Last week I discussed the fourth step in Cheryl Richardson’s book “Take Time for Your Life”. This week I will be looking at Step 5 and applying it to how we can help ourselves become better parents or the parents we want to be.
“Kick the adrenaline habit! Identify the things that fuel you and discover healthy, new sources of energy.”
In Step 3, we looked at the things that drain us and the things that fuel us but we have to know where we are getting our energy from in order to guarantee that we are getting the right type of fuel. Richardson expands on this further during step 5. She describes two types of fuel; premium fuel (derived from things like exercise, nutritious food, love and support) and junk fuel (derived from things like fear, anxiety, and external stimulants like caffeine and sugar).
These junk fuels all contribute to the most widely used fuel in America today – ADRENALINE.
Many of us are familiar with the term: “fight, flight or freeze”. This is one of our in built systems which is used in emergency situations or should only be used in such situations. Sadly, today, many of us have this system running on a “high alert” setting for much of the time. Over time, living like this can drain our adrenal glands, deplete our energy reserves and contribute to stress, anxiety and the production of even more adrenaline, not to mention added health risks.
Richardson highlights many ways for us to “kick the adrenaline habit” such as:
- Building in plenty of buffer times to reduce our overall busyness and rushing around
- Developing relaxation practices
- Eliminating distractions, interruptions and annoyances from our lives
- Focusing our energy
- Allocating specific chunks of time to specific activities
When I think of parents today, I often see very stressed out Moms frantically trying to run their homes, their lives and their children’s lives. They rush around all day squeezing every last bit of energy out of their kids never mind themselves. They are highly pressured to make sure that their kids don’t miss out and have every opportunity to be and do everything. These pressures and stresses, in turn, transfer to their children. The stress and anxiety levels seen in children today is increasing at an alarming rate. We are living in a world where our children are also becoming fuelled by adrenaline and this is by and large due to the pressures that society and parents are putting upon them.
In general, we sleep less, eat fewer meals around our tables, spend less time together as families and spend less time face to face with people than we did only 10 years ago. If what Richardson is saying resonates with you, maybe you could start by making some very simple changes to your routines and daily habits as a family to help you nourish your bodies, minds and spirits with some premium fuel.
We all need time to just be, to restore and reset our systems. As parents we have to make sure that our children get this in their lives as well; time for them to be kids, free from structure, routine, pressure, schedules, camps, activities and the busyness of life.
Our family has just returned from a holiday where we were unwired, unplugged and had the chance to just be. The kids definitely took some time to adjust to this “new” way of life but quickly settled into it and appreciated all that it offered them. It was great to see a group of 9 – 16 year olds playing Monopoly, Kick the Can, Capture the Flag and just being kids, respectful of all ages and gender.
What are you going to do to get off the adrenaline wheel? What are you going to do to ensure that your kids don’t get caught up in the wheel too?
I look forward to hearing from you.
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Registration is now open for my fall Adlerian Parenting Classes, please look under EVENTS and Schedule on our web site for more details. Please feel free to mention this to any friends you know who may be interested.