Ready,set, go.......!!!! Back to school feels like a marathon sending everyone off on a wild goose chase for new backpacks, lunch boxes, and school supplies. Summer is for SLOWING DOWN!!!!!!! But how do we keep that slow pace all school year with homework and extracurricular activities? Keep our daily activities SLLLLOOOWWWWWWWWW!!!!! I'm trying a new thing with my high schooler this year. We spend 5 minutes meditating and praying in the car on the way to school. This is as simple as an OHM and a prayer, and an OHM and a prayer, and so on for 5 minutes. At first he was rolling his eyes, because he wanted to listen to the dumb comedy show on the radio, and I wanted to pray and meditate all the way to school, so this was a great compromise! It's very centering and relaxing and gives us a good start to our day. It keeps us present in the moment and not stressed or worried about traffic. We both find it very soothing, and it makes us feel like we are doing something good for the world and ourselves. Hopefully he will reflect upon and even use this practice in his adult years. He's actually enjoying it now!

After we have some laughs from the radio show and I drop him off at school, I have found it helpful to do my workout at the YMCA, or I walk 3 miles around the lake. This way I can keep my mindful pace going. I continue with my prayers and chanting or, I just take a moment to enjoy nature and be fully present in the environment.

I'm finding more families are taking a month, 6 weeks or even the whole summer to vacation and take time to really be present with their kids with no agendas or hectic schedules. Not everyone can afford to do this every summer but there are some creative ways to make it work financially. Since I am a massage therapist. I can practice my profession anywhere and, I can get referrals in different areas of the country.

Some people can work from home. This year I could only take a week off with my family. My partner works for the city and can only get so much time off. We traveled to the west coast and, the most amazing times together were when we played in nature and did absolutely nothing! It was wonderful! My son just loved watching the windsurfers and it was a magical moment of being present together.

If your family cannot afford a vacation you can always have a staycation and turn off phones and TVs and pitch a tent in the back yard or, go to a public park for the weekend to camp out and unplug. There are lots of creative ways to slow things down and enjoy great conversation and good times with your family without distractions.

My teenager didn't have a handheld device or technology for the whole week of our vacation and he didn't even think about it. He actually gets the concept of unplugging and enjoys it! If you have more insights on making back to school more serene and less hectic I would love to hear them! Good luck!