Growing up, I was involved in a lot of extracurricular activities including the school newspaper, yearbook, plays and musicals, forensics, student council, and more. If you look in the yearbook from my senior year, they had to make the font smaller to list all of my activities! My parents recognized that having my hands in lots of activities invigorated me more than other similar-aged teenagers, and they allowed me to pursue as much as I wanted, as long as I kept my grades up.
It’s no wonder that now as an adult I thrive when I am doing a lot. My work includes a 40-hour corporate marketing position, as well as running an online lifestyle blog and being a published author and speaker. And that’s just the work part of my life. My life is also full with responsibilities and experiences with my husband and children, managing our home, and the rest. But the older I get, the more I am able to recognize when I am doing too much and things go from life-giving to life-sucking. Moreover, becoming stretched too thin negatively impacts every area of my life — and every person in it.
Ecclesiasties 5:19 says: “After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot.”
And so, as the school year begins (we start very early in the south), I have been thinking a lot about this verse. I want our family to live in the best way, by being intentional with our schedule (including my own), our time together, and in taking care of ourselves. My children are 10, 7, and 3, and my husband and I both work full-time. Throw in some extracurricular activities, and things can get overwhelming.
Here are three ways we are working to prevent that:
Commit to family time
Friday nights are family movie nights. We keep dinner simple, the blankets cozy, and the movie something we all can enjoy. This simple habit connects us every week. Family time doesn’t have to be costly to be beneficial.
Pray as a family
By taking time to pray together, whether it is on the drive to school or before a meal, we are able to focus on what really matters.
Practice self-care individually
It is important that each member of our family – me included – is taking time to pursue their passions and take care of themselves. For my husband, it is going to the gym. For me, it is long soaks in the tub with a good book. For my daughter, it is crafting. By taking time to fill our tanks up, we are happier and more enjoyable to be around.
None of these practices are time consuming or difficult, but thriving takes intention, especially during busy seasons. Over the years, I have learned that simple habits and routine experiences often have the most meaning long-term.
While your family’s schedule, passions, and story are undoubtedly different than mine, the importance of moving toward a life of thriving is not. Take time during this season to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are we thriving as a family? Are we thriving individually?
- How can I model healthy behaviors for my children?
- What areas do I need to work on?