What are we working so hard for anyway?
Correct me if I’m wrong, but, isn’t getting more family downtime why we work so hard the rest of the year? It’s what we look forward to when we’re caught up in all those daily details and deadlines, right?
Stop the BUSY cycle
So, why is it so hard to turn off our thoughts and worries when we finally get a break from routine? Well, it turns out that unless we consciously choose to find ways to stop the cycle of being busy, our brains will just continue to whir and buzz right through that family downtime. Consequently, leaving us feeling dissatisfied and ripped off when we have to head back to our normal schedules.
Tips on getting more out of your family downtime
Organization is not a four letter word:
First of all, just like Santa, you need to make a list and check it twice. In fact, make lots of lists and delegate things for others to check off of it too. Take time to figure out what really needs to get done (and when) and what could be dropped. Take shortcuts. Most importantly, do that one thing you’ve been putting off or dreading doing and get that sucker done. It’s worth realizing that nothing frees up your head and heart like checking off a task that has been weighing on you too long.
Just say NO:
Really, you can totally find things to say no to if you try. Ask yourself if the task or job is really necessary or just routine? What could you get done if you eliminated…(fill in the blank). After all, pressure to please can be so overwhelming. However, remind yourself to balance others requests for your time against whether or not it would mean sacrificing quality family downtime.
Take tech breaks:
Yep, this means you too. Now, we know it’s easier to tell the kids to put their screens away, then it is to follow our own advice. But, we also know the time vortex a quick social media feed check can become. Therefore, try to designate a whole day as a “screen free” day and see how it goes. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Well, you might miss a few fake news reports and potentially gain new insights into what bored kids can do with cardboard and rolls of duct tape.
Step one, move your body. Preferably not in a mall. Step two, drag someone (or a few someones) with you and get outside. Because, exercise is a magical cure for dull, foggy brains and lazy bones. Be aware though, being active during family downtime can sometimes lead to fits of giggling, spastic dancing and occasionally greater emotional connections with loved ones.
R.E.S.T: Love a good acronym? Awesome.
- Relax: Have a beverage, put on some tunes and chill. Laugh.
- Eat: Take time to savor those seasonal flavors. Hoard the good chocolates or share them with loved ones.
- Sleep: Late morning snuggles. Afternoon naps on couches. Post dinner power snoozes. Early nights with books. Definitely, find time to embrace a little slumber.
- Talk: Share stories and swap tails of the good ol’ days. Family downtime should be filled with moments where we take the time to open up and chat about topics big and small.
In the end, all you really need to do is ask yourself: What do I want out of this family downtime? Then take the steps necessary to make it happen.