared on her lovely blog Practically Pure. Pick up trash (that’s not too gross) and throw it out. I do these. They work wonders, even when I’m the one patting myself on my own back (slightly awkward physical position but totally doable.)
  8. Live, love, laugh. Stop taking everything so seriously. Go to a comedy club or watch a funny YouTube video. Anything dumb, mindless, and free is fair game.
  9. Find something you used to love doing when you were a child, then do it. Ride a bike. Skip. Play a game like Perfection and scream when the pieces pop up. Wear your mother’s heels. Dress up in a tutu. (Ha! Made you smile—especially if you’re a guy!)
  10. Immerse in water. In English lit. (my undergraduate major was English/Communications), water represents procreation, rebirth, and life-giving energy—just what the doctor ordered! Swim. Take a bath. Run through sprinklers. Pour a bucket over your head.
  11. When all else fails, take a nap.

Ultimately it’s important to get in touch with YOUR ways of giving yourself pleasure—then make sure to do them!

Not only will you thank yourself for this time, your family will too. Suddenly, you won’t be wishing for vacation to end so soon. You’ll be grateful for the time to begin with.


Much Love to You

[I’d like to credit the wonderful Lisa Fabrega for helping me recognize the vital importance of scheduling time for pleasure and who teaches others how to live life lusciously and fully alive.]

Anita Moorjani quote

Photo Credits

  3. Anita Moorjani via Facebook
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