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Meditation Fairy

How To Manage Stress As a Parent

When you’ve told someone that you feel stressed either at work or home because you were a new mom, what have you been told? 

Let me have a few guesses:

“You just need a holiday.” 

“Have a massage.” 

The issue with these ‘go-to’ recommendations is that they imply that stress will only go away when these events happen.

So even though you might feel less stressed when you are on holiday or having a lovely message (and don’t get me wrong, I love both of these)…

…your anxiety or worry is likely to come back the moment you get home. 

Why? 

Because you didn’t address the real problem AND allowing someone or something to be responsible for lowering your stress means you are now dependent on that someone or something. 

And let’s face it, you can’t spend your life on holiday or at the spa. 

But there are many things that you CAN do to manage your levels of stress. 

Things like finding moments of meditation throughout your day or introducing calm at home. 

I’ve talked about these in the context of helping kid’s anxiety but managing your stress as a parent is just as important. 

It will help you react better when your kids trigger you and allow you to set an example to your kids of the type of person you want them to be. 

When you can manage your own stress, you will sleep better, have more patience and become more empathic. 

This helps with every aspect of your life, not just parenting.

If you’d like to learn more about stress triggers and management, visit this blog post:

Stress Triggers: How To Identify Them

identifying stress triggers

Stress Triggers: How To Identify Them

I was in the neurologist’s waiting room fearing the worst. 

After feeling dizzy for about a month I actually decided to see the doctor. And after a series of tests I was now waiting for the result. 

Anticipation, I’ve come to learn, is generally always worse than the actual event.

Thankfully it wasn’t something serious, but something called vestibular migraines. They are like regular migraines except they make you constantly dizzy with some vertigo thrown in for good measure.  

The doctor explained that just like other migraines, they usually occurred in response to a trigger and that I had to find mine. 

After weeks of going through the list of possible food and drink triggers it turned out that my trigger was (thankfully not chocolate), but in fact just plain old stress. 

Saying that stress was a trigger was like saying that some or all fruits were a trigger. I needed to get more specific, was it apples, bananas, a combination of both? 

It’s the same thing with stress, except that unlike fruits, we cannot just simply cut it out of our lives.  At any given point we are all under some kind of stress. 

So what do you do, live with it? … well, No! 

In overcoming my vestibular migraines I realised 2 things: 

1) There are some stressors that you can remove from your life. We are usually embarrassed, ashamed or feel guilty about removing them. 

2) Your reaction to those stress triggers will dictate how well (or badly) that stress affects you.  In my case how badly my migraines would become. 

This is part of what led me to meditation. I wasn’t trying to become enlightened or a monk, I just wanted to feel better, to feel like a normal person again.  

Eliminating triggers doesn’t mean you have to change your entire life. But it does mean you have to become more observant and aware to be able to identify them.  

For example, during my parent’s course I ask students to focus on identifying their stress triggers in the week ahead. Recently one of them said this exercise made a massive difference in her life.

She realised that after having inadvertently agreed to pick up a friend before a lesson 3x a week she found herself constantly hurrying and pressuring her son to finish his homework. Homework for those 3 days a week was a battle, mum and son were constantly upset and frustrated with each other.

After realising this, the solution became immediately obvious. To tell her friend (even though she felt guilty about it – but that’s a topic for another email)  that she was no longer able to collect her. 

Even though it was only 15 extra minutes, they made a huge difference. She no longer felt she had to hurry and was able to enjoy helping her son with his homework. Their relationship improved and they got homework done faster!  

Eliminating stressors are not always about changing jobs or ending relationships, sometimes they can be small things like having an extra 15 mins with your child that make a huge difference to how you both feel. 

So tell me, do you know your stress triggers

How To Handle Kids’ Meltdowns

Going back to school after the holiday break is hard for kids.  

But you know what’s harder? Going back to school after lockdown. 

Emotions are running high on every side, and the moment kids are back home from school, they are likely to let all their emotions out. 

On you… 

And maybe you’ve heard this is actually a compliment because it means they trust you and feel safe enough to have that emotional outburst knowing you will not stop loving them.  

But I know that at that moment, it doesn’t feel like it. 

So how do you get through them? 

In breathwork, there is a saying: “If you resist, it will persist.” 

I believe something similar applies to meltdowns/tantrums/emotional outbursts. 

If all you are thinking at that moment is: “OMG, please let this be over soon,”… it is likely to take longer. 

Instead, here is my suggestion: 

Allow space for the emotional outburst and become an observer instead of a participant to it. 

When you become an observer, you can emotionally detach yourself from the result. 

As long as they are not hurting themselves, they can be angry, shout, cry or be silent. 

Sit with them through it. Observe it without judgment and be willing to offer a hug if they need it. 

Remember, it has nothing to do with you. They are processing emotions. 

Then talk about it when they are calmer. Label the emotion, ask what they were feeling. 

For example, you seem, angry sweetheart. How does that feel in your body? Does your belly or head hurt? 

This type of communication is key to help them become aware of how they are feeling and why. 

