03 January 2017

Tired Holiday Family aka Simpler is Better

I started the holiday season out in early November with so much excitement and energy. By mid-December, while I was still excited for Christmas there was a part of me that was just ready to get to the New Year already. I think part of that was that I had not been feeling for a while and with a little anxiety was hoping that some upcoming doctor visits would help shed some light and give me a plan that would get me back to my usual self. I'm in progress on those things and the clarity I have gained has definitely helped.

I think our family overall was a little tired and ready for a break. Despite our best intents to keep Kiddo's life "unbusy" it still feels really busy with just a couple of extra curricular activities, not to mention trying to teach her a good work ethic, have her participate in chores around the house, find time for friends and rest and all those important things.

This is something I want to try to remember for future holiday seasons, you will get tired. You might get sick. When I plan in those eventualities it sure does make things easier. I mentioned in yesterday's post that thanks to getting sick and being forced to rest the week before Christmas I saw a dramatic difference in our family.

Everyone was calmer, kinder, spoke more gently, had more patience and was just mellowed out. That made me realize that we had been operating with a lot of stress, were tired and cranky. And it helped me realize that life doesn't have to be that way. Overall we need more rest, more quiet time, more relaxing activities, simple, healthy meals and much more sleep.

These are things I am really going to monitor more often. When I was growing up, a couple of times a year my sisters, my mom and I, would do a shopping day together. Invariable about 3 p.m. people would start falling apart, getting cranky and very low energy. I realized one day that if we got a little treat and took some downtime for 30 minutes we were all fine shortly thereafter and able to continue on with our day and get home without any stress.

I try to remember this small but helpful lesson on family outings now and especially in the afternoons after school or when we are working on challenging projects. Rest and refreshment go a long way to minimize anxiety and exhaustion. I want to make sure we're using our downtime on activities that actually rest and revive the soul, rather than just allow us to numb out. I have found that screen time does not quiet or relax or refresh the soul. It's just more noise most of the time. Stillness is stillness. Going outside, sitting in a soft seat surrounded by quiet or peaceful music, having in-person conversations,  accomplishing a small task, these kinds of activities restore the soul.

I'm glad we had that week of sickness to help me see how I could help my family and our home life with more stillness and rest. I'll definitely carry that lesson forward with me and when things get tired and tense I'll remember there are solutions and that life doesn't have to feel so chaotic.

How were your holidays and did you learn anything about your family that you'll carry forward with you into the new year? I bet you did.

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