If I took a poll of moms with school-aged kids, I’m confident that springtime would be ranked up there with the winter holiday season as one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year. Some may argue that this season is indeed the craziest.
It’s a perfect storm. Sports and activities are on full speed, just at the time when every last school project, field trip, fundraiser, and end-of-year celebration comes together. There are deadlines to remember, teacher gifts to buy, and kids to try and keep engaged for just a little while longer.
And, don’t forget that we are all just so… tired.
While we may not be able to free up our calendars right now, there are steps we can take to make these busy few months a little more manageable.
Here are five tips for managing the springtime craziness.
Write EVERYTHING down. As women, it’s more than the tasks themselves that cause us anxiety this time of year, it’s the fact that our brains are so very full. And, we often resort to multitasking to manage, which may actually make matters even worse. According to Harvard Health, multitasking debilitates our working memory and makes room for mistakes. Visualization, however, is a powerful tool. From deadlines and events to the nagging thoughts that are swarming through our heads, we give our brains a huge break when we write it all down. Studies show that putting our thoughts on paper not only makes them easier to remember later but also frees up bandwidth in our brains and provides us with a sense of control. While we aren’t able to make these deadlines and dates go away, the act of organizing and prioritizing our tasks visually will make them feel more manageable.
Plan, plan, and plan some more. Taking some time at the beginning of each week to plan ahead can pay major dividends. Studies suggest that people who plan for what’s coming are more likely to manage daily pressures well, without letting stress get the best of them. This concept is called “proactive coping” and explains what happens when we anticipate future stress in a productive way. By taking a peek at the calendar at the beginning of the week and prioritizing the steps we need to take to successfully walk through upcoming events and to-do’s, we are setting ourselves up for success. This may include planning meals, arranging carpools, and setting reminders for upcoming due dates well before they occur.
Say “no” when you can. As a chronic people pleaser, I can attest to how difficult this can be, but allowing yourself the freedom to say “no” during this busy time is key. Even good things can become stressful when there is too much filling up the calendar. Remember that it’s okay, to be honest about your “best yeses.” You are allowed to be choosey about which volunteer opportunities and lunch invitations you accept during the busiest time of the school year. If you are tempted to do something out of guilt, take a moment to acknowledge what’s really going to be best for you. There is something to be said about waiting to add certain things to the calendar when you have the margin to truly enjoy them. And, don’t forget that the more thoughtful we are about our time, the better moms we are going to be for our kids.
Take some “me” time. It may sound impossible right now, but doing this for yourself could not be more important. Take a minute to reserve some time for YOU. Self-care does not look the same for everyone, and it’s important to determine what fills your cup. Whether you are taking a few minutes to workout, sit down with a book, get your nails done, or call a friend, reserve space to do the things that rejuvenate you and bring you peace. Even if it’s just a tiny pocket of time, gifting yourself some margin will provide you with the energy to get through the busyness that lies ahead in the coming weeks.
Maintain your perspective. Yes, springtime is intense, but it is a finite period of time. As you get through the next few weeks, just remember that this crazy pace will not last forever. And, the best news to remember… the summer is just around the corner! Goodbye homework, early wake-ups, and deadlines galore! Reminding yourself that there is a finish line will help you get there successfully.
What are your best tips for managing springtime? We’d love to hear in the comments below!