And really, this is why I encourage learning meditation. It gives children core skills to learn emotional regulation. 

How I taught my 6 yo about Manifesting

How I taught my 6 yo about Manifesting.

How I taught my 6 yo about Manifesting.

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Last summer we went hiking in an area in Switzerland called Grindelwald. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen.

Here is a pic of our hike:

Half way through the hike it started raining, actually a full-on thunderstorm with lighting starting pouring down. 

My son was scared (and if I’m honest I was a little bit scared too), we were in open plains with no cover in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm. 

He started crying and said “I don’t want to walk anymore, I want to be at the hotel”… unfortunately we still had about an hour’s hike to get down not to the town, but only to the next ski lift where we could catch a ride down. 

We sat down next to some bushes to wait the worst out. I kept repeating to my little one that he was safe, that we were all safe, that soon the storm would pass and we would be able to get down. 

Even though we were wet and a bit cold, we all huddled together and kept repeating that it would be ok. 

But S also kept repeating he didn’t want to walk anymore, he just wanted to get to the hotel… “no more walking mummy” he said time and time again. 

As the storm started subsiding, we started walking again and after less than 100mts around a bend, I saw it. 

A BUS! 

Halfway up this mountain, there was a bus about to leave for the centre of town right in front of us. I couldn’t believe it. 

S turned to me and said, “I told you I didn’t want to walk any more mummy, let’s get on the bus”. 

To say I was shocked to see the bus would be an understatement. 

I’ve done some good manifesting in my life. 

But manifesting a BUS halfway up a mountain, that we had no idea would be there AND that was only there a few times a day… that was some next level manifesting. 

 

We can create with our thoughts. 

Instead of saying to my son, “oh that was lucky” or brushing it off I seized the opportunity to congratulate him on making the bus appear out of nowhere… i.e. manifesting it. 

I explained to him that we can create things with our thoughts – good and bad-. 

And that when he dearly wished with all his heart to be safely back at the hotel and not to walk anymore – his wish was manifested through that bus. 

You may say that this is just encouraging him to believe in “magic” or that he may become lazy and sit back waiting for things to appear in front of him. 

There is a big difference in teaching (or enabling) someone to be lazy and encouraging self-confidence and self-belief. 

For example, I’ve taught him to help put his laundry in the washing machine since he was 4 – this way he knows that laundry doesn’t magically appear in his bedroom. 

But I’ve also taught him that visualisation and breathwork can help him perform well in his school plays. 

And when we were on that mountain I didn’t let him or encourage him to sit there in the bushes and wait for a miracle… we still had to walk a bit more. 

It was there, after having picked himself up and walked a bit further – when he didn’t want to walk anymore- that the magic appeared. That single act taught him resilience AND self-belief.   

It’s all about balance. And I want him to believe in equal measure that hard work is as important as the thoughts he thinks every day. 

As someone who struggled with depression and burn out, I KNOW this to be true. Because no matter how hard I worked to get through it, it wasn’t until I put my mind and thoughts into it that things started to change.

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“I can’t do this anymore… even sneaking away to the bathroom isn’t working anymore”

“I love my kids dearly, but I just need to be away from them”

“I need more than 10 mins on my own… I need a full week away”

Sound familiar?

We have now been living with a pandemic for a year and this latest lockdown is the equivalent of the 20 mile mark of a marathon… i.e. hitting the wall.

If you want to get scientific, during a marathon “hitting the wall” happens when a runner’s glycogen (i.e. his or her stored energy) in the muscles is depleted. This forces the runner to slow right down, sometimes even to a walk, if not to a complete halt.

I think there has never been a time when so many non-running people have perfectly empathised and understood the concept of hitting the wall.

So what can you do when you desperately need time for yourself, but you just can’t get away from your house and everyone inside?

You take time for yourself… together.

Seems counterintuitive right?

But the reality is that when you close your eyes during a meditation you go inwards, so does it really matter whether your kids are next to you or the house is a mess?

If you are thinking, “but I read that to meditate I need to set up a clean tidy area where I am not going to be distubed, so then I can’t do it”… please don’t let this stop you.

Yes this would be great in an IDEAL scenario, just like it would be ideal if cake didn’t have calories.

We are past ideals or perfect scenarios, we need to work with what we have. And if that means inviting your kids to meditate with you for 5 or 10 minutes, then that’s where you start.

My hubby used to get annoyed when our then 4yo sat next to him near the end of his morning meditations.

We spoke about it and I said why don’t you reframe that?

Imagine all the love he is feeling for you in that moment and take that love into your meditation.

Feel grateful that he is there with you, feel the love he has for you and the love you have for him.

After that conversation, he tried it and said it was such a beautiful end to his meditation that he looked forward to our little one joining him more often.

We are all tired, we all want things to go back to some sort of normality or at least be able to see family and friends.

But for now, we are in THIS moment.

And our anger, frustration or annoyance at why can’t things be different, won’t change the NOW… but it’s highly likely to continue to add more stress hormones to our already tired bodies.

The good news is that at each moment, you get to choose. I choose to take time to myself and if that means doing it with my son, that is also ok.

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