Do you or your children feel a bit overwhelmed with end of the year activities? Family gatherings, sports tournaments, dance recitals, final exams…? The holiday season can be busy and stressful, even if it brings joy and time with loved ones. For this reason, all of us here at Intuition Wellness Center invite you to take a moment to care for yourselves as parents and help your kids do the same. Read on for two techniques you and your family can use to stay grounded and calm.
The STOP technique was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a well-known mindfulness teacher and researcher. It is a simple acronym that is easy to follow wherever you or your child/teen happen to be…
S: Stop whatever you are doing and pause.
T: Take a breath.
O: Observe. Notice what you feel in your body, what emotions and thoughts you are experiencing, and what’s going on around you.
P: Proceed. Continue to do what you were doing or decide to change course based on what you just noticed.
Practicing this technique throughout the day can help you/your child come back to the present moment and refocus on what’s important.
The HALT technique can help you/your child identify how you are feeling and uncover hidden causes of overwhelm, stress, or changes in behavior. The acronym describes four states that may affect mood or behavior…
Sometimes children (and adults) don’t recognize that they are hungry. Hunger can cause anger, sadness, or other strong emotions. If you’re not sure why your child is upset or sad, ask them if they are hungry. When was the last time that they ate? Even if it is close to dinner time, a small snack may help them feel better and carry on with their day.
Anger is a natural emotion we all feel that can be very useful. When left unchecked it can lead both children and adults to act in unproductive or destructive ways and feel badly afterwards. Next time you or your child is feeling overwhelmed or stressed, find out if you/your child are feeling angry. If you/your child are angry, figure out a healthy way to express that anger, like going for a run or punching a pillow. Then take action to resolve the situation at hand.
We live in a time when many people of all ages experience loneliness, even though, in many ways, we are more connected than ever before. Like hunger and anger, it may not be obvious that you/your child are feeling lonely. People may feel lonely even when they are around other people. Check in with yourself to see if you’re lonely and if you feel like your child or teen may be lonely, ask them about it. You could say, “When was the last time you spoke to a friend or other people?” Even a brief phone call or video chat could help you/your child brighten your day.
Have you ever felt really tired and pushed that feeling away so you could focus on what you needed to get done? When this happens, how does your tiredness in the background affect you? For some people, children and adults alike, unchecked tiredness can lead to irritability, anger, sadness, and behavioral changes. Sometimes people forget that they are tired, become reactive, and feel even more overwhelmed because they do not know why they are behaving or feeling that way. Then they may get frustrated at themselves and begin to shut down. While you/your child may not be able to get some rest in certain situations, simply recognizing the tiredness you feel and how it’s affecting you may give you a reset.
You can check in with yourself and your child periodically to see if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and how this may be affecting you. Making this a regular practice can go a long way to helping you and your family live with ease and joy. At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults, and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.