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Getting Unstuck From the Fall Doldrums
By Liz Hekimian-Williams
Doesn't it seem like this time of year is so hectic, even though it's not quite the holidays yet? How can that be?
Even though the kids are back in school, there's general daily and weekly mayhem in many households. Wasn't there sometimes during the summer with the kids that you thought, when the kids are back in school again, THEN I'll have time to do that.
OK... so...where's the time we coveted? We think to ourselves, we simply can't be that busy now. We don't HAVE to do holiday shopping YET or maybe we're just not in the mood for it yet. How is that we could feel down in the dumps?
I think it's just the fall doldrums hitting you square in the eye.
Here's what I think happens during this phenomenon...
Summer time was fun. (YES, it WAS... come on, fess up.) There were fun times to be had with the family, even though sometimes you were ready for a daily break from the kids again. If you don't have kids, it was still fun because if you took a vacation, you got away from work and responsibilities too.
You might have done things you don't have time to do during the year. And even though it's challenging to get your getaway time, most families do manage the knack of figuring out when to schedule it in, where to go and what to do. Our two to three week window of opportunity for taking family vacation time is usually governed by when there's no soccer practices, tryouts or games.
But AHHH, to enjoy, to relax, to get away from the normal routines and daily chores, to enjoy the family or alone time. It's worth it to get that vacation time scheduled in!
But... then it's over.
Back to work, outside the home, inside the home, parenting, routines, back to school. Don't forget PTA meetings, work meetings, sports team meetings, figuring out the daily, weekly, monthly schedules, transporting kids back and forth to appointments and activities, going here, going there, commuting to work perhaps, trying to get to the next thing on time, focusing on nurturing our minds, our businesses, our families, our children.
Oops, forgot- laundry, dinner, paying the bills, parent-teacher conferences, "Mom and dad you're coming to watch my volleyball game right?", "Can you play with me?", and...we need stuff from the supermarket.
Oh no, the car broke down. Repair shop time. What am I going to do for transportation? I've got lots of places to go, kids to pick up and move around, errands to run OR I simply don't like to hang out in the repair shop. I just want to go home! Have you ever felt like you should just go back to bed and pull the covers over your head?
Whew! Sorry guys. Maybe that was all a bit too vivid into the doldrums. You're supposed to be enjoying reading an article, aren't you?
But well, now you know where your free time went and about the fall doldrums phenomenon. Some experience winter and spring doldrums too.
But, in winter there's some cool stuff like snow. Well, in Florida we have lighted boat parades to enjoy instead. Then there's also colorful night lights, music, holiday stuff, fireplaces. WE even have one of those although we've only used it a few times in the last 10 years. It does give us a warm, fuzzy feeling though, when we do get the chance to use it.
In spring there's the new everything emphasis going on- new flowers blooming, baby animals roaming around, and the sun brightens the days more. There's love holidays too, like mother's day and father's day.
Yes, this is it. You might just be stuck in the fall doldrums.
Did you know that you can get unstuck though? Here's a few ideas to help you get started.
Make the decision to uncomplicate your life in at least one way this month and put it into action. You think, something's got to change. Well fine. Do it. Make that one change.
Next, make a decision to enjoy doing something with your family, grandparents, spouse and/or kids. Now you've GOT to schedule it in or it may not get done. Sometimes the best way to figure out what you could do together is to just ASK THEM. Just sit down and ask your partner or your kid what they'd like to do with you if you had an hour to spend with them, doing whatever they'd like to do.
Don't faint on me. Just don't forget to garner up all your courage and brace yourself for their answers BEFORE approaching them! Even afterwards plan on talking yourself into doing a surprising request or one you normally would not have suggested yourself. I'm just about there myself now with a recent request I had. I'm readying myself to play the Twister game as requested by one of my beloved little ones underfoot here
Twister... remember that classic where you torture every muscle in your body as you twist arms and legs over and under others and between your own so you can have the correct hands and feet changing to the announced colors, all without falling?! Oh, I'm sure we'll be laughing by the end of it all as long as they don't have to rush me to a doctor for a sprained some-thing-or-other.
Go on, ask grandma or grandpa what they'd like to do with you or just do something uncharacteristic, like take them out to the movies while the kids are in school. Try the early matinee show. Take them out for a cup of good coffee or bowling, or mini-golf or something.
If they're not in the area, how about you send them an impromtu card and/or gift and give them a phone call or send them an email. Almost anything will be fine, but especially things that are normally uncharacteristic so they'll be more memorable.
It will give you a time to share your thoughts, feelings, and love. It will break up your monotony and daily routines. Replace a few of the "have to's" with a "want to" or a "like to".
Also, get some help for yourself, if you can. Consider online support groups and chats, neighbors, friends, ask help with or start your own carpooling. Look at your family finances and see if you can afford a housecleaner even once a month or one day of afterschool care, perhaps a babysitter twice a month for you and your partner to go out on a date. See if you can barter or trade with someone something you want for something they want that will help both of you out.
Finally get going with some goal or desire for yourself. Even if it's a small one. Maybe it's just to relax for 10 minutes a day by reading a novel or going for a short walk. Maybe you want to begin a new habit of getting yourself a book at the library each week or two.
By the way, if any of you haven't discovered this yet, it's worth a mention. If you happen to be a parent that drives around the kids a lot and waits in waiting rooms or in your car or wherever, for medium to long periods of time, it is a wonderful thing to discover taking a book and/or magazine along with you whenever you're on the road. That was something that I started doing a few years back and I've valued that change ever since. The unwelcome wait time is now often a relaxing time while I read something I enjoy.
So, think about it and do something to get more fun or relaxed time so you can get out of these fall doldrums. Remember the importance of every day. We can all strive to value and enjoy each day a bit more to a whole lot more, both individually and alongside those we care about most.
© 2002 Elizabeth Hekimian-Williams
About the Author Resource Box:
Liz Hekimian-Williams is founder of Giftsprings.com, a licensed mental health counselor, Dan's loving wife, mom to three active kids and editor of the Giftsprings newsletter. She values family life and is supportive of others who wish to work at home to improve their family and financial situations. http://www.Giftsprings.com Contact Liz by email:
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