1. Take a technology break each day when your children are at home. Social media and cell phones do not invite a quiet mind. Turn off all the devices (yours and theirs) for thirty minutes and spend some time together puzzling, coloring, playing non-competitive games, singing, telling jokes or planting a garden. There are many benefits to being fully present as a parent. When you are not distracted by the instant feedback of technology, you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. This can help you listen more fully and respond with greater empathy to your children. It also invites you to refresh yourself by paying attention to the physical need to relax your eyes (soft focus), stretch your hands, your neck, your legs and breathe.
2. Step back and literally observe your thoughts – see the connection between anxious feelings and the story at play in your mind. Notice and label tension in your body or anxious thoughts in your mind without judging them harshly. “Oops, here comes that panicky feeling”. Noticing which ships cruise in and out of the harbor of your mind allows you to choose the ones you let dock and offload their cargo into your life!
3. Be gentle about judgments. When you find yourself thinking ‘I should’ (or shouldn’t) just take a moment to notice any feelings of pressure, self-doubt or self-criticism that go along with those thoughts. Give yourself encouragement and acceptance for doing the best you can in the moment, then invite yourself to consider how you want to use your mental and emotional energy right now.