As a parent, do you ever feel like you get overwhelmed? Or do you feel like you forget the “simplicity” of life before you had a child? Or do you wish that you could get back the quiet and calm times you had prior to being a parent? If you can relate to any of these questions, then here are a few ideas to bring you back some peace of mind.
1.Take a breath.
Pause and intentionally take a minute to breathe. Breathing actually slows down the sympathetic nervous system. This is basically like pushing a button or lever in your body to send a message to calm and relax (Milivojevic 2018). If you find it difficult to slow down, it may be helpful to inhale to the count of three, hold the breath for three counts, and exhale to the count of three.
2. Ground yourself.
Choose an intention or value that is important to you, and quietly repeat this word or intention in your mind throughout the day. Healthy intention-setting or practice can actually change the way you think and what you are focused on. Imagine your child is crying lot one day, but quietly in your mind, you say, “I am open to relaxing”. Or you say to yourself, “I am grounding myself in peace today.” Notice the difference it can actually make in how you see yourself as well as possibly influencing your child to relax.
3. Play mindfully.
Open yourself to the idea of really being present with your child. After taking a breath and grounding yourself with a calm and relaxed message, then it can be time to enjoy yourself in playing with your child, and maybe even having fun while doing so! Notice your child’s movements and the sounds, textures, and colors that he or she is intrigued by. Savor this moment with him or her.
4. Try something new with your child.
Change up your routine with something different in the day such as taking your child to the library to get children’s books or join a story time, take a neighborhood walk, or look up local play groups in the area. Or if you’re stuck at home due to gray weather, change up your setting at home such as bringing out a few containers from the kitchen for your child to play with, alternate different toys that you bring out, or play new music that he or she has not heard before.
5. Guide your child.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and as if your child is controlling your day, are there small ways that you can guide your day together? Perhaps try to create a daily routine that works for both of you. If your child is fussy, assess if he or she is tired or hungry, since often children are not aware or able to communicate what their body needs. Or if your child is fussy, you may be able to redirect him to another activity or choice that he or she would enjoy.
6. Schedule alone time and use it intentionally.
Try to schedule time to yourself with the assistance of your partner, a family member, or friend, since this can help you rejuvenate and feel like you have moments to yourself. Do something that you enjoy such as exercising, grabbing coffee or dinner with a friend, or even checking out something new that you’ve wanted to check out. Self-care in this way can help increase motivation in caring for your child.
Milivojevic, J. (2018, Nov. 6). Simple Breathing Exercises Bring Instant Calm. University Health News Retrieved from https://universityhealthnews.com