In the face of a little one struggling, it's our job to share our calm not join their chaos. As the above saying goes…
But how can we muster or keep enough calm to share it?
Whether you're a parent, child therapist or teacher your patience is constantly being tested! Here are some tips I've found along the way of trying to share my inner calm!
This month's post is featuring some general maintenance/preventative measures for keeping your calm. Be sure to catch part 2 next month when I will be sharing strategies of keeping calm in those extra heated moments! You can be notified straight to your inbox when that is released by signing up to our newsletter here.
****Please note this is not about being perfect parent/teacher/person. Read more about why your child doesn't need you to be perfect over here.
1.Have at least one team mate.
Feeling overly responsible is a quick way to fizzle out. It really does take a village so recruit family, friends, teachers, & other help wherever you can. Have at least someone you can lean on and brainstorm with.(For therapists this specifically will include your supervisor.)
Regular exercise helps regulate your mental and physical body. We need to keep our immune system strong with this tiring work with children. Exercise is a great relieving of stress and anxiety too. My favourite is yoga as it helps me burn energy as well as relax.
3. Scheduled time to yourself
This can include exercise, getting out or even just an extra snooze.
4. Protect said time to yourself.
Treat it like a non negotiable doctors appt. Put it in your google calendar! In the past I have been too easy to move about my schedule to accommodate others but since putting in "me time" as a routine self care measure its been a lot easier to protect. Because it's the same time and day each week I don't even have to think about. It's stuck in my calendar set to repeat every week. Non negotiable.
5. Nourishing food and water.
“Hangry” ain't pretty. We've all been there. I always keep healthy snacks in my bag like nuts, seeds and dark chocolate (and hot honey water especially during winter months). These high fat but healthy options help get nutrients to my brain asap. The ideal is to not need those emergency supplies. A good way to do this is to meal plan. I've slipped out of practice on this. Please feel free to share your tips on this in the comments!
6. Meditate/mindful moments.
I know meditation can feel a bit intimidated or boring to some but the research shows it helps keep ourself in check and take a step back from our initial reactionary impulses in favour of more tolerant loving responses. Mindful moments may feel less threatening. Take just a few seconds to appreciate the beauty of wherever you are. Bring your attention to what you can feel with your hands, smell, hear, taste. Listen out for the faintest sound. This can really help tame a racing monkey mind and help us slow down to be more present.
7. Read a fiction book
I don't know about you but it seems working or being in any way responsible for children gives one a hankering and thirst for more knowledge! After all kids are often so spontaneous and able to throw us a curve ball which can trigger self doubt. I often slip into reading lots of non fiction books which turns on my academic brain. Although the knowledge is often useful, so too is some time spent switching off my brain. Reading fiction is a fantastic way for me to get some distance from my responsibilities and some good perspective. It's far more relaxing than TV. (Tell me some of your favourite escapist books in the comments!)
Of course! Give yourself permission to be goofy and silly! Give yourself permission to play! This is not only good for de-stressing but also helps you connect with that inner child. A great asset to have along with you when dealing with kiddos.
So that's the things that help me stay relatively calm when I practice them on regular basis. I have by no means perfected this and I would love to hear your tips on keeping it together when the play dough hits the fan! ;)
Please share because you may help one of us from blowing our top which let's face it benefits everyone!