Caring For Yourself While You Care For Your Children
Even when it seems impossible, finding moments of calm during a busy day is important. Short, simple activities like the ones below can cut down on feelings of stress and also help you feel more connected to your child. These activities can be used at any time to relax, reduce stress, and re-connect with your child.
Try the “doorknob practice.”
Take a brief pause just before entering the house or a room. Feel your hand on the doorknob. Notice its texture and temperature. Take a deep breath into your belly. Exhale fully, then enter the house. Leave behind what happened before and focus your attention on what is happening right now.
Help your child make transitions too.
Let your children know a few minutes before making a transition between one activity and another. For example, tell your child it is five minutes until dinner. When it’s time to transition, kneel down to your child’s level. Help them put their hand on their heart while you do the same. Slow down and feel your heartbeat for a few moments. Then move on to your next activiity, together.
Practice “feet on the ground.”
Choose the same time to do this every day. Try it when you wake up, or before you begin a diaper change. While standing, focus on the feeling of your feet touching the floor. Feel the solid support below you. Take three deep breaths. As you breathe in, imagine this breath goes all the way down into your feet. As you breathe out, imagine letting your breath out the soles of your feet.
Be present in the moment of everyday activites.
Select one activity you do many times each day (handwashing is a great one). As you do this activity, pay close attention to your senses. Notice the small movements you make, the feeling of touch, sight, hearing, and even smell as you complete your activity. Focus your attention on your senses and allow any other thoughts to simply go.
The hardest thing about mindfulness is remembering to practice. Try several different practices and use the ones that work best for you. You also might do these together with a partner, friend, or even your child. When you practice with others, it’s easier to make mindfulness part of your daily routine.