Summer is upon us! For many of us that means our school-age kids will be home a whole lot more than they normally are. Familiarity breeds grumpiness from time to time. In my house, it is often me who has the worst attitude.
Here’s a summertime cheat sheet for reversing a bad day in five minutes. When your mood is nose diving and you know you need to turn it around and get into a place of gratitude, set the kitchen timer on your microwave for 5:00 minutes and hit Start.
Take five (or more) deep breaths. I like to start my resets (I have to do them a lot) with a phrase Laura Markham uses quite a bit in her books:
“This is not an emergency.”
While you are breathing, imagine yourself removing the negative thought-wheel in your mind and selecting a thought-wheel that you would rather have. Then imagine yourself installing that thought-wheel in your brain. As you take these deep breaths into your lungs, imagine those big cleansing breaths powering that positive thought-wheel forward. The more you breathe, the stronger that wheel begins to turn. Now that you’ve chosen a more positive thought-wheel, proceed.
It is helpful before this happens to have some little phrases in your mind that you will repeat yourself when you are having a super hard time. Speak softly to yourself first.
“I’m having trouble. But I can start over now if I want.”
“I’m _______(tired, worn out, sad, stressed, mad). I need to take a break and then I can start fresh.”
“I’m going to choose calm right now. Just for now."
If you need to say you’re sorry to anyone for grumpy behavior, don’t feel ashamed. Simply say,
“I’m sorry. I’m learning and growing and I make mistakes.”
These types of phrases show and model empathy and compassion to anyone who happens to be with you. Even if you manage to sneak off to be alone for your little self-care reset, you need to be gentle to yourself as well.
3:00-2:00min Bridge Back to Connection
When our connection with people is broken, it takes a bridge to restore it. Sometimes this bridge is words, and sometimes it is actions. You probably already know the unique ways you and your children like to re-establish connection after tantrums or fights, but if you are struggling, one phrase I like to use is:
“Can we start over?”
It doesn’t blame anyone for the disruption but calls to mind the goal of loving connection.
These last two minutes are used to actually re-connect with the people we love. Eye contact, soft words, humility, and touch are a part of this connection.
This little act of meditation may actually turn your whole day around and can be done as often as you need to! When you hit Start on that timer, it really is a fresh start to your day.
The ideas in this article are things I have developed for my life after reading the following books. You can find similar ideas and lots of even better ones within their pages:
Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids by Laura Markham
Whole Brain Child by Dan Siegal, M.D.
No Drama Discipline by Dan Siegal, M.D.
Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood by Jim Fay
How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
Lauren resides in Oklahoma with her husband and two children. She is a birth worker and an aspiring writer. In her spare time, she loves to work out and spend time perusing old and new bookstores.