Over the holidays I checked out Bridget Schulte’s book, Overwhelmed, Work, Love and Play When No One Has Time, because, before the holidays I was feeling, overwhelmed. Funny thing is by the time I got to reading this book I had been off work for 2 weeks with the kids and I was completely relaxed. No presents to buy or lunches to make. Just pure downtime. I made the decision that I was going to completely relax. That is what we did. No trips or outings, just exercise. At the end of the break, I felt completely filled up. Here’s are a few tips I got from this book:
Let’s Move to Denmark!
What really struck me about this book was how much I wish we could all move to Denmark! Besides being the birthplace of Lego, Demark boasts the best in leisure time (meanings lots of it), productivity and reasonable work hours, not to mention amazing parental benefits. Ohh, did I mention that they also give employees 6 weeks of vacation? Hello! I am sold. Will they let me in?
Overwhelm No More!
Norwegians don’t quite understand our “North American Angst”…… Instead, they focus on simplicity. There is no micromanaging their children, they run free. Babies have outdoor naps. Nor do they fill their lives with tons of tons of toys that will get broken, lost or clutter the house. Instead, they are mainly outside. They have a strong focus on “Alloparenting” which is is a system of parenting in which individuals other than the parents act in a parental role. So you will find that families will gather in their communities and host regular potlucks to keep children feeling they have access to many role models.
Gotta get me some Grit!
If you have children, like mine who were off school for two weeks you will likely have dealt with their anxiety about returning to school. It seems that anxiety amongst children is very common – in fact, studies done at San Diego State University indicate that high school and college students are more depressed and anxious than the youths during the Great Depression! What’s missing? Grit! Grit is the ability to set your mind to something and stick with it when the going gets rough. The more grit you got the better you will do in school and life. The increase in grit will lead to you follow your passions, persevere, and achieve your personal goals which will lead you to being a happier person.
Focus on a Growth & Gratitude Mindset
Those who have a growth and gratitude mindset aren’t afraid to fail – they take on the tough projects, games etc to challenge themselves even when they don’t know whether they will succeed. 90% of kids who have parents that help them focus with grit will choose to challenge themselves. Those with a fixed mindset who are praised for their actions and not on their character will be more focused on perfection and won’t want to take chances on the unknown. Most importantly, do find time to be grateful for what you have accomplished or mastered – this will help you find the confidence to achieve more and live a happier life in the process.
Bring on the Leisure!
Girls from about 12 years on, start to seriously reduce the amount of time they spend playing. Their mentors? Mothers. Moms are the last to play. Moms even find vacations stressful. I personally find it so hard to plan girlfriend play time because us moms are too busy. I often ask my single or child- free friends out first as I know they will have more time. Research has found we feel guilty for taking time for ourselves. Some even call it frivolous. Pure play activities are the hardest activities for us to find time to try out – the New York-based social group Mice at Play find the hardest events to fill are those that don’t indicate an obvious health or educational benefit, so exercise and nutrition programs are popular but pure play dates are not (think 1940 dress up play date). I fit into this category until recently – now I focus on play and time with my kids over chores. I make the kids and hubby do to the chores with me so I can have more time for play.
Why play? It helps us to be more creative, enjoy flow and de-stress. It is the perfect way to connect with the people we love, and lastly, it keeps us from losing track of who we are and when retirement comes. You could be ready take on the world instead of lost trying to remember who you once were.
What about you? Do you have grit? Make time for play? We would love to hear more!