Spring is that time of year when summer feels so close yet so far away. Students are close enough to finals to be stressed, but far enough to feel like it won’t be over all that soon. Parents are running around facilitating all the activities, managing all the stress, and trying to remember to eat and sleep somewhere in the mix. To sustain through it may take some effort; below are five little tips to help you think about ways to keep moving forward and endure the end-of-the-year stress.
Take care of yourself
Homework, housework, coursework – none of it gets done if there’s no intact and healthy YOU to do it. We often feel that we have to prioritize our work to get it done, and the easiest things to cut out are the things that aren’t immediately productive in meeting those goals. Unfortunately, this often means we cut out rest, healthy eating, and sleeping habits. The problem is, as stress increases, these habits decrease; as these habits decrease, often the stress increases. Not eating well, not giving yourself time to rest, and not getting your body moving all contribute to feeling worn down and eventually, worn out.
Remind yourself that stopping to eat isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. The same goes for getting your sleep – we literally have to do it, and when we don’t, we feel it. Even *if* that last thing on the list gets done instead – ask yourself, at what cost?
Let your self off the hook
Sometimes we try to prioritize too much. We have band practice, then a choir concert, then homework, but then somebody else has a track meet, and then a test tomorrow – and then we should be doing laundry, and getting the dishwasher unloaded, and running all the errands. Some days, we all have superpowers and it all gets done. Some days, despite the lists you make and the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it, it’s just not going to all get done. On those days, it’s okay to let yourself off the hook a little bit. You’re just not going to get the laundry done, and that doesn’t mean that you’re doing it wrong. You’re just human.
Letting yourself off the hook is not about making excuses. It’s about recognizing that there are days that you just honestly can’t do it all, and it’s okay to let some of that go.
Lean on your support network
Whether it’s for help with chores, carpooling, or just getting to vent a little, don’t be afraid to reach out to the people around you for a little help and support. Chances are that there are ways that you can help each other, and at the very least maybe feel a little bit less alone in the chaos.
There are likely a lot of people in your life who are feeling as stretched as you are. Try to lean on empathy, and be kind. It doesn’t always take a long conversation or a big gesture to stay connected with the people around us. Say good morning, hold doors, say thank you, give a smile – use those little moments to exercise kindness and stay engaged with the world and people around you.
There are probably people in your life who are working hard in ways that aren’t always recognized. Keep your eyes open for the things that others help you with, and take a moment to recognize it. Leave a note for the person who cleans up your office. Thank your partner for taking the trash out. High five your kid for remembering to take the dishes to the sink, or make the bed. Email that employee who’s always coming in early or staying late and let them know you notice.
We all could use some recognition for the things that we contribute, for our hard work, for our time. Get that process started by noticing and recognizing it in others.