Why Mindfulness Matters.
Let’s face it: we all could use a little pause.
Hi, Practice families.
It has been a WEEK. My younger son’s daycare provider tested positive for COVID last weekend… news we got on Saturday morning, shortly after both my kids woke up visibly congested and highly out of sorts.
I would like to be able to say that I managed this with equanimity… but I did not. I spent that Saturday and Sunday feeling QUITE stressed and QUITE irritable with my kids. In part, I was freaking out at the prospect of my cranky, sick kids and/or as-yet unvaccinated husband having or catching COVID. And let’s be real, in part, I was freaking out at the prospect of my kids potentially being home for THREE WEEKS (two week daycare COVID closure + spring break!) while my husband and I also try to juggle full-time jobs (see this, and also this). Isn’t this pandemic supposed to be almost over?! I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel!
This was a moment at which I could have done better with practicing what I preach– if I had been able to pause to pay attention to my reaction, to notice (and maybe push back against!) my thoughts, or even just take a few deep breaths, I might have been better able to manage this situation with less reactivity.
When we are able to step back and pause to notice what is going on in our minds, what is happening for us emotionally and physiologically, we are more likely to be able to choose how we proceed. We are more likely to be skillful and intentional, more likely to be able to respond rather than react.
This is mindfulness.
In case you are wondering, NO, we are not likely to be successful with this every time. It’s difficult! (I saw Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön speak once, and she told a story about a time she was so angry with her daughter that she threw dishes… so this is a PRACTICE, for each and every one of us!) And it is especially difficult when we are stressed, overloaded, stretched thin, worn out. But the more we practice, the more likely we are to be able to access these skills in the moments we need them most.
Both my kids eventually tested negative. They are both back at school as of yesterday. It was a long week, and it wasn’t always pretty, but we made it. And it certainly could have turned out much, much worse. I did eventually manage to access some emotional equanimity, apologize to my kids and husband, ground myself more in the present moment. But it’s an ongoing practice.
We want to support you and your kids as you work on these skills too– so in the weeks ahead, we’re offering a variety of programs focused on teaching mindfulness skills for kids, teens, and parents– and also programs that hopefully will help you as parents as you continue to practice.
- We have a new monthly $15 Zoom lunch and learn for parents– our April session is focused on how parents can teach kids mindfulness at home, and our May session offers support and concrete ideas around parenting when you yourself are not exactly okay. Registered participants can choose to join live or access the video later.
- We’re launching an April/May Zoom session of our Mighty Minds program, this time for kids currently enrolled in grades K to 3. Spots are limited, so don’t wait!
- Our Quaranteen program for high school girls also will start a new session in April by Zoom.
- And remember, we’re now offering individual mindfulness sessions for students in grades K to 8.
- Finally, don’t forget our 30-day email program for parents, How to Not Lose Your Sh*t With Your Kids. 30 days of a daily morning email giving you the most important nuts and bolts around how to hold it together and access these skills at even the toughest moments with your kids.
Please consider joining us for one or more of these programs! More details and registration links below.
In the meantime, from my family to yours– solidarity.
P.S., This week’s on-topic worthwhile listens/reads:
- Christine Runyan for Krista Tippett’s On Being podcast, on why we’re all (still) struggling: What’s Happening in Our Nervous Systems?
- A relevant replay from Lisa Damour’s Ask Lisa podcast: Toolbox for Terrible Times
- Also from Lisa Damour, for teenagers but also applicable to everyone: Teenagers, Anxiety Can Be Your Friend (NYTimes)
- Stressing out? How to S.T.O.P. (Mindful magazine). Or here is another mindfulness practice I really like (Instagram).
- Why/how to repair with your kids (and maybe also yourself; Instagram).