Mindfully Going Back to School

5 Tips for Mindfully Going Back to School

Mindfully Going Back to School

As the light shifts across my kitchen table and our 1970’s summer comes to an end, I hold myself with certain sadness, mindfully aware of the changing seasons and routine.  It has been a summer of wins for our family.  We successfully pulled off a family digital detox with a flashback in time to the 1970’s when kids could just be kids and free play all day long.  Tuesday is back to school for my three kids and back to routine for all of us.  Whether you’re happy or sad for a return to school and new routines, here are my five tips for mindfully going “back to school” as a family.

  1. The Art of Noticing:

    Notice how you are feeling. Take five to ten minute breaks all throughout the day to stop, breathe, and notice your body.  Are you holding tension in your body?  How are you feeling?  Are the feelings yours or are you taking on energy in the family?  This can even be done while you are doing last last last minute (so last minute that the shelves are empty and what’s left is in the clearance bin) shopping.  Stop, breathe, observe, relax (SBOR??).  Here’s Vicki’s post on “Meditation Made Easy“.

    Pema Chodron’s Article on “Turn Your Thinking Upside Down”

  2. Social Connection:

    Socially connect with other parents and ask for help when needed. Coffee dates, phone chats, helping a friend – nurture your human need for connection outside of social media and connect in person.  Even if your week is hectic, take time for yourself with a good friend. Make it a #JOMO break.  What the heck is JOMO you say?  Follow me here – it’s pretty cool stuff, actually.

  3. Family Meetings & Check-ins:

    Create space in your schedule to gather in your family. With busy and hectic lives, it can be easy to overlook this aspect.  Imagine creating rituals around gathering in your family – like a momma duck gathers in her ducklings.  No matter how old your kids are and how busy you are, it has a far reaching ripple effect when we bring our family in close.  This could be a fifteen minute check in before bedtime.  It could be story time or games night.  It could be that you take ten minutes with each person before bed.  Create your own special time.

  4. Master These Skills:

    Saying “no” and practicing kind and gentle thoughts. Saying no frees you up to say yes to someone or something else (thanks to Vicki Chick for that life tip).  Keep in mind that the first couple of weeks back to a school routine can be hectic and disruptive to everybody in the home.  You may need to say “no” to things that you’d normally want to do just to save yourself from crazy-making.  Practicing kind and gentle thoughts can help you get through the week.  Try these on for size:

    1. I’m so grateful for myself and my ability to______________.
    2. I am doing the very best I can and I love myself for that.
    3. Tonight, I am going to take care of myself by_______________.

      Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on "Saying No".

      Do you really want to go. Tip 2 in a Life Hack article on “Saying No”.

  5. Don’t Fall into the Comparing Trap:

    You are doing the best you can at any given moment. Don’t fall into the trap of comparing your insides to other people’s outsides.  Social media is a great way to pass the time away but it’s also an easy way to get distracted and start comparing your life to others.  Remember that you are amazing.  Just because one mom seems to have it all together and is posting pictures of the most spectacular bento box lunches you’ve ever seen does not mean that you are the worst.

Words to remember through the first couple of weeks:

  • Gentleness
  • Breathe
  • Self-care (Radical self-care)
  • Laughter
  • Love
  • Connect
  • Rest

I wish you the very best.  Enjoy every crazy moment.  Share it with us online too!


Want more? Listen in to our Back2School Blab this Friday, September 11th.

Listen to The Social Chicks and Lori Graham on Saturday as we discuss
Back2School Thriving or Surviving?”
Friday, September 11th at 1:30pm PST

Want to join in on the conversation?  Use hashtag #businessblab
Tweet to @lori_graham @thesocialchicks
Want to join in on the Blab but don’t know how?  Follow this link for the Vicki Chick Blab How-to.

Karina Cebuliak
The Social Chicks

Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy – The Productivityist Weekly

The Productivityist Weekly is a weekly newsletter featuring exclusive content on productivity and workflow, written by Mike Vardy of Productivityist.  We  are subscribers because it’s filled with wicked cool stuff like this post below.  You can subscribe here – just scroll to the bottom of the subscribe link and sign-up.

Here’s Mike’s latest awesome post:

How To Tackle Your To Do List When You’re Tired

By Mike Vardy

This summer has been fun…and tiring. Between travel and project work, I’ve been doing more than just resting over the past few months. I’ve not been as productive as I’d like, but I’m still making progress on all of the things I need and want to do.

I’m going to share how I’ve managed to do that with you today.

