These two words “mindfulness” and wellbeing” are cropping up more and more and in different places too. The most common place now is with parents. New parents, parents with toddlers, parents with teenagers, parents with boys, parents with girls. You get the idea!
We’re all now being asked to focus more on our wellbeing. The saying “happy Mum = happy baby”. It’s about looking after ourselves and in some instances taken time out to do the things we enjoy. To remember who we are.
It’s not all about smiling 24/7
Let’s face it, unless you work at Disney, it’s hard to be happy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There’s kids to look after and bow down to their every demand, a house to run and make sure it’s at least tidy and there’s clean clothes somewhere. A partner to nod and smile to when they tell you about their day. Then there’s your job!
To think you were considering going for a run to help you clear your head!
But that’s exactly the kind of thing that is now being promoted to parents. Taking the time to do something for you. Something to help clear your head. To help you to relax.
As a parent it then puts you in a better frame of mind. Think about how much better you feel when things are just getting a bit too much and everyone is shouting. So you just put everyone’s coats on and head out. Shutting the door behind you. You can deal with it when you come back. When you do come back, everyone is a lot calmer, happier and that disaster of a house you thought you had, seems much more manageable and ready to tackle.
This is why there is so much focus on parent’s wellbeing – we need to be mindful of “us”.
The concept of “Mindfulness”
Yes a form of meditation which some of us will roll our eyes at. But in actual fact it’s a great way to bring us back into the moment. Helping us to enjoy the here and now and above all let us think about and see ourselves.
It can help bring clarity and focus. As well as a way to stop worrying about the future. You know the saying “it hasn’t even happened yet”. And it might not, but as parents worrying is instilled into us. Mindfulness can help to relieve some of these stresses and for us to also, be able to recognise them.
As parents if we think about paying more attention to the present moment, we’d probably realise how much happier we are. Learning to live in the moment, without worrying about what will happen at work tomorrow or will the kids go to sleep tonight so you can get on with some tidying.
We live in a digital age so we need to make the most of some of the great apps available to help us to manage our wellbeing. To help us focus a little more – if like me you can become easily distracted. Sites such as HeadSpace, provide you with a personal trainer to help train your mind! Ok, it might sound drastic but it’s a nice handy way to get some quick fire hints and tips about things you could do or different ideas which might help you.
Another interesting app is Happy Tapper. Which helps to change your thoughts, visualise your dreams into actions and provides inspirational quotes throughout the day. Something to maybe make you smile or just sit back and take note of.
Recognising the signs
Looking further into our own wellbeing and finding out about mindfulness, let’s us then begin to understand and look out for some of the signs of stress and anxiety. This is especially important as we can then start and recognise these signs in our children.
We can begin to pick up on subtleties that something isn’t right. Your child is more quiet than usual, biting their nails, distant. We can then start and help them to work through this, together.
It’s about realising that sometimes everything else can wait and yours and your children’s wellbeing and mental health have to come first.
Increasing in popularity
The proven success of mindfulness has encouraged local libraries to now promote mindfulness books within their children’s sections. Allowing kids to find out first-hand how to relax and stop the stress from building. To start and understand a bit more about themselves as well as others.
Schools are also seeing the benefits of some of the mindfulness techniques when it comes to exam time. It’s another tool for educators to use to help those pupils who do worry, who do think so far ahead that they can’t enjoy what is happening right now or focus on the reality.
Over the past year or so there have been a number of reports and press about the importance of happy mum = happy baby.
Taking some time out, doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you a sane one. Helping you to stay focused, relaxed, happy and also confident. All of this and more shines through when it comes to our kids. Helping them to understand more about themselves as well as others around them. If looking after our wellbeing and thinking about mindfulness teaches us anything, it’s about how we start living for today.
Taken from the July 2017 issue of Geek Parenting, out now!