Fall is a busy time of year with back-to-school and extra-curricular activities starting up again. You might be fresh off a PCS move and wanting to get rooted in the new community. Rushing around to PTA meetings, soccer practice or the gym might help you meet a lot of people, but it’s also likely to leave you feeling frayed and exhausted. The fall season doesn’t have to be all hustle. Here are five tips to help you dial back the busy and move forward feeling calm and connected with your military community.
- Prioritize sleep. Self-care is the most important thing you can do for yourself, your family and your coworkers. With adequate sleep you are mentally sharper and emotionally stronger. Sleep helps your body fight off viruses and heal more quickly. Lack of sleep can cause you to be irritable, and coffee can only do so much. Be kind: get your sleep.
- Reduce screen time. Spend your time doing things that matter with the ones who matter. Instead of shushing your kids or significant other because you’re watching TV, make screen-free time to interact with your family. Break out a board game, read a book, do a puzzle or turn up some music and have a dance party. Enjoy the slower pace for an evening and see how calm it makes you feel.
- Say no. Sometimes you feel obligated to say yes and then find you’ve overextended yourself. It’s okay to say no to people in your life. You cannot give yourself, your family and your work their proper due if you are also on every board, club, committee and taxiing kids around too. Be selective with your “yes” and you’ll be happier with time you spend helping others, and you’ll do a better job of it.
- Stop gossip in its tracks. Don’t waste your energy or time listening to or engaging in negative talk about others. Like mama said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” When negativity starts, counter it with positive, change the subject, or say you don’t want to be part of negative talk and walk away.
- Avoid the trap of multitasking. Multitasking is a sneaky beast. You think you’re getting away with doing a lot of things at one time, when you’re just doing a lot of things poorly. It is better to do one thing at a time and do it right and then move on to the next thing. When forced to multitask (work and life happen), take time to refocus yourself before you start the new task to avoid making mistakes.
Try to pause for a moment and think about getting back to basics instead of drowning in the rush of doing everything at once. What brings your soul joy? Find a way to keep those activities. What causes you constant stress and anxiety? These activities are the ones you need to give more thought to. Dialing back your goings-on a notch gives you the time you need to be more focused, invested and rested, allowing you to get ahead at work, family and in your military life.