Get Ready for the Holidays…

Get Ready for the Holidays with a Stress Reducing Morning Routine

Guest Blog by  Daniel Sherwin at DadSolo.com

Everyone knows that the holidays can be stressful. However, there are ways to prepare for the season that will help you to enjoy it more. One way to do the holidays right is to create a morning routine that helps get you out the door with as little chaos as possible. Here’s how:

Solo Dad Pic

Image Source: DadSolo.com

Additional Holiday Morning Routine Resources:

  1. Prep the night before and other tips on how to establish a morning routine for kids that actually works
  2. Easy and effective home organization tips
  3. De-stress your morning routine tips
  4. Breakfast to go and other secrets to getting the kids to school on time
  5. Get plenty of sleep and other tips on how to establish a morning routine for kids that actually works
  6. Play music (Revolutionary morning routine hack for kids)

Now that you have a plan for your mornings, you can be ready for whatever the day has for you. You can enjoy the upcoming holidays knowing that you and the kids are good to go.

It’s not perfect… it is as it is ….and within that are some really great moments!

moreton island

I was really lucky recently to be able to go camping on Moreton Island, QLD with my partner and four kids for 8 nights with just the basics (e.g. cold showers)…. and it really felt like a retreat from the world as we slept, snorkelled, kayaked, ate and slept some more!

But as the layers fell and we slowed down… and we focussed more on being and less on doing I noticed that even then….even when things were really peaceful and less stressful, my mind would STILL be classifying each moment as ‘like that’ or ‘don’t like that’ and I would be disappointed that this holiday wasn’t PERFECT!

It was almost as if by slowing down I became more aware of my mind’s ‘chatter’ and I was amazed that even when on a tropical island there was still potential to be unhappy… e.g. ‘it’s too hot’, ‘it’s raining’, ‘there’s mossies’, ‘I wish we had fresh fruit’ ‘the kids are fighting again’ etc. It didn’t seem to matter how relaxed we were I was still finding things I wanted to avoid or crave.    I would dwell on memories of  past holidays and wish that this one would have that same or even better moment of happiness, connectedness or relaxation…  I was spending a lot of my holiday in the past or the future and not in the present!

This got me thinking about the Buddhist principle that aversion & craving cause our suffering/distress.   As humans we tend to classify moments as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral and crave more of the pleasant and try to avoid the unpleasant.  Maybe this is human nature and it may even be an important survival strategy?    But if we are to be content with the present moment we need to observe our judgements and not get too caught up in them.   E.g. ‘I’m having the thought that it would be really nice to have air conditioning/ a more comfortable mattress /  a hot shower right now’ and let that thought drift by and remain in the present moment…

As I noticed these thoughts and became less caught up in them I was able to be more and more immersed in the present and less and less bothered by the  ‘unpleasant’ features of camping.   Each time I noticed them I would think ‘This isn’t perfect, it is as it is, and within that are some really great moments!’ and somehow this helped – in fact it is still helping me to adapt to life back in the real world!

I hope you all had a good start to the New Year with some time to reflect and be mindful 🙂

Mindful Monday Mornings

Phew….it’s tricky getting back into getting everyone (including me!) to work and school on time!  Something I have found so useful….especially when we are running late and I want to deliver that all-time lecture to the kids!….is to breathe out to the very last bit of air I have at least 3 times!  For a more effective calming (&funnier) effect I will even buzz like a bee for 3 full breaths out!  The effect of this is amazing….I feel calmer and the whole car atmosphere is alot calmer too (generally kids are laughing)!

These strategies come from an amazing parenting programme called Bringing Up Great Kids where they use the research from Dan Siegel that reflects that just 3 breaths can calm us down enough to begin to respond creatively and calmly to our kids rather than from our usual fight / flight / freeze highly charged response!

Google Flipping the Lid or Brain in the Hand for some great short video explanations of how our brains work and how we can calm them down!   It really works!  My aim this year is to teach my kids more about how their brain works so they too can learn how to calm them selves down!  I’ll keep you posted!

Not So Mindful Mayhem!

I wish I could say the reason why I haven’t written a blog for so long was because I was being so mindful!!  But instead is was because of a big trip to Western Australia, school holidays, returning to work and kids returning to school and lately because my partner has been away….sigh!

I found my meditation sessions turned into….’I’ll just lie down to meditate’ and then I would snooze!  Maybe the naps were much needed but I have missed the clarity and sense of being recharged when I meditate!  The other day returning to meditate was like returning home…..but I have still found it hard to get back into the rhythm of daily meditating!

Having said all that….daily mindfulness kept me calmer and saner I am sure!  Sometimes it would be noticing my surroundings, sometimes really mindfully absorbing my cup of tea…..sometimes a mindful hug, a yummy peach, an interesting bird, or mentally appreciating my children and how fast they are growing up!

Sometimes being mindful was easy….like snorkelling or body surfing or climbing to the top of a lighthouse or feeling the wind in your hair on a ferry!  Sometimes it was really difficult like when the kids are fighting or grumbling or when it’s too hot…..still it is an essential part of my life now and I am glad I had some of those strategies to get me through the last few weeks!