When overwhelm is too hard to bear…
These days we have all experienced tidal waves of overwhelm. At one point or another, parents and teens have found themselves consumed with unanswerable questions about the future and strong feelings of disappointment, frustration, loss, or fear. It can be hard to see the light through 2020’s forest of stressful surprises and ongoing uncertainty.
Now more than ever, we need to foster bonds with the people in our support system. Allow ourselves to rely on them for encouragement, acceptance, and love. We need to honor our experiences and commit to practices of self-care that minimize stress and support our well being.
Yoga as a self-care practice.
One of my favorite practices for self-care is yoga. Yoga builds inner and outer strengths and reminds us we have the tools within to handle whatever life brings our way. Yoga broadens our perspective of challenges and helps us see that within every challenging situation, there is an opportunity to gain balance, strength, and a sharper focus. It reminds us that our natural ability is to bend, not break.
You don’t need a mat to practice these techniques.
But I also understand that yoga isn’t for everyone. Many of the teens I coach say it is too slow, too boring, or they just aren’t flexible enough to do yoga (which I always remind them takes time and practice.) The good news is that many of the positive, empowering lessons we learn on our yoga mat, can also be promoted off the mat. These practices help reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm, and when shared together, help strengthen the connection between you and your daughter.
Here are four practices I invite you to try:
1. Breathe together.
Have some fun with different breathing techniques and notice how something as simple as the breath can diffuse an intense situation. Try big belly breaths, horse breath, buzzing bee breath, or alternate nostril breathing.
2. Empower her!
In yoga poses, girls learn to strengthen both their mind and body. Foster her inner and outer strength by involving her in important decisions, reflecting healthy emotional reactions, and offering an open and receptive ear when she has something to say.
3. Model and practice balance.
Your daughter cannot be more calm and relaxed than you. Be mindful of the stressors in your life and your reaction to them. Show your feelings while also showing how not to be overwhelmed by them. Talk about how to create a balanced schedule, one that includes plenty of time for home and school responsibilities and also time for fun and relaxation.
4. Share an attitude of gratitude!
Even when things seem bleak, find and focus on what’s right. It can be as simple as eating your favorite food or watching your favorite TV show. Become a Gratitude Buddy with your daughter. Each day, text, write or share gratitude with each other. Remember, it’s not so much about what you’re grateful for, but simply being grateful!