Walking down the fluorescently lit aisles of ransacked shelves, stippled with the colorful scatterings of washable crayola markers, college ruled notebooks, neon calculators and erasers in the form of rainbow puzzles and cars, I struggle to focus my tired eyes on the crinkled paper’s next line of required school supplies. The endless varieties are dizzying and I find relief when I reach an area with only 2 brands to choose from because the rest are sold out.
Summer Is Out, School Is In
The end of summer is upon us and as parents, these shopping trips make real the change of pace that lies ahead. We are officially in the midst of transitioning back to the rhythm that school schedules provide us, complete with the after school carpool hustle if your child is involved in sports or enrichment clubs.
Meaningful Rituals Anchor Us in Whats Good
Although school shopping trips act for many as a right of passage into the new pace, an intentionally created ritual can reach into the pockets of our inner corners in ways that this imposed shopping trip cannot. A meaningful end of summer ritual can cue our heart, mind and body that things have changed and help us reflect on where we stand with it all. Ritual can pivot our experience from being one of a dreaded upheaval of chaos that takes weeks to adjust to, to that of a welcomed change of pace that we gladly ride in days.
Old Traditions Have Sanity Saving Wisdom
In ancient communities all over the world there were rituals that marked a variety of changes, big and small because we humans understood the value of intentionally pausing to assimilate the changes we’ve lived through. In the fast paced times we live in today, we need rituals more than ever to make sense of the direction our lives take as we navigate through change. Taking the time to relish what beautiful experiences summer provided us and reflect on what we learned from the not so beautiful experiences, allows us to enter the next phase of the year with more presence of mind.
The Science on Ritual
Scientific American backs this up with research in this poignant articleon how effective rituals are in alleviating grief and discomfort and providing confidence even for those that don’t believe in them.
Have no idea of where to start your end of summer ritual? Here are 7!
The 5 Lists Ritual
To begin make something yummy to drink, grab some pen and paper, take a seat and light a candle.
- The first list is named To Savor and lists at least 5 things you enjoyed about your summer.
- The second list is named Let Go and lists at least 5 things you experienced this summer that you need to let go of (could be people, situations, mistakes, feelings, habits…anything really)
- The third list is named Intentions for the Next Summer. In lieu of the previous 2 lists, list 3 intentions for your next summer.
- The 4th list is named Fall Intentions. Here list at least 3 intentions to focus on for the Fall
- The 5th is named Fall Intentions In Action. Here list at least 5 very doable things you can do to help those intentions come to fruition.
2. Harvest and Preserve
Set aside an afternoon to listen to your favorite albums while making the most of the summer feast from your garden and preserving them for the winter. If you didn’t have a garden, take advantage of the great sales in your local grocer for fruits and vegetables in season and freeze them. When in the thick of the dead of winter, your future self will thank you! Here are 12 ways to preserve without having to use the hot water canning method.
Clear away the old and make way for the new by storing away the favorites you wore this summer and tossing what you didn’t wear. Dig up your old cardigans, winter boots, winter leggings and scarves and decide what still flatters and expresses you authentically and toss what doesn’t.
4. Increase The Coziness Factor in Your Home
Since you’ll be spending more time in your space with the cooler weather, blast some favorite tunes that get you moving and rearrange the furniture to freshen up the room. Make it more inviting and cozy with inexpensive basics like non toxic candles, warm colored throws for your couch and change the light bulbs in your lamps with full spectrum ones to bring the sunshine indoors on those cold dark days.
5. Decorate With Memories
Savor your summer memories all winter long and print them out to hang up in your space. While you’re at it, show your love to those you care about by surprising them with those pics by mail.
6. End of Summer Powwow
Celebrate the last of the season with your tribe and host a picnic with loved ones to drink up the last of the summer sun while grazing on yummy delicacies.
7. Burning Ceremony Ritual
If there is something particularly weighing on you, I offer you the efficacy of a burning ritual. I do this as an end of the year ritual as well and have mentioned it here.
To begin gather pen, paper and an empty fireproof container. Sit comfortably and take a deep breath. Let whatever is weighing on you come to the surface and begin to write all you need to express concerning it, completely unfiltered, no editing at all whatsoever. Let whatever is real and true in you come out to see the light of day through your pen. See this as a process of emptying yourself, so if tears come let them come. Better they come out as tears and written words now, instead of a stress induced ulcer or rift in your relationships later.
When you’re ready place it in your fire proof container and set it on fire. As it burns you can thank it for the gifts it gave although you may not yet, have the eyes to see them. Empty the ashes outside in some grassy area or let the wind blow them away.
Recommit To Your Well Being
Upon shifting gears into the cooler months, do you need to recommit to your well being? Were there things you let get in the way of your health and well being this summer? I recently mentioned in a post heremy idea of creating a self care jar using the model of the bored jar for kids that has been all the craze this summer on Pinterest. Here is a picture of mine next to my self care basket.
Getting back on track to habits that strengthen us can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be if we focus on small steps, consistently. Even 5 minutes is enough to check in with ourselves and recenter.
To help you take those small doable steps when small snippets of time present themselves, I made this free Self Care Jar printout that includes a label for your jar together with ideas you can cut and paste onto your own craft sticks or simply cut out and toss in your jar for easy access. You can download it here or click on the image below.
Summer Series Recap
This is the final post on my Summer Self Care for Parents series. For those of you stopping by for the first time here is a recap of the past 6 posts. In my first post I shared 5 tips that have helped me create a summer that is not only fun for our family but also kind to me in terms of my needs for refueling and time to myself. In my second post I shared why being bored for kids is good, builds self care skills for later in life and how it can be the fertile ground for creating things. In my 3rd postl expanded more on this point of creating things with 20 reasons why it’s among the most restorative forms of self care. I also gave 5 art prompts to get you started on your own creative adventure. In the 4th post I shared more on the research behind the restoring benefits to mind and body when working with your hands and gave 22 ideas for creating easy, beautiful and useful things with your hands. The 5th postintroduced the self care jar. The 6th post introduced the self care basket .
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