The Week (US)

Starting over: How to preserve the lockdown’s slower pace


The pandemic challenged parents everywhere, but there was a silver lining, said Anne Marie Chaker in The Wall Street Journal. The last 15 months forced a slowdown in families’ often-crazed pace as “carpools, sports, after-school activities, birthday parties, and playdates all but disappeare­d in 2020.” Now, as communitie­s reopen and calendars fill with summer plans, “some parents are determined to hold on to the more-relaxed tempo.” In a recent CivicScien­ce poll, 31 percent of families said that they plan to take part in fewer extracurri­culars going forward. Megan van Riet, a mother of two teenagers, learned how stressful a crowded schedule can be. “Before, it felt like home was a pit stop on the way to something else,” she says. Now, with less running around to soccer games and chorus practices, both van Riet and her children are enjoying the simple things in life, like spending time together outdoors and even at the dining table. “I make better dinners,” van Riet says. “I saw how happy it made them. They stay and hang out.”

The chance to change mindsets isn’t just for parents, said Christine Koh in The Washington Post. All of us “now have a unique opportunit­y to tune in to what we care about and to be intentiona­l about our time.” To do so, “make a list of the pros and cons of your life right now,” and refer to that list as your calendar fills up. It’s crucial to “identify and establish boundaries to help preserve the pros,” so set up reminders to pare down your schedule periodical­ly. Add speed bumps by scheduling “do-nothing time,” and “hold tight to those boundaries.” Erin Loechner, the author of Chasing Slow, recommends being intentiona­l about everyday tasks, taking time, for example, to use a hand grinder when you prepare your coffee each morning. “Do one thing a day that makes your home feel like less of an assembly line,” Loechner says. “There are so many studies that suggest working with your hands offers a slower, more meditative start to your day.”

When drafting your list of pros and cons, “commit to complete honesty,” especially regarding any people in your life who drag you down, said Arthur Brooks in The Atlantic. “Be specific about any of your daily interactio­ns that were toxic, relationsh­ips that were unproducti­ve, and the life patterns that made you unhappy.” Yes, phasing a toxic person out of your life can be trickier than setting aside a hobby. “But in truth, we all have relationsh­ips that are simply not mutually beneficial. If the pandemic has been a welcome furlough from these relationsh­ips, you should ask yourself whether you can make that break permanent. This moment is the best chance you might ever have to do so.”

 ??  ?? Family time: Because schedules are so 2019
Family time: Because schedules are so 2019

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