Any parent will
tell you that parenthood is wonderful but it’s far from smooth sailing. Raising
children comes with highs (they make you laugh and their achievements leave you
bursting with pride) and there are lows (tantrums, sibling rivalry and refusal
to do homework, housework, eat veggies… the list goes on). A hectic schedule
filled with work, school, sports, groceries and a myriad of appointments can
leave you feeling completely overwhelmed. Exhausted by the end of the day, it’s
like being on a treadmill that only stops when you’re asleep. Additional
problems at work or with your partner, family or friends can combine with all
of this to leave you in a heightened state of anxiety.
parenting is stressful and when you’re caught up in it, it is easy to lose
sight of what is really important. Unfortunately, parents are often too busy
taking care of everyone else that they do not focus on their own needs. At this
stage of life, your health and wellbeing is everything but often feels
With the New Year
upon us, it is an ideal time to reflect on the way you live your life and the
way you want to live it. New Year’s resolutions are easy to set but
difficult to keep. Whether you vow to get fit or spend more time with the kids,
whatever yours is – rather than set unrealistic expectations, try mindfulness.
a powerful technique that helps you stay calm and in the moment. It helps you
cope in both day-to-day life or deal with tough times. It also boosts your
confidence and has great benefits for your physical and mental health.
There are many
varying techniques for practicing mindfulness. While many individuals like to
meditate I have always found this practice difficult. Instead, I have opted to focus on the
following three simple steps, which if practiced daily will reap life changing
benefits, reducing anxiety and stress and increasing your wellbeing.
Three steps to
self-aware: Being aware
of how you’re feeling when stress or anxiety creeps in is the first step to
managing stress. Try to notice ‘how and where’ it starts to rise in you. What
stimuli has set these feelings off? Does it live in your chest or stomach? Do
you start to sweat or feel anxious? Becoming more aware of your triggers and
noticing how these feelings rise in you will better enable you to manage them
in the moment.
power of choice: When you
start to practice self-awareness, you become conscious of all of your feelings.
Anxiety, stress, anger, happiness and when they start to stir within. Certain
feelings trigger certain responses (think ‘fight or flight’). The power of choice is a critical point
here, because ‘in the moment’ it can feel like you don’t have a choice. That your
response to these feelings is innate. Finding an ‘anchor’, a place to rest and
be in the moment allows you the opportunity to choose how you want to respond to these feelings. It might be in
your stance (try fixing your feet to the ground), breath (slow, deep breaths in
and out through your nose) or bringing your hands together and interlocking your
fingers (position them in front of your heart). Whatever your anchor, it should
feel comfortable, natural and steady you to ‘own’ how you will react to your
with compassion: Understanding that you have
the power of choice and can decide how you want to respond to feelings is a
massive and very empowering realisation. Responding from a loving place means
being gentle, supportive and kind. Showing compassion and empathy when you
would otherwise respond negatively is not an art or science, it’s a choice.
So give it a
go. Next time feelings of anxiety start to swell, try being self-aware, secure
your anchor and choose to respond with compassion. Not only will you create greater
wellbeing and benefit personally, you will positively impact those around you.
The more you practice the easier it
becomes to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life (remember, we are
changing old life habits, so it will take practice and focus. Be patient with
Want to own
your future in 2017 by being mindful and choosing to live your life well?
Stone Retreats are inviting parents (with children) to be part of a two day
focus group from 5 – 7 May, 2017. The retreat provides respite, rejuvenation
and life-strategy coaching. It is a unique opportunity to slow down, reflect
and re-connect with yourself and your child and re-focus on your dreams and
aspirations. Through mindfulness, a strength-based approach and values-based
living techniques, we will guide and support you in taking steps toward living
a balanced, rewarding life. To learn more about the retreat focus group please
register your interest by emailing [email protected]
Stone is a founding FlexCoach and is passionate about
supporting women in business and helping families transition into parenthood.
She specialises in life and business coaching, career management and
transitions. You can see her FlexCoach profile here