The new school year has only just started, and summer is still faintly in the air (although fading quickly with the celebration of Labor Day). To ensure that we keep some of that summertime feeling with us, as we head into the fall season and potentially get swept away in the rigor and demands of the school year, why not spend a few minutes reflecting on our summer and creating some resolutions for our new school year?
Now I know you may be thinking about your often thwarted attempts at resolutions for New Year’s and I certainly don’t want to bring up old hurts of fad diets, unused gym memberships or other wayward promises we made at the start of our new calendar year. Because those types of resolutions often don’t work, why don’t we instead reflect on the summer we just spent and resolve to bring some what we loved and cherished into our school year?
So before we lose sight of all the things we loved and enjoyed, set your phone timer for five minutes, get a clean sheet of paper or pull up a new screen on your computer and give yourself these five minutes to just free write a reflection of this past summer. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar, or even making complete sense. You can bullet a list, or write in long, run-on sentences. Don’t edit, don’t even really think…just reflect on your past few months.Even if things were less than ideal, what are you grateful for? What did you enjoy? What could you have done without? Just get it all on paper…a complete freewrite reflection of your summer.
When the timer goes off, decide if you’ve explored enough. Perhaps you want to set it for another five minutes. If you feel like you’ve written an adequate reflection, it’s time to move to the next part: the resolutions.
Set the timer again, turn to a new piece of paper or scroll to a new page in your document….and go-write with fury all of your resolutions for this new year. Just get it all down. What are your wishes? What are your needs? What do you not want to give up this year? What do you not want to lose sight of? Through this writing, explore what you are resolving to create, do, enjoy or not do. This is your resolution list, so get honest about your wants and needs. No one will criticize or censor and the more real you get during the freewrite, the more you will see what your essential self really needs support with during this school year. So, when the timer goes off, decide if your piece feels done or if you need to get out a little more…and when you’re done keep reading…
So you may want to let the writing sit for a little bit or delve right in and start to see if there are some patterns between what you enjoyed in the months you had a break and what you need now that you are back at school. If you wrote about enjoying undistracted, unrushed time with your family in the summer and that also is a resolution for the new year…how will you work to create that balance? If you wrote that you loved spending time taking care of yourself by being active and outside during the summer. How will you create space to continue some kind of routine of self-care?
It’s going to take more than a blog post for each one of us to appropriately figure out how to schedule and manage our daily moments so that we create more of the ones that meet our needs and less of the ones where we are left feeling depleted. But here’s a simple suggestion for getting started. Be open to letting go of the things that are no longer serving you and what you ultimately want in your life. Just because we have always proctored detention after school for the last ten years on Mondays, doesn’t mean that we still need to do that this year. Maybe we spend that time taking a walk before going home. Maybe by letting go of some of those responsibilities we have just “always done” we could open the door for someone else to take them over who will bring new energy and perspective to the role. Again, don’t be afraid to let go of what no longer serves you. You have permission to do something different….seriously…
As we enter this new school year, fresh off a little summer break, bring some of that flexibility into your school year when creating these new routines. Do those freewrites and really take some time to honor what is on the page and try to find creative ways to keep those resolutions alive. But be gentle with yourself if you get a little off course and forget about them, you can revisit them as often as you need to, change them and shift them to match what your needs at this new moment.
So I wish you well as you reflect and resolve to create what you need in the life that you find yourself in. We can’t hold on to summer forever, but we can bring some of what we love so much about it into the lives we are waking up to today…we just have to remain flexible and let go of what no longer serves us.