Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May is like December: Top 5 survival tips for the end of the year rush

Every weekend is scheduled with parties, projects, recitals, and tournaments.  Families are scrambling with how to use their upcoming free time.  There are sales at the stores and deadlines on school papers, tests, and vacation plans.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But it’s not.  It’s the other “end of the year.” In my life, May is just like December.
Ask my calendar.  I wrote that quotable quote (a client's brilliant insight) a year ago to remind myself of something that I otherwise seem to forget. The end of school is busier than the beginning.  Activity is ramping up, just as the weather is finally improving and kids are getting squirrely.  I believe it is possible to get through this month without yelling at the kids or losing your mind.  Let’s talk strategy.
1.       Get back to basics.  All human beings need to expend and recover energy.  Clearly May has an abundance of energy drains, but put your recovery needs on the calendar too. Schedule in your healthy living practices like exercise, lunch with friends, reading, down time on the weekend.  These will need to be tweaked as you review the calendar on a week by week basis. 

2.       Simplify.  Look at your meal planning in relation to your evening activities.  If the kids are going to need your attention and support at night because of increased work load, don’t make fancy meals.  You can’t spare the clean up time and chances are no one will notice how skilled your cooking talents are in May.  There is too much going on for anything covered in phyllo dough or new recipes.

3.       Stock up.  Before you go to the grocery store (for Easy Mac or tasty tacos) look ahead at the number of graduations and gifts that you will need for this month.  Just a thought, a gift card is universally accepted by students and teachers.  If you are compelled to be a Martha Stewart then buy some interesting wrapping materials and go for it. 
4.       Sleep.  Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it.  Don’t let daylight savings time trick you into putting more into your day than is humanly possible.  You have to rest up for tip #5.

5.       Be Present.  The rituals we do for the end of year are memories in the making. Don’t miss out.  Take a deep meditative breath before that next event and clear your mind—clutter of “to dos.”  There is magic in May if you can be still long enough to look for it. 

What “end of school year” strategies have worked for you?


  1. Be Present.

    This is my favorite, and something I need to work on. May is a less crazy time than it used to be for me (when I was teaching), but with the book coming out and all the related craziness, I need to remember to be present. Thanks!

  2. "Get back to basics."

    I needed to be reminded to schedule in those simple things.