By Cynthia Hovis, MSW, LCSW
You’ve heard the expression, “Everything you need to know about life, you learned in kindergarten.” Here are some ideas for simplifying your life this summer, based on those lessons we learned way back when:
Plan, but simplify your schedule.
Keep an outlined schedule so you know what to expect of yourself and your family in terms of what needs to be done each day. Kindergarten schedules are outlined days and include time for learning, meals, snacks, recess and rest. This isn’t a strict agenda or to-do list, but just an outline so that time does not slip away too quickly (or tick slowly by in boredom). Planning what to expect can help you stay on task and relieve stress. Allow wiggle room. Life is unexpected!
Plan, but simplify organization.
Think cubby holes and hooks; everything has a place and everything in its place. Sing a little song if need be, but remember to simplify so that everything in your home has a place to return to for a quick clean-up before bed. It makes the morning much less hectic.
Plan, but simplify activities.
Remember that more activities do not always equal more fun. Be careful not to overbook your time. Research ways to cut down on costs such as packing a picnic lunch, bringing your own water bottles or visiting local attractions during reduced price times. It does not have to be expensive to be fun; sometimes a stroll through the park is just the thing.
Plan, but take time to play.
Whether you have children or not, there are many proven stress-relieving benefits of play. Try drawing, coloring a picture, blowing bubbles (with bubbles or bubble gum) or playing with Play-Doh.
There is even an adult version of Play-Doh called Mohdoh that includes aromatherapy oils. According to author Keri Glassman, of the $34 billion Americans spent on alternative medicine in 2009, about 12% was spent in sectors that included mindfulness concepts, such as meditation-related classes or relaxation techniques. She describes Mohdoh as an inexpensive way to decompress. Glassman says these vibrantly painted moldable pieces of dough combine three stress relieving therapies: aromatherapy, tactile-play therapy and color therapy. Play-Doh and Mohdoh can help with the stress and anxiety that come from a busy life.