1. Working By Energy

The first way I’ve been able to tackle my to do list – even when I’m zonked – is by tagging my tasks with energy levels in as many instances as possible. Whether I use “High Energy” or “Low Energy” can help me quickly determine whether I can do a task at a particular moment or not. Most of my tasks are low energy ones during the summer, so I’m still able to accomplish them and by labeling them in Todoist(personal tasks) and Asana (team tasks). This allows me to sort tasks quickly and get them done as well.

2. Working By Time

Time is also measurable, just like energy. But it’s far easier to manage in that you can watch the minutes tick by far more than you can feel the energy well run dry. I’m not an advocate for using time-based modes as a driving force for your task management, but there are moments when assigning modes like “5 minute” or “25 minute” can make a whole lot of sense. If you know you only have 15 minutes between one meeting and another, having tasks with a time-based mode attached can help you quickly decide what to work on during that brief period of time. When you’re tired, knowing how much time you’ve have is one thing, but knowing what you can do within that timeframe can be a big boon for your productivity.

3. Working By Energy And Time

Now imagine partnering up these types of modes per task. Wouldn’t that be phenomenally effective? I mean, if you’ve got tasks that have both low energy and 5 minute modes attached to them, then you not only know you can do them within the time period, and they won’t be too taxing on you either. Even high energy tasks that you see can be done in 10 minutes is powerful. Whenever possible, adding both a time-based and energy-based mode to a task gives me two ways to tackle a task when I’m tired. And that, quite frankly, can be more than just valuable to know – it can be rejuvenating and propel you to accomplish more than you thought possible.

If you’re having difficulty tackling your to do list when you’re tired, try using energy and time-based modes. Whether you thrive in the mornings and see your energy wane in the later hours of the day or just need something to get you moving in the morning because you’re just not as “awake” as you need to be, these modes can really help you take your task and time management to a whole new level.

Vicki McLeod

2013: Be it resolved to make better use of all social media


Vision Wokshop

Vicki leading a new year’s vision board workshop.

January is the start of a new year and everybody’s favourite January pursuit is reflecting on the previous year and considering new goals and plans for the upcoming one.

As a life and business coach, I like to take a holistic approach to planning, and that includes planning social media activities. One of the big questions I regularly hear from social media clients, is “How much time should I spend online and what platforms will best serve my business or my life?”

Given that we’ve just embarked on 2013, this is a great opportunity to offer up some social media planning advice from a coaching perspective.

Social media goals need to be devised in a way that integrates with all the dimensions that make up your life. Taking the holistic slant I referred to, let’s call it Social Media Mindfulness. I’m making the argument that social media use should support and enrich the overall aims and objectives you have for yourself. I’m also making the argument that it can.

Social media offers a wealth of tools and platforms that can reinforce all segments of a well-rounded life. Perhaps you are interested in deepening you relationships with distant friends and family or exploring your creativity through a new hobby or pastime.  You can look to Social Media to provide a platform, sharing app, or online community to further your goals.

Is 2013 the year you finally redecorate, update your kitchen or get that awesome new barbecue grill? Then check out Pinterest, where there are in the neighbourhood of 11 million circulating images on virtual pin boards crammed full of inspiring ideas, DIY tips and products linked directly to the websites that sell them.

Perhaps you are up to changing the world this year and looking for like-minded souls and allies to join you?  While Facebook and Linked In offer a range of topic-based online groups and communities you can join or start, Twitter provides worldwide access to tweeps who share your interests and can offer endless resources on nearly anything.

Twitter is also a great tool for ‘crowdsourcing’: obtaining needed services, ideas or opinions from a large group of people online. Tweeps will be happy to offer insight on everything from the best BBQ out there to helping you figure out where the activists are.

Facebook is a natural place to start to connect or reconnect with old friends and new. Through simple searches you can find that old high school sweetheart, or the roomie you had in college that you’ve lost touch with.

If you are focused on growing your business by building a wider network of professional contacts, it might be time to increase your savvy using Linked In, with 200 million registered users and a reputation as networking on steroids. If 2013 is the year you get that awesome job, Linked In is the virtual place to be.

The point here is that ways to use Social Media are almost as infinite as the Internet itself. The key to making choices about time spent or platforms used is making a deliberate assessment of what is truly important to you. The target is to make social media choices that are congruent with your bigger picture. In coaching parlance, we call this the Big A – the Big Agenda. What is it that you really want? Figure that out and then choose the platform that fits.

Vicki McLeod is a coach and consultant and one of the Social Chicks. The Social Chicks resume their free Social Media Information sessions with the Chamber of Commerce Serving Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows on January 31, 2013 5 PM to 6:30 PM. Contact Chamber to register.

Find Vicki’s coaching page on Facebook. Follow her on Twitter.