I came across this article from CMHA's latest biweekly update. It speaks to the mental health impact of the pandemic on parent's. They also provided the full research article which speaks further to the work, family life during the pandemic. This article unfolded the starting point for this post and the importance of integrating mindfulness breaks even for one minute a day. If it seems almost impossible to have a moment's more time, I hear that and encourage you to give some space for the need for replenishment and not allowing your "tank" to be running on empty. Here are four tangible ways to integrate a mindfulness break:
1. Deep breathing break.
Simple connecting to your breath noticing where it is at. Noticing whether it is shallow, mouth breathing, or holding. And consciously shifting to inhaling through your nose to a count that feels comfortable, holding if this feels right for you, and breathing out through your mouth for a few counts longer than the in breath.
2. Movement break.
Standing up and moving around in whatever way that feels right to your body to find balance. One that can help people move towards this step is tensing the whole body like a stick for a few moments than jumping up and release allowing your body to become like a wave.
3. Outdoor break.
Getting up and walking around outside or simply taking in some fresh air whether you walk once around the backyard, stand for a moment on your balcony, or go outside and breathe in the blooming flowers.
4. Guided Meditation Break.
Whether this is finding a phone app that supports this for you, or utilizing YouTube Channel that can support this, there are varying amounts of times of different meditations. Favourites of mine are The Mindful Movement and The Honest Guys. UCLA also has 8 guided meditations in 9 different languages.
Integrating a new habit takes time, so even starting in really small ways in the step in the right direction for whatever your wellbeing goals may be.
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I have been working with parents for over 10 years. I have learned a great deal from them as well as from parenting my own children. It has taught me that parenting is the most trying job there is, requires the support of a village, and with the right supports can be truly rewarding.