Most back to school tips for parents are about kids. That is not the case here. These back to school tips for parents are actually for the parents. Whether you’re sending little Johnny Junior off to kindergarten or to university, you might experience a sense of loss that mingles with a sweet sense of pride. This wonderful stew of emotions festers until you realize what comes after it is the freedom of the empty nest.
Your nest might be empty only until lunchtime, until May, or it may be vacated entirely, but the new sense of freedom that comes with the beginning of the school year can create a vacuum. We’ve got two great ideas on how to fill it!
Perspective is the first great idea. You can see the end of summer and the back to school season as a kind of a closing or finale or you can see it as a new beginning. As it is for your kid, so it is for you. This is your time to learn something new, make new friends, meet new challenges. Essentially this is your time to grow. A terrifying thought for some of us, but being made a little bit uncomfortable is good for you. Psychology Today reports, “Leaving your comfort zone ultimately helps you to deal with change—and making change in a much better way. Life transitions are all about change. Each time you transition you move to another level. Inevitably, these life transitions transform you.” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-flux/201512/5-benefits-stepping-outside-your-comfort-zone)
Being made slightly uncomfortable can push you to achieve long-held goals and realize your dreams. This is your chance to learn to ride a motorcycle or to play the ukulele. Start a fitness regimen, volunteer for your favorite organization, become a pole dancer. You name it! Learning something new not only vanquishes complacency, it expands your limits, boosts confidence, and is good for your brain.
The greatest thing about perspective is that you are in charge of yours. You have the power to choose how you interpret this new-found freedom. As Janis Joplin sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” It’s your choice. You’ve got nothing to lose.
Me Time is the second great idea. Self care has gotten a bit of a bad rap. We’ve been told for generations that we must put the needs of others ahead of our own needs. But without a little time for self-care, we’ve got very little to give. It is healthy to reward yourself for your hard work. Your mental and physical health depend upon it.
In your nascent freedom, get some perspective and take some time for yourself. Play. Be silly. Relax. Walk around the house naked. Eat oysters for breakfast. Dance. Listen to YOUR favorite music. You’ve done your work. Let those fledglings fledge. Be proud of your accomplishment. It’s your time to celebrate.