How does your family tackle transitions?

Jan Kwiatkowski, LMFT, is a psychotherapist and mental health consultant for Aurora Family Service in Milwaukee, WI.

It’s August, specifically, the middle of August and I feel kind of sad writing the word “August”.

With the exception of mosquitoes, I love everything about summer. I love the somewhat looser schedules, being able to do almost anything outside, wearing sandals, the intense colors of grasses, flowers and trees, and the long hours of daylight.

Letting go of summer is always a bittersweet time for me. With the end of State Fair and back-to-school ads everywhere, there is no denying we are getting very close to fall. I don’t know about you, but self-care seems somehow easier for me in summer.

Running or swimming outside is more fun for me. Hearing the birds and crickets, feeling the heat or the wind more intensely makes it easier to remember my connection with the environment. The number of people that are out and about at all times of the day gives me more opportunity to interact with human beings.

Transitioning to the more structured (and sometimes more isolating) work, school and family schedules somehow seems to make self-care time vanish alongside the fast fading summer. Getting our children off to a good start for the school year, under the best of circumstances can be tough.

There is so much to do, buy and organize for the children in our care. We forget parents, grandparents, teachers and all who are involved in the lives of infants, children and teens need nurturing and support, too.

We know we should take care of ourselves, but for all kinds of really good reasons, we adults, let that self-care slip. So, I am wondering what you do or would like to try to do to take care of yourself as we transition into the upcoming school year. Some ideas:

  1. Every time you go through a door—take 5 deep breaths to re-center yourself as you move to the next activity.
  2. Set an alarm on your phone for several times during the day. When it goes off, if possible, get up and walk around or drink a glass of water.
  3. Turn off the news and listen to soothing music at home, the office or the car.
  4. During a “boring” meeting, write a prayer, affirmation or inspirational quote over and over, rather than being frustrated.
  5. Once a week, eat slowly and mindfully. It can be a simple as closing the door, taking out your protein bar and chewing each small bite slowly paying attention to texture, flavors and the feel of chewing and swallowing.

I will look forward to hearing your ideas…what’s worked, what you might try.

I am going to try to soak in every possible moment of the luxurious sensations of summer.

Aurora Family Service helps families overcome challenges, changes and crisis to live well again. We achieve stability and strength for families through counseling, parenting, elder care, financial, career, health and community services.  For more information, visit our website, follow us onFacebook, or call 1-414-342-4560.

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