Fall brings a natural change in rhythm, and for our family, this fall has stepped up a bit. I have a daughter getting married, a couple of sons returning to college, we are moving homes, and there are a lot of people to keep steady during all those changes. I know it’s going to take intentional practices to stay healthy and connected to one another. Here are some of the rhythms I am adopting this fall.
1. Make shorter calls and texts more frequently to children and friends.
Presence matters because relationships matter, and amid all the details and tasks, I want to keep first things, first- people. It’s critical to establish new rhythms of checking in. No matter my enneagram number, or how good it feels to cross something off a to-do list, at the end of the day, it’s my relationships that ground me.
2. Give plenty of information and details about fall dates and goings on.
It’s time to break out the Google calendars/wall charts, or whatever tool you use to keep track of commitments and deadlines. Transition is when things can fall through the cracks or sneak up on you and we all feel safer when we know what’s coming and what to expect. In our house, my husband and I go through our calendars on Sunday nights and then, make sure the kids know what they need to know to feel ready for what’s coming, especially if the environment is new or the schedule is changing. Orientation and connection matter because it prevents assumptions and manages expectations. (And in our household, we say ‘expectations are pre-meditated resentments.’)
3. Listen well and ask good questions of my people.
What we need matters, and we can’t help our people transition if we don’t know what concerns them. I ask the same couple of questions to my family regularly, but especially in transition seasons like back-to-school (What are you looking forward to? What are you concerned about? What do you need?) Knowing they have someone who cares and will attend to their needs has saved us from a hard transition more times than I can recount. Information is power, and we can’t fix a problem we don’t know about.
4. Rest, say “no,” and create margin.
To be honest, “yes” is my favorite word, so saying no doesn’t come easily, but self-care matters and there are seasons that require more intentional rest. Margin allows for problem-solving, creativity, and the chance to meet a need you weren’t anticipating. Rest doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone, and while rest for some comes while in motion (walking, swimming, etc…) for others, it can mean a nap. However you make space, rest comes from discretionary time when we can do what we want in a moment, rather than some sort of compulsory activity.
5. Learn, worship, and fellowship.
Staying on the vine matters because it anchors me in the middle of all this change. Studying the Word, losing myself in a good worship song, and spending time with others who share the same values all fill my cup and keep the little things in perspective. I hope I am doing that all year round, but it is especially critical in seasons of transition. Practicing my faith keeps me from feeling anxious about the here and now, allowing me to live more freely and lightly.
Soon, this season will pass and what is new will become routine. New friends, classrooms, environments, and patterns will become familiar, and we’ll grow and stretch to meet new challenges. In the meantime, I want to thrive during change and so here’s to staying flexible and agile in our ever-changing world!