How often do you relax during the day? Is your time spent relaxing productive and valuable?
Take a moment to think about the above questions.
In this article, we will break down each question and pinpoint why they are important to you. We will give you some suggestions on how to live more in the moment and break nasty habits of rushing through life.
How often do you relax during the day?
Let’s face reality; parenting in today’s world is busy. Doctors recommend 5 minutes each hour to quiet the mind and relax muscle tension, but most parents are lucky to get 5 minutes in a 24 hour time period. In order for you to be more productive and for your mind to be at its top performance, you must allow yourself to take time out, at least once every hour. It is vital to your health and well-being. It regenerates your energy level and allows you to think more clearly. A good example to explain this better is by examining the safety instructions adults receive when flying on an airplane with small children. The flight attendant instructs the adult to first, place the oxygen mask over themselves to allow proper breathing before assisting a child with their oxygen mask. The adult must take care of their needs before they can successfully take care of a child. Yes, placing an oxygen mask during a flight complication is an extreme scenario, but it shows how, taking proper care of yourself will ultimately give you the strength to be a better parent.
I know some of you are still thinking, “Who has time to relax?” and this may be the hardest challenge most will encounter while building a healthier schedule. Actually, most of us are programmed to believe relaxing during the day is lazy and unproductive. I am not insinuating we shut down like Spain for a siesta, but a few minutes each hour will replenish your mind and body.
The best way to start reprogramming your schedule is to remind yourself to do it. There are all kinds of great products to help you. There are; bracelets that vibrate, special apps for phones, and even email services. But, the simplest way to begin today is by choosing a color. Each time you see this color take a deep breath. When you exhale, close your eyes and visualize all the tension leaving your body. Try focusing only on your breath and how good it feels to relax your muscle tension. An easy way to help clear your mind from distractions is to imagine the color swirling around you. Start the swirling color around your head, melting the tension while passing each area of your body until you have circled around and out your toes. Remember, most people carry higher levels of tension in their brow, jaw, shoulders, hands, and feet. Give these areas a little extra attention when relaxing. You will be Amazed at how far your mind can truly relax your muscle tension. This technique can be done just about anywhere. If driving, please wait to be completely stopped at a traffic light before closing your eyes.
Is your time spent relaxing productive and valuable?
Unfortunately, most adults have lost the ability to just sit with themselves and observe their surroundings. As children we do this very easily, but as we grow older we start to lose this wonderful “living in the moment” quality. It can become difficult to pay attention to our environment because we are so focused on our inner mind struggles. Mostly consisting of; worrying, dwelling, or even worse, we focus on things we have no ability to change, but still continue to waste our thoughts on.
This is an easy fix, simply redirect your thoughts as soon as you notice the negative thought pattern, but like all habits it will take a while to undo. Here is a scenario on how it works; pretend you are watching your child play a lacrosse game. Instead of focusing on the game, you notice your mind thinking about the bills that need to be paid at home. You are worrying about something you cannot control at this moment. You are wasting your valuable thoughts on something you have no control of at this time. To be more productive, enjoy the experience of your surroundings. Value your precious time and be proud of the fact, you are living in the moment. This is a huge accomplishment for most. At first you may need to redirect your thoughts more often, but don’t be discouraged. Focus more on the accomplishment of recognition instead of how often you are doing it.
Next time your child acts up and needs to be discipline, instead of placing the child in time out, try sending yourself for a time out. Tell the child that because of their behavior mommy/daddy needs a time out. Make sure the child is safe and take a few minutes to reenergize you.
There are two benefits from this scenario. First, you will get a moment of quiet time. Second, your child will learn, from your example, time outs are not bad. Instead, time outs are a valuable tool in keeping stress levels low.