Taking a Timeout!

Community Writers - August 28, 2022

As calendars become more filled with school activities, how do you take time to slow dow?

+ Aleisha Barnes - Teacher of Family and Consumer Sciences, very passionate about making a difference in the lives of teens while teaching them how to be an adult

Marcia Berg - Wife, Mother to one college daughter, High School Science Teacher

Leesa Chesnut - Farmer's Wife, Homeschooling Mom to four boys 18-10, business owner

Taylor Cothern - Wife, Boy Mom (2 years old), 6th Grade Language Arts Teacher, Writer

Brynn Howard - Mom to a rainbow baby girl who is now 4, Wife of 15 years, Physician Recruiter and LCSW

Natalie Jones - Mom to 6 year old son, Fur Mom, Wife to a high school teacher, 2nd Grade Teacher, Upcoming Foster Parent

Heather Lindahl - Wife, Mom of three girls (7, 4, 1), Substance Abuse Counselor, Cupcake Business Owner

Lisa Mayhall - Wife, Mom of two teenage daughters (16, 17), Junior High School Principal

 Aleisha Barnes - I’m needing to change up my strategies for slowing down this year. I started teaching in 2020, so for the past two years, I got in the very unhealthy habit of coming home and scrolling social media for an hour to unwind. This year, I’m hoping to reach for a good book or continue my daily walks. Cooking is also a stress reliever for me, but baking is really where I feel less stressed. I think chocolate certainly helps!

Marcia Berg- As a teacher, at the end of the day, sometimes I just need to sit and watch a 30 minute sitcom, read, or even close my eyes and take a short nap. When things are getting really hectic, I try to finish my school work during the week, so I can have a free weekend. My husband and I then try to take short trips to take his dad out to lunch or to visit our daughter at college on the weekend. Or we might just choose to stay home, and do absolutely nothing.


Leesa Chesnut - As a mom of one graduate & two high school students, I am already starting to brainstorm and create my "life with kids in school" plan. It is fun to begin thinking about being an empty-nester with excitement instead of anxiety or sadness. I am transitioning my business already.

- As far as helping my kids to settle into the new year and relax some after a tricky start, we make an effort as a family NOT to schedule events on the first couple of weeks of school. I have found that this allows for recuperating time.
We also take herbs & supplements to support our immune systems and gut health during the first weeks back because we know lots of germs are gathering. I encourage going to bed at an earlier hour and being outside in the afternoons over watching tv when they return home/ finish schooling.


Taylor Cothern - I used to be a teacher that brought home papers to grade, lessons to plan, etc. Since having Adam, I have realized how valuable evenings and weekends are together. So, I am really diligent about scheduling my time at school so that I can leave my work there each day and on the weekends. 

- I put my phone away at least 30 minutes or more before bedtime. I use the 30 minutes or more to read a book or chat with my husband. This intentional choice has made the biggest impact on my life - I sleep better and I feel like I get that valuable time I was hungry for. 

- This year, I am also working to make Sundays a day of rest. Rest for me isn't necessarily sleeping all day and doing nothing. (But don't get me wrong, somedays I just need a nap). But, I am beginning to find joy in baking a treat for the week and meal prepping. I also find that when I do these preparation chores while listening to a podcast, it truly feels like rest and recovery. 


Brynn Howard - To be honest, we are cutting things out of our schedule to maintain a little more balance. Tessa loves dance, but getting her to class is very stressful time wise, so we are taking the fall off. I of course have some mom guilt, but know we will not regret that extra down time at home. 

- To refocus and keep grounded after a hard day of work or school, our favorite thing to do is a night walk. We put Tessa in our large jogging stroller, grab our dog Cooper and a “road soadie” (usually a High Noon or a beer) and walk the neighborhood. We talk, we chill and just are together outside in the place we’ve set roots in and worked hard to be. There is something magical about that time together and I cherish the seasons we get to do this! 


Natalie Jones - I try really hard to not go past contract hours: 4:00 pm. We do a family activity on Saturdays and chores on Sundays. We do a lot of TV time in our household or as Finn is currently obsessive about: Nintendo Wii, Mario Party 9. Sticking to a schedule really helps us to remain predictable.  My husband and I have learned over the years that if one of us has a really hard day, it can be an eat out night of our choice. 

- Dinners: We have a few staples that we do keep in our planned meals: walking tacos (always a win with Finn who likes no food), appetizer night (different appetizers to munch on), dip night! (chips, crackers and different dips to try), wraps, BLTs. 

Heather Lindahl  -  We prioritize family time & doing things together on the weekends. We love pumpkin patch trips, driving around looking at Christmas lights, zoo trips, anything to spend time together & make memories. For myself though? Long showers & guilty pleasure tv after the babes go to bed. Barely kidding. I love to read & sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing for a few hours is a great time for me. I tend to really push positive self-care for my clients at work so I try to make sure I’m regularly doing things that help me decompress and also maintain a positive sense of self.
Lisa Mayhall -  I really try to leave work stuff at work. As educators, we naturally feel like we should be working on something and pride ourselves in "multi-tasking". When my girls were younger, I would find pride in being able to be mom, work on something for school, and maybe watch a TV show in the evening.
- As I got older, I wised up and really took to heart the idea of "less is more." If I have a favorite show I want to watch, I find myself putting my laptop away more and just enjoying the show. If the girls have something in the evening, I don't bring anything home. I go and cherish that time watching them do what they love.
- As a family, for a long time we would unwind from the week on Friday nights by making pizzas and popping popcorn then watch a favorite show together. But as times have changed with the girls getting older, these routines change too. We try to squeeze them in when we can and just pray that when they think back on their childhood, we created memories for them that they also want to do with their families.
- If it's been a hard day, I vent to my family and pour myself a glass of wine! If my kids have a hard day, we sit and listen. We let them feel all the emotions but encourage them to not dwell on what they can't change. Life is often about how to react to people and situations and those reactions often shape who you are, so think carefully. I don't always tell them that "It will all be OK" either, because that isn't always the case.
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