Regardless of where you live in the world, this year has been full of uncertainty, modifications to your lifestyle, and constant change. Parenting is stressful, this year has taken the cake. This year has taught all of us a little about ourselves and our ability to adapt and deal with stressful moments, days, or weeks. Maybe you’ve surprised yourself with how strong you can be when you have to adapt to changes, and you’ve discovered your inner strength. I’m also certain that on some days, you felt depleted. What would you do differently?
It's a new year, a new start and a new beginning. I'm talking to you!
You’re a very important person in your child’s life. When your health or spirit is depleted, you can’t be there for your child and the rest of your family. Maybe this year can begin with you taking care of yourself. Start small and make small changes. I’m only going to recommend one thing because if I recommend 3 or 4, you’ll do none.
Stress can cause fatigue, burnout, and even physical illness. Mindfulness is one strategy that is free, can be done anywhere and only requires a short time. Mindfulness has been shown to decrease brain activity in the amygdala. The amygdala oversees emotions and elicits stress reactions in the body. Are you getting it? As little as 5-10 minutes a day can decrease anxiety and depression and increase mental and physical health.
The practice of being mindful slows down thinking, emotions, and responses. It causes you to pause, identify what you’re feeling, and generate a response that isn’t driven by emotion. Each moment that we have in and around our children creates memories and teaching moments.
- Take a deep breath.
- Pay attention to what is around you at this moment.
You may notice your child’s beautiful eyes, a tree outside, the feeling of your muscles tightening up.
3. Now just take a deep breath. Imagine filling up the two large balloons in your chest cavity with oxygen as your rib cage expands, then exhaling intentionally, as if you’re blowing out candles.
This intention has been scientifically proven to increase empathy, increase gratitude, and decrease stress. I think we could all use a little bit of that these days. Be good to yourself first, and then you’ll be better for everyone else!