No doubt, 2020 has been a stressful year for all of us, but especially for mothers. To keep yourself (and your kids) balanced, here are a few quick mindfulness tips you can incorporate into your routine.
- Active Listening: One of the best ways to reframe an anxious mind is by active listening. Take a moment to go on a walk and listen to the sounds. Can you hear cars driving? People talking? The wind blowing? Ask your child to listen carefully and share your observations together.
- Counted Breaths: This breathing technique can be practiced by both mother and child when they’re upset. One of the most simple ways to do this is to count to three and slowly breath in through your nose. Once you’ve inhaled, breathe out through your mouth. Continue this for about a minute until you’ve both calmed down.
- Positive Self Affirmations: Positive self talk is important for kids and mothers to practice together. Showing your child how words can shift their mood helps them cultivate emotional awareness. Start by developing a list of positive affirmations. These can include phrases such as, “I am brave even when I’m sad” or “I am gentle with myself when I am angry.” Make sure they’re specific to how you and your kids feel in the moment.
- Comforting Sounds: Mindfulness practitioners use the sound of a bell to recenter themselves when they feel increased stress. Luckily, you can do the same. Consider downloading a mindfulness app that includes the chiming sound of a bell. Teach your kids that every time they hear the bell, they should pause and take a few deep breaths. This is a great way to evoke a calm mindset amid chaos.
- Worry Stones: Carrying around a “worry stone” (aka a smooth rock) in your pocket, or keeping a few close by in your home is a great mindfulness strategy. When you feel yourself getting anxious, or if your child is displaying signs of anxiety, rub the stone slowly with one finger in a circular motion. This exercise helps re-centre the mind.
Mindfulness takes time to develop, especially for young children. It’s important not to give up when you feel frustrated or stuck. Instead, set a “mindful reminder” and take five minutes out of the day to practice. That way you’ll start evoking an easy, positive habit that brings long-term benefits.
Marissa Myers (Ranahan) is a content marketing manager, writer, and holistic life coach. She coaches her clients using a mindfulness-based approach. When she’s not working, you can find her studying herbalism or listening to Enya.