December | 2010

Lesson No. 31: Too Much of A Good Thing Is Still Too Much

This fall was the best in years! William, my 7 year old, had a unique passion for school, abundant energy for play dates, and great enthusiasm towards all his interests from art and drama to hula hooping. With so much zeal William was quickly booked 5 days a week with after school activities. Yes, every day, after school he fervently attended Ceramics, Piano, Ice Skating, Drama, Art, or Yoga. But (as you might imagine) when November arrived William crashed. He was more tired and cranky than usual. School became difficult and tears flowed easily when he became frustrated. He stopped finishing his lunches, constantly craved sugar, and resisted going to bed even when he was tired. Clearly, he was exhausted and stressed out.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “But Jillian, your specialty, your expertise, is teaching people how to relax! Helping people learn how to do less”.

And yes, yes, I’ve read all the articles about over scheduling your child…

But everything looks so good… and since he truly loved everything he was doing, it was hard to pull back. But the good old law finally arrived…. even when we love what we do… when we do too much, it takes its toll. Yes, too much of a good thing, is always still too much.

At first, he fought my suggestions to pare things down, but eventually, begrudgingly, he agreed to drop a few activities. Within days his buoyancy returned in every way.

Of course it’s usually easier to see someone else’s stress than our own. But watching William’s energy and joy diminish while doing the things he loved - was a vital reminder that there is no replacement for rest and relaxation – except rest and relaxation.