In our society today, fast paced productive lifestyles are praised.
Rest, sleep, relaxation and leisure time is no longer a priority.
Work days are increasing with access to instantaneous communication.
Expectations and to – do lists are forever growing.
Let’s be real, it is hard to switch off, leaving us exhausted and anxious.
We all know that what we do influences our kids. Hence, if we are stressed out and in constant overdrive mode, they are likely to catch on.
“ The day you stop racing, is the day you win the race” – Bob Marley
I think these wise words say it all.
Step away from the race, slow down and breathe.
Life can become easier with less perceived pressure and overwhelm, therefore more space for calm and clarity.
Think of the way you felt lying on the beach, sun warming your cheeks, ears filled with the deep sound of waves crashing, engulfed in your favourite book. Now compare it to racing from one commitment to another. There are ways to feel like you did on that beach, whilst still ticking off those to – do lists, and there are ways to help your kids feel at ease too.
How? Keep reading….
Why is this important?
Stress is exhausting, with many negative physiological and psychological implications such as burnout, anxiety and depression. It can even increase risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and heart attacks.
45% of individuals in Australia will experience a mental health condition in their lifestyle and individuals with anxiety disorders are more vulnerable to other issues such as addiction and major depression. Therefore, it is critical to create a foundation of prevention and management techniques for you and your kids.
Give yourself permission to let go and breathe.
So here are some top tips that you and your kids can do together. Every mindful breath makes a difference. Check out these fun suggestions below.
Even just 1 min makes a huge difference. Many people imagine meditation as an elite practice, sitting still in a crossed legged position, overlooking a mountain for hours on end. But let me just crush that perception right now.
You can meditate whist showering, focussing on the sound of the water gushing from the tap, and the warmth of each drop hitting your skin. You can meditate whist walking, in the park, in the city, waiting for your coffee, brushing your teeth, cooking dinner, putting on your socks.
All it involves is the simple act of being present, mindful, focussing on your breath, what you hear, see, or feel.
Just focusing on one thing, then when your mind begins to wander, bringing your attention back to your breath the birds or the feel of your socks slipping onto your feet. It’s as easy as that.
Try it, and you will start to feel the difference.
You may begin to notice things that make you smile, rather than worrying about the next thing to do, how you could have done better, what you did wrong, what people think. It adds up, its worth it. You deserve it!
Some great apps that can guide you through a practice if you prefer:
Headspace App, Smiling Minds, 10% Happier
For your kids: Breath, Think, Do With sesame .
A quick stretch as you get out of bed is better than nothing.
Yoga increases body awareness. Some say it’s a meditative practice itself, connecting your mind to your body.
It reduces inflammation, increases digestion, improves concentration and engages the parasympathetic nervous system which induces a sense of calm and contentment.
Some resources for your kids:
- Kids Yoga Deck – App
- Yoga Pretzels – Deck of cards (can purchase online)
- Yoga Studio, Cosmic kids – YouTube Channel
Some resources for you:
- Yoga with Adriene – YouTube Channel
- Your local yoga studio.
For immediate relief
In a moment of overwhelm or when you can’t sleep, there are some techniques you can do straight away for relief. These are good to keep in your back pocket.
Paced breathing: Breathe deeply into belly, 5 seconds in, 7 seconds out and continue for around a minute.
Paired muscle relaxation: While breathing in, tense all muscles, while breathing out, let go of tension.
Progressive muscle tension: starting from your toes work your way up your body tensing and holding for 5 seconds. Toes, calves, thighs, stomach and so on.
Other feel good practices
This does not mean you have to train for a marathon. Just 60 min per day of moderate activity. Something that you love to do and look forward to. Maybe it can be a time where you catch up with a friend, such as a walk, hike or yoga.
For your kids, team sports such as soccer, netball or sport lessons like dancing, karate or family bike rides, hikes or rock climbing are perfect social and physical activity outlets.
Being outside in nature and connecting to the external world
This is important as focus is becoming more inward with screens acting as platform for work and play, with Australians spending approximately 1/3 of their day in front of a screen. It is important to connect back to our roots and take in the nature around us, breath in the sea air, look up at the trees as you walk through the bush, take a moment and step outside and just admire your surroundings.
It’s important that kids who aren’t aware of a time before computers, are shown other ways for leisure. Encourage this, paint with them, draw, read, cook and bake. A good time for you to unwind too!
You can do this! A calmer more mindful life and a good life. Remember the day you stop racing, is the day you win the race!