Living Arts Weekly: Overscheduled Holidays

October 29, 2023

The slew of festivities that come with Autumn seem to pick up so quickly. With a summer full of activity and family vacations, there is hardly a moment of rest “between” the seasons. It’s not too late, however, to stop and reflect on what we want to do this season, and consider what kind of experience overall would nourish the entire family.

It is easy- especially for us adults- to be captivated by all the offerings of apple fests, pumpkin farms, football viewing get-togethers, hay rides with dinner around a campfire, trunk-or-treats and trick-or-treats, Halloween parties…. And that was just October! We want our children to have these delightful experiences, to know what the season is all about, to have fun being with friends… and then, before we know it, we’re overbooked and we’re all exhausted.

You might have noticed it already in your family. If anyone (adults included!) has been irritable and argumentative, tired and resistant to even the basic routines, overly-reactive, emotionally-sensitive, anxious or seeming to not be “in their body”, chances are they are tired! Luckily, we can all pivot from the pitfalls of over-booked lives and take time for more rest.

It’s especially crucial for children to have several built in days of rest every week, and some restful hours every remaining day of the week. Children take longer to digest and process their experiences. They are more sensitive to stimulating activities compounding upon each other when there is not a significant pause in between them.  The “go-go-go” pace instills stress, builds anxiety, and hinders the chance to connect and appreciate. Constantly moving from one activity to the next sets a child up to not know who or where they are, or have enough time to register what they need to be well. This is most essential for young children, but it is also important for all ages. As adolescents, for example, moving through a lot of growth and tumultuous emotional work, down-time is healing. 

It’s hard to say “no” to all the invitations and opportunities, especially when they come from friends! But as we support each other in finding a healthy life balance for our own families, we can compassionately communicate, “We understand, we’ll catch you another time…” making it easier for us all. Setting boundaries that preserve a healthy balance of activity and rest, instills the habit in our children to do the same. It empowers them to honor their needs and be cognizant and supportive of others.

There is a lot of nourishment in creating a rhythm at home that allows for rest and for aimlessness, which can be restful or active but puts to sleep any agenda. These days invite intimacy and kinship, welcome new traditions and pleasurable activities to arise, allow space for dreaming and connecting with the self. They can reinvent what Autumn (or any season) means for your family.

Our Healthy Home Rhythms course is available all the time for support in creating nourishing seasonal and year-long rhythms for your family. Living Arts Through the Seasons mini-courses are also available all the time and they offer seasonal projects, songs, games and more for creating simple traditions at home. WeNurture Collective offers workshops, articles, books and podcast episodes on creating restorative daily rhythms, daily rituals for nourishment and so much more. 

Best wishes for a truly joyful festival season!