Back to school. The best time of the year right? Depending on who you’re talking to.
Some parents look forward to not desperately trying to find new ways to keep the kids from utter boredom and to not having them under foot all the time any more.
Some kids look forward to seeing all their friends again, showing off all their new duds, and even perhaps being top of the hill or just not the newbie anymore.
But then, of course, there’s the down side. Making lunches, checking homework, taxiing, and volunteering, or making new friends, doing homework, being accepted, responsibilities, and expectations. And for some, parents and kids alike, the Groundhog-Day sameness of it all is rather soul sucking.
I love you so much! I REALLY, REALLY do!
So how do you give the kids a positive, excited, you-can-do-anything attitude when it’s sometimes near impossible for you to drum up that attitude yourself?
When you groan and growl and moan, “here I go again,” before you even roll out of bed in complete darkness?
Start with turning it around.
When you automatically think to yourself, “here I go again,” because you know you will, you have no control over that, add to that thought.
nstead of just “here I go again,” try, “here I go again…what is (could be, will be, may be) different about today?
What could I do differently?”
It’s tremendously helpful to think of something you can look forward to, however small. It could be trying something new at lunch, it may be taking a walk later, or it may be a new book to start once you’ve met your commitments for the day.
And believe it or not, depending on who you are, it could be that something as simple as an out-of-the-ordinary meeting might be that little thing to look forward to.
If you can’t find anything at all to look forward to, it may just be time to take a step back and take stock.
Perhaps you’re expecting too much of yourself. And unfortunately, that generally results in expecting too much of everyone else, so you need to take a minute to take care of yourself. Start with the tiniest thing you can think of that may makes you feel happy.
Is it summer? Is there a particular flower in your garden or park that when you smell it you can’t help but smile? I know for me there is a way that the birch and a few others trees in a park across the street smell if I walk past at certain times of the day. The smell reminds me of one the cities I lived in as a child, one that I have happy memories of.
Is it winter? Instead of cursing the darkness and the cold, take a second to admire the snowflakes as they fall or the way the frost covers everything in a blanket of white: the trees, the roofs, the mailboxes and lampposts. Smell the metallic smell of the cold or treat yourself to a hot chocolate rather than a coffee to remind you of the childlike joy of winter you used to have way back when.
It’s the little things that make us happy, and it’s the little things that are the easiest to forget.
So to kick start your own positive attitude and your own kickass engine, start with the little things. If your head and heart are in the right place, your kids’ will be too, even your spouse, extended family, coworkers, and people you meet throughout your day. Imagine what a difference you can make with one little thought first thing in the morning!
To get you started, because really, starting anything new is always hard, especially when it seems so deceivingly small, like it won’t have any effect on anything, here’s a short list of small, inexpensive ideas to try that maybe you hadn’t thought to try yet.
With any luck, one or more of these will give you a little something to look forward to and will help you give the kids something to look forward to, a way to help them achieve the right attitude to go out and kick the world’s butt.
1. Try a new coffee or tea, perhaps flavoured.
2. Pick up a new, shiny piece of costume jewellery or hair accessory (or hat or tie for men).
3. Grab a new book from the library.
4. Open the door and smell the early morning air before you do anything else.
5. Get up a little early and have that coffee outside and appreciate the way things look so early in the day when it’s still quiet and peaceful.
6. Try colouring in a colouring book or doodle poster. You can find adult colouring or doodle books almost everywhere now.
7. Treat yourself to a single flower or small, inexpensive bouquet on sale at the grocery store on your way home. Then make sure to take a moment to take a long, deep breath of the freshness once you get them home.
8. Take a nice bath with a few drops of your favourite essential oil.
9. Find a new TV show to binge watch on Netflix 10. Lastly, hug everyone important to you today. Not just a quick squeeze like you maybe already do, but an I-really-mean-it hug.
Good luck breaking the Groundhog-Day cycle this year!