Try these simple self-compassion practices with the whole family!
Having us all at home during #StayatHomeMN is the new normal for families in the foreseeable future. As our children adjust to distance learning, many parents find themselves working from home while caring for children. This can all feel like a lot to manage.
I must admit that I do not feel calm or in control when I think about the COVID-19 pandemic. But at the same time, I see my children looking to me to see if we going to be safe during this uncertain time. Author and activist, Glennon Doyle, describes this like being a flight attendant. When there is turbulence on a plane, everyone looks to the flight attendant to see if they are going to be OK. If the flight attendant looks calm and strong, then everyone feels reassured.
Even in uncertainty, when we don’t have all the answers, we can still reassure children that we are together and we are doing everything we can to stay safe each day. This can feel like a lot of responsibility when we are feeling uncertain and unsure, too. This means that right now (and during all times of change) building in simple self-compassion strategies for our families to feel supported and safe is critical.
Here are three simple practices families can build into their day to help children build important self-regulation skills while at the same time allowing us to co-regulate together.
Start with slow breathing with affirmations As you start your day, practice Hand Tracing together. Hold up one hand like a stop sign and use your pointer finger to slowly trace up your thumb as you breathe in, and slowly trace down your thumb as you breathe out. Each time you breathe in you can think or say to yourself, I am and each time you breathe out you can think or say to yourself, I am Safe (or Strong or Brave or Ready – any word you choose). Do this for five breaths (one breath for each finger). Ask each other how you feel after five breaths. You can also place your hand on a child’s back while you do Hand Tracing to help them feel your reassuring touch as you breathe slowly.
Try Tree for Focus During the middle of the day, you might find yourself getting tired or distracted. Try a balance move like Tree to get ready for the afternoon ahead. Press your foot into the floor. Standing on one leg, prop your other foot up or place it below or above your knee. Rest your hands at your hips or reach them up like branches. You might remind yourself of the affirmation you used in the morning with Hand Tracing. Or you might choose to think or say to yourself “I can do this”. Repeat Tree with affirmation on the other side.
Legs up the wall with check in Lie on your back with your legs resting against a wall (or on a chair or sofa). As you breathe slowly and rest, ask each other to share one good thing that happened today. Then, ask each other one thing you are looking forward to having happen. Notice how you feel when you just breathe and rest together reset for nighttime. Turning our attention to all the good things that happen makes us feel more positive before bedtime.
Check out our audio, Recharge Your Batteries, to play at rest or bedtime.
Join us at 4:00 Daily on Facebook Live to follow along with Breathing, Movement and Rest strategies. Also, check out our Online Move Mindfully® Services, perfect for your organization or family.
Have you tried these simple strategies to take care of yourself and your family? Leave a comment!