As another summer break comes to an end, it can be a time of mixed emotions for parents and children alike. Some might even say they find themselves in a glass case of emotion.
The feelings we experience at this time can cover the full spectrum:
Sad...goodbye, summer vacation. Goodbye, long days at the pool. Goodbye, flexible schedules. Goodbye, family beach trips.
Excited...get to see friends again with the start to school. Sports leagues starting back up.
Tired...of the constantly changing schedule. Ready for some routine and break from the children.
Grateful...for the fun times had with loved ones, the new memories that were made.
Optimistic...about the upcoming school year, new opportunities or projects at work.
Anxious...how is the school year going to go? Grades? Behavior?
Lonely...friends from summer camps, out of town friends and family may not be seen until the winter holidays.
Surprised...something new you learned over the summer or someone you got to see or meet that you didn't expect.
With all these feelings, here are 2 things to help you navigate a smooth transition out of summer break.
1) Normalize and embrace all the emotions you are feelings. Yes, all of them. The joy as well as the nervousness. One idea, draw a picture of a fun memory of the summer or a possible fear of what lies ahead. Externalize it. Bring it out into the open.
One of the most common contributing factors of stress I see is when people decide to simple push it way down. The objective here is to make it disappear. It often presents as "putting on a good face" when something is actually bubbling under the surface. Each and every single day is spent acting. The result is exhausting and can greatly impact our relationships, physical health, as well as our mental state. Tackling them head on by shining light on them starts lessening the control it has. Facing it is all about acknowledging it and working on it. Starting the work of opening up could mean talking, praying, or even journaling about it.
2) Set goals. Sit down and write out some goals to work on for the remainder of the year. Start with getting things prepared for school if you haven't already. Jot down some ideas for things around the house or things at work. Get your child to do the same. Maybe a goal is getting through the first day of school. Perhaps a goal is pursuing a new training opportunity to enhance your skillset at work.
Transition, or change, is tough. It is letting go of what was and trying to accept what will be. And often what will be is unknown. Did someone say, stress? Yes, the unknown can be daunting and stressful. So set some realistic goals you want to work toward. It is much easier to set off on a journey if you know where you are going. Set goals and find ways to celebrate achievements.
Of course, there are still times when you will hit traffic. That is life. Sure apps like Waze, can help to navigate around the slow-ups. Other times there is just no getting around it. I experienced both sides of that this summer on our family road trip. Flash back to childhood, one of the most memorable family trips included us being less than 15 minutes away from our destination and hitting more than 4 hours of traffic. To this day we still reminisce and, yes, even laugh about that experience.
So as another summer break comes to an end take time to celebrate the moments you had, embrace any sorrow you might feel, and set a clear course for what lies ahead. Happy Venture'ing!