Weekday mornings are busy trying to help 3 kids and myself ready for the day. I’m microwaving oatmeal (I know making scratch would be harder but hey it’s still a couple steps: tear package, dump, pour water and nuke;), giving them vitamins, signing homework, toasting sourdough for me, cleaning up 2 piles of lab poop in my living room (Thank you Holly), making lunches, etc.
This morning I felt stressed and on edge. My selfcare/lifecoach class (Replenish 365) is teaching me to recognize my warning signs of becoming stressed. I am trying to pay attention to what is going on in my mind and body so that I can take steps to find calm/peace. She (Lisa Grace Bryne) teaches that it is easier to turn on the calm than it is to turn off the stress because chaos still erupts even if we don’t want it to.
One way to turn on the calm is through deep breathing. Hold on, ditch the cynical thoughts of this being fluffy weird stuff because I hear that sometimes when I share this with others. But there is science behind it, click here to hear it (Go to episode on calm mind). So on this crazy morning I am taking a few deep breathes as I am multitasking. My ideal in stress is to retreat to a quiet alone place to do this but sometimes that can’t happen so I have to find what works.
Yesterday morning I forgot to focus on breathing deep and I could feel the tension building in my limbs as I jump in the car to take them to school. My 2nd born asked, “Mama, are you sad?” I am so amazed at this little girls gift of empathy. She not only feels her emotions deeply but she also feels what others are feeling. It is both a gift and challenge because she can be in a stressful room and just carries the tension herself which is not good for her heart. I said, “No, I’m just stressed this morning with the busyness and craziness of this morning with Holly knocking the bowl off the counter and breaking it as we are running behind. I just need a few minutes to calm my heart and take some deep breaths.” So they were angels and honored that and gave me quiet for a few minutes. Now rewind this 3 years from now and that would not have happened with little ones. 😉 I would have had to do it with the noise but as a young mom I did not know this technique which is likely why these times ended with me yelling, kids crying then me crying.
I believe this morning would have been easier to deal with if I had gotten up earlier than them and gave myself some quiet time with journaling, stillness and prayer. But sleep won on this day and that is ok. Move forward. Try the next time I am stressed to spend 2 minutes just taking a few deep breaths.
The Specifics on How to Breathe Deep:
- This is done through nose breathing so I close my mouth.
- I breathe in as deep as I can, trying to fully fill up my lungs. I do this to the count of 4.
- Breathe out through my nose to the count of 8 trying to release every last bit of air.
- For me it is helpful to connect the count to a calming Bible verse. So for the first half (the breathing in part)- I say in my head, “Be still and know”. And as I am breathing out I finish the verse in my mind- “that I am God.” This comes from the book of Psalms chapter 46 verse 10 (46:10)