Preserving the lockdown’s slower pace

This week’s newsletter just fell into my lap — “The Week” sent me a story preview that directly addresses the main issue I’ve heard from MULTIPLE moms just this past week.

What issue, you ask?

It feels like it’s happening all at once — with many COVID restrictions loosened or altogether gone recently, we’ve gone from a much more limited sense of social obligation to WHAM! — suddenly everybody you know is inviting you (or your kids) to fun events in addition to the practices, vacations, summer camps, and family gatherings we already started scheduling, trying to make up for last year’s lost opportunities.

And for many of us, that means heightened anxiety and less buffer time in our schedule to recover from stepping up the pace all of a sudden.

Before you read from this cut-and-paste of The Week’s “How to Preserve the Lockdown’s Slower Pace,” let me offer you a shortcut to figuring out your own answers: take advantage of my life-hackery expertise (that’s how one client’s husband summarizes my value, LOL) by setting a time for a free “Fair Play YOUR Way” session with me, where we’ll map out a way for you to prioritize what you need most and unapologetically say “no” to what you’re not ready for: https://fearlessly40.as.me/FairPlayFreeCall

Admittedly, some of the advice below sounds ridiculously out of touch (Like, hand-grinding coffee? Really??? Mmmmm, not for me.), but personalizing the basic principles of prioritizing, being intentional about choices, keeping “do nothing” time, and holding tight to meaningful boundaries will be an enormously valuable use of your time. (especially if you book the free call with me and we get it all done in one easy done-for-you swoop!)

Here you go!

The pandemic challenged parents everywhere, but there was a silver lining, said Anne Marie Chaker at The Wall Street Journal. The last 15 months forced a slowdown in families’ often-crazed pace as “carpools, sports, after-school activities, birthday parties, and playdates all but disappeared in 2020.” Now, as communities reopen and calendars fill with summer plans, “some parents are determined to hold on to the more-relaxed tempo.” In a recent CivicScience poll, 31 percent of families said that they plan to take part in fewer extracurriculars going forward. Megan van Riet, a mother of two teenagers, learned how stressful a crowded schedule can be. “Before, it felt like home was a pit stop on the way to something else,” she says. Now, with less running around to soccer games and chorus practices, both van Riet and her children are enjoying the simple things in life, like spending time together outdoors and even at the dining table. “I make better dinners,” van Riet says. “I saw how happy it made them. They stay and hang out.”

The chance to change mindsets isn’t just for parents, said Christine Koh at The Washington Post. All of us “now have a unique opportunity to tune in to what we care about and to be intentional about our time.” To do so, “make a list of the pros and cons of your life right now,” and refer to that list as your calendar fills up. It’s crucial to “identify and establish boundaries to help preserve the pros,” so set up reminders to pare down your schedule periodically. Add speed bumps by scheduling “do-nothing time,” and “hold tight to those boundaries.” Erin Loechner, the author of Chasing Slow, recommends being intentional about everyday tasks, taking time, for example, to use a hand grinder when you prepare your coffee each morning. “Do one thing a day that makes your home feel like less of an assembly line,” Loechner says. “There are so many studies that suggest working with your hands offers a slower, more meditative start to your day.”

When drafting your list of pros and cons, “commit to complete honesty,” especially regarding any people in your life who drag you down, said Arthur Brooks at The Atlantic. “Be specific about any of your daily interactions that were toxic, relationships that were unproductive, and the life patterns that made you unhappy.” Yes, phasing a toxic person out of your life can be trickier than setting aside a hobby. “But in truth, we all have relationships that are simply not mutually beneficial. If the pandemic has been a welcome furlough from these relationships, you should ask yourself whether you can make that break permanent. This moment is the best chance you might ever have to do so.”

Feel free to reply with any comments or questions you might have about setting your OWN terms for your summer schedule.

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