Mindfulness for parents



Keep it together by letting go

Keep it together by letting go


Here we are, heading into the third year of Covid. Especially as we pass the holiday season and plunge into a new year (and what a year it’s been already), we’re feeling the accumulating weight of the losses that come with this pandemic. Even as we’re feeling like we’re getting used to it, we are no less stressed out. So we’re getting used to being stressed out.

Writing for Mindful.org, clinical psychologist and mom Stefanie Goldstein understands. She writes: “We have been asked to hold, adapt to, figure out, and manage on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, more than our nervous systems are designed to handle.”

Yes, even the mental health professionals are struggling. That may sound like bad news, but it’s not. Sometimes the best thing isn’t necessarily finding the answer, but properly framing the questions in ways that make sense. She writes: “So, how do we as parents take care of ourselves when so much is being asked of us? How do we find new ways to support ourselves when the old ways are no longer available? How do we find the space to nurture our own tender, vulnerable hearts, and the hearts of our loved ones?”

READ MORE: Mindfulness for the whole family

Dr. Goldstein offers seven concrete tips:

1. Allow Your Inner Experience: In short, remember: “What we resist persists.” so Allow yourself to feel how you feel. Don’t fight it or apologize. Embrace yourself.

2. Practice Acceptance: Dr. Goldstein says this is the hardest. The amount of things we don’t want increases by the day. But she says, “When we can meet our reality as it is, that is the moment options become available to us.”

3. Be Flexible: We’re being forced to change. Allowing for that – to a degree – “will invite a greater sense of ease… This doesn’t mean you throw all rules out the window—structure and containment are also important, but this is a time when we all need a little extra connection, comfort, and flexibility.”

4. Be Compassionate: “What has become clear to me is that we are all hurting in some way right now,” Dr. Goldstein writes, “so we are not always our ‘best selves.’ This includes our kids.” And ourselves: “There is no greater gift or healing balm than self-compassion in those painful moments.”

5. Find Space to Forgive: Luckily, Dr. Goldstein’s kids’ resilience, and ability to move on, has taught her a lot. Regarding us grownups, she advises: “See where you are holding on to past hurts, and invite your grip to soften, even if just a little. Your heart will thank you.     

6. Practice Gratitude: Harder than it sounds, thanks in part to doomscrolling. “Are you scrolling social media for endless hours a day?…Or are you focusing on what’s going right instead of what’s going wrong? What are you grateful for right now?

7. Remember it’s “For Now”: “We sometimes need tricks to help us come back to the moment and stay connected to the fact that everything, and I mean everything, changes. One way I have found is to add these two simple words to the end of your forever-feeling statements: ‘for now’ or even, ‘right now.’ When we return to the present moment, acknowledge the pain of this moment, understand that this moment will change, and offer ourselves and our kids compassion and understanding, we can open up to the profound knowing that right now, in this moment, we are all okay.”



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