This from Lynn Siemens, whom I have shamelessly harassed for a couple of months to do a guest post. If I have met you (yes, YOU, I'm looking at you, you know who you are, all dozen or so of you) you know that you promised to write one, too, you did. Make blogging an essential part of your summer ...
A few months ago, Aimée asked about the kinds of things that we do to relax (see the post for some excellent suggestions.) Over the past while, I got to thinking about some of these strategies, but from a different perspective, that is, a focus on those rituals that gets us through each day as we balance work, life, and everything else that comes our way.
It has been one of those months, which work-wise has included writing conference papers, traveling to the conferences (across multiple time zones and multiple airports), recovering from said conferences, delivering a five day workshop and hosting related social events, and preparing for sabbatical (who knew this actually took time?). At the same time, on the home front, the work travel prompt various activities, including delivering and picking up dogs from the kennel, stocking the fridge with food so children and grandparents could eat while I was at above mentioned conferences and preparing lists of activities with maps. And there is, of course, the regular family and home life, which included getting the garden ready for the summer (perhaps more, accurately, finally getting around to the fall clean up), driving children all over the city, attending the numerous “end of the school year” events at children’s schools, and of course, watching the Vancouver Canucks in the playoffs to the Stanley Cup finals (Hopefully, by the time this is posted, the Canucks will have won [ed: oops. Sorry Lynn, there was a riot, too. I should have posted this sooner].) Needless to say, this has not left a lot of extra time for me, not that I necessarily want or need lots, or am even complaining. (For the record, I love my family and work!)
But, I realize that I have certain rituals to my day that serve to create that space that I need to accomplish the above with some sense of good nature and grace (you will have to ask my family if I am at all successful with this goal.)
For me, my day does not feel right until I have had my coffee, read the Globe and Mail newspaper and completed the Sudoku puzzle. This is a ritual that I attempt to continue even when I am traveling or super busy and should probably be writing that conference paper, answering emails, attending to children and spouse, and the various other things on my to do list instead of “playing games”. Despite the time these activities take away from other things, these rituals create the mental space I need for the day and to accomplish the above list. So important is this activity, that if I don’t have time before I need to begin work, I will carry the puzzle with me and find a few minutes to finish it. For me, this does not count as relaxation because relaxation should come after the hard work. In fact, this ritual must happen so that I can do the work and other necessary activities (hard or not).
So, as we look forward to a summer of work and rest, what are the rituals that will be an integral part of your day, without which no day is complete?