Dr. Kristin Schaefer-Schiumo| Manhasset NY

How Many Windows Are Open In Your Brain, Right Now?

Well, we're in the first part of June and, if your home is anything like mine, there's an unbelievable amount to accomplish! Whether its permission forms for field trips or sports tournaments, completion of camp forms, or helping study for endless finals, the huge to do pile following a full days work seems never ending. How many tasks, or windows, are you holding open in your brain right now? How much are you trying to accomplish without closing some of those windows and giving yourself the needed time to recharge and unwind? I suspect you're thinking, "recharge, reboot?" While the next three months of summer are laid out in front of us, I know that many working families will feel fortunate just to get a sliver of summer, a hint of down time. Then, before you know it, it's time to prepare for back to school and wind down the last quarter of the year. Right now "meaningful" time with friends seems to be little more than drive by chats as we run to music recitals, check emails, work with clients, and hurry between play rehearsals and sports events. After this frenetic spring pace we screech into summer working to spend quality time with our children, advance at work, and be sure our teenagers aren't out too late and unsupervised. And through it all, we truly hope not to be utterly exhausted as the day ends, when we read a bedtime story or play a game with our children. If this sounds at all familiar, may I suggest not doing the same old thing and hoping things will be different. Instead, try something different!

To reboot, relax, and reinvigorate, may I suggest the following:

  • 1. Take a five minute walk.
  • 2. Take three mindful breaths between meetings or events.
  • 3. Listen to relaxing music that you enjoy.
  • 4. Set a time for digital detox; shut down your devices at a set time each evening, and keep them off.
  • 5. Exercise.
  • 6. Make time for your digital free hobbies and do them in the evenings or during the weekends.
  • 7. Practice mindful breathing - inhale to the count of 4 exhale to the count of 7. Or, try box breathing - inhale 4, hold 4, exhale 4, wait 4
  • 8. Sleep

Be sure to make time for self-care. If you feel fragmented and overwhelmed by life's responsibilities, consider seeing a psychologist for assistance.