Simplifying life is something that I think that we could all do with a bit of, for our own mental health and that of the children in our lives too.
Here are my top tips-
Say no more often!
We are in the perfect position to consider what things we usually do as part of our everyday life and which of these things we REALLY want to do. It's easy to get into a habit of always doing the same things and, before you know it, we are super busy, rushing from one thing to another. At the moment (thanks to lockdown 2.0) we are being given the gift (although it may not feel like a gift!) of time to reflect. Is there anything that you or your family usually do that you aren't doing at the moment that you are relieved that you don't have to do? If so, it may be time to drop that thing.
Have a 'sort'!
I don't know about you, but I LOVE a good sort! It usually happens when I am struggling with feelings of anxiety- or if there is a full moon! It's also a good thing to encourage children to do and see the benefits of. So that it doesn't become overwhelming, choose just one area to start with. Sort things into a pile of; broken (to be recycled), no longer needed or used (to be gifted to charity) and things that are still loved. When the sorting is complete, notice how much more the children enjoy the space and actually play with the remainder. Side note- you may want to sort the kids things without them being there as they may find it hard to let go- you may also want to keep things for a while just in case something you perceive as not played with much is actually really important to them!
Make the everyday special with little rituals of things that you do. This makes you really appreciate the small things. Some examples from my own home- Friday night pizza and film night (I'm sure many of you do this) silly songs that accompany 'boring' tasks like going up the stairs, brushing the teeth. Having a special time each day where you are just in each others company without tech- give it a name, in our house it's 'calm time'. Special breakfasts at the weekend....
Plan 'nothing time'
Make sure that each week (even each day) you have time where you plan to do nothing at all. Make it a priority, go with the mood of the moment, say yes to whatever crazy plan the kids want to do (within reason). Let go of your 'agenda' and go with the flow of the moment. If you know that this is what this time is for, it's easier to be flexible.
I don't know how it is in other homes, but for us, meals can be a source of stress. Thinking about what to eat can be exhausting! We find it so much easier since we have a basic outline of what we will have. There is nothing special or fancy about it: Monday - pasta of some sort, Tuesday- rice of some sort, Wednesday- some sort of curry or thing in the slow cooker, Thursday- some sort of jacket potato, Friday- pizza, Saturday- something convenient that we can pop in the oven, Sunday - some sort of caserole slow cooker. This outline helps us to have something already in mind and for those weeks when we are in survival mode they can be really basic, but for the weeks when we are firing on all cylinders and feeling creative we can make them more complex.
Be mindful about what you let in.
This one is about news and information, do you automatically hear every news report on the radio? Are you drawn in by 'click bait' articles on facebook or google? What effect do these things have on your mental health? Do they make you increase your to do list or list of worries?
In my blog, I reflect honestly about my experiences of trying to enhance the well-being of my own children.