I have had a full schedule this winter, teaching enrichment classes at two homeschool co-ops, tutoring several children with special needs, publishing this newsletter, babysitting, working a part-time job and homeschooling, chauffeuring, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and being a mom to my two daughters. It has kept me busy, but it has been satisfying. I have learned that I cannot let things become overwhelming. It took me a number of years and several burnouts to figure out how to handle this workload.
I have learned that I need to take time to breathe, every day. Not the routine breathing that everyone does around the clock, but the deep, relaxing, oxygen-loaded breathing that refreshes me. When I feel overwhelmed, I stop and take a deep breath, slowly in and slowly out. I do this in the morning before I start my day, several times during the day, if I feel tense, and again, at bedtime.
Another technique, that I use, is changing my perspective. I try to look at the challenge or situation that I am facing from a totally different point of view.
I babysit on Monday mornings, with my 10 year old daughter. We watch a group of about twenty children, ages 2 and 3 years, for a local mothers group. Two- and three-year-olds can be very high energy and highly emotional. At times, I feel worn out by all of the running, yelling, temper tantrums, etc. That's when I try to change my perspective. I look at the faces, and into the eyes, of those little ones, and I can see how precious and innocent they are, as they learn and explore and grow. I have an opportunity to teach them to share, even if it is reluctantly. I can see their eyes light up, as they bring me the Cinderella story to be read for what seems like the thousandth time. I see all that energy and think how amazing it is that they can go and go and make the Energizer Bunny look like a lazy slug!
One of the most valuable tools, I use, is a sense of humor. That is one of the greatest gifts that I received from my late parents... laughter. My mother always told me not to take things too seriously. And my dad could always be counted on to tell several jokes a day, every day.
When I'm really tired, I spend time playing games with my daughters. Most of the time, something will happen, during the course of a game, that causes one of us to giggle, and before long, we're nearly falling off our chairs with laughter. That really revitalizes my spirit.
Last, but certainly not least, I am refreshed and renewed by spending time with friends, whether it is in person, on the phone, via e-mail, or just in my thoughts. Friends are wonderful tonic! Thank you to all my friends! You make every day special and refreshing!
"Smile, breathe and go slowly." ~Thich Nhat Hanh
"In everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit." ~Albert Schweitzer
"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." ~Mark Twain