You’ve been taking care of your children all day but have forgotten to consider your own needs in the process. You’re worried about a difficult meeting tomorrow or you’ve had to go to the bathroom for the past hour. Only once your children are tucked in bed, do you realise you have a headache because you didn’t drink enough today. On busy days, it can be all too easy to forget your own needs. Sound familiar?
However, it’s important not to forget about yourself. If you take good care of yourself, you’ll be able to take even better care of your children. Just think of the safety instructions in an airplane. You are told to put on the oxygen mask first before helping someone else.
One of the principles of our pedagogical policy is Exercise and balance. This calls to mind your body’s fitness, your physical condition and healthy nutrition. These are certainly important, but we tend to forget the fitness of our mind. When you’re mentally fit, you experience less stress and are able enjoy life’s small pleasures. You are mentally balanced.
In order to stay mentally balanced, it helps to have an optimistic mindset. Don’t make a problem bigger than it is and live consciously in the here and now. Of course, that is easier said than done! How can you be consciously mindful of what you, in this moment, are doing, seeing or feeling?
A simple mindfulness exercise is ‘start stopping’. Every time you are about to start a new activity, take the time to pause entirely.
By pausing briefly, you can start the next activity fully aware.
This is a practical and short exercise that I will be practicing this year. So: if you happen to catch me standing still…that means that I am briefly exercising mindfulness of what I need, before continuing onto my next activity.
Would you like to know more about mindful living? The book ‘Mindful Parenting – Finding Space to Be in a World of To Do’ by Susan Bögels is filled with tips and short exercises to work with on own. You will learn to find the balance between a state of being and doing, how to deal with stress, arguments and feelings of guilt and how to see your child’s true nature.