As an entrepreneur, parent, and wife, my healthy habits are an important way to care for myself so I can care for my family, business, and marriage. The days I let my self-care practices lapse are also the days I make the most mistakes. I am not striving for perfection or suggesting it. I see my 17-month-old daughter copying me whether I am being a proper role model or not. I have resolved to sprinkle my days with positive habits so I can be proud she is sponging them up. This lets me feel more at peace with my mistakes and missteps. I combine my knowledge from spending the last 15 plus years in both early childhood education and yoga and mindfulness to provide this list. This is intended for working parents, new parents, parents-to-be, and all people that want to live a more mindful, peaceful existence.
Wake up with a breath of gratitude. Whether you are a parent, a student, working, or some combination, chances are you wake up stressed. You are not alone. And the good news is there is a little trick that turns stress mountains into molehills. Gratitude breaths are my husband's invention and this is how they work.
The moment you wake up, close your eyes or keep them closed.
Take a deep breath in.
As you breathe out, slowly whisper, “thank you.”
Repeat 10 times.
Each time you breathe out, “thank you,” let yourself soften a little.
Open your eyes and enjoy your day
The next time you wake up in a panic, remember to close your eyes and pause for a beautiful, grateful moment. If you have to fake it at first, just fake it. Going through the motions has positive results because it is helping you form healthy habits. One of these days you will soften enough to let the gratitude permeate you. It’s not a race, and your patience with yourself will go far.
Wake Up With Love
When my daughter wakes up in the morning, I listen to her in her room. If she is peaceful, I leave her to play independently. When she begins to ask for something or sound needy, I deliberately enter her room. Then we wake her up with love. This is another activity my husband and I developed together to wake up more mindfully and to share connection first thing in the morning.
Open your child’s curtains.
Say good morning to your city or town. (We say, “Good morning, Brooklyn!”)
Pick your child up and breathe audibly. No need to give instructions.
If they copy your breathing, mention aloud using a positive tone that you hear them breathing, too.
Ask your child for a hug or kiss.
Thank them for waking up with love.
Mini Yoga Routines
Movement is an inextricable part of early childhood. Help your child embrace their wiggly worm while also playing on their love of storytelling and language. Choose a story or poem that you love and add movement.
Keep Track of Your Healthy Habits
Making to-do lists can be productive, yet they can add pressure and stress. When it comes to sustaining a mindful lifestyle, I prefer to keep track of the good I do rather than assign myself homework or specific goals. After I do yoga, play my ukulele, meditate, take a walk, socialize, or some other healthy habit, I mark it down on my healthy habits wipe board calendar. The more I keep track of, the more gratification I get by completing each healthy habit, the more natural it all becomes. I am so in the flow of doing self-care that the end of my day is marked by celebrating that goodness to self with my ceremonious self-care board adornment. I use different colors and symbols for each activity. An orange music note denotes playing my instrument while a green heart denotes a date. This is my method for now, but I have been known to keep track in several different ways. I recommend you choose a method of tracking that is done manually and not electronically. Sometimes our incessant online connectivity takes us away from our connection to ourselves. Because this is a habit to help bolster our lives and make us more balanced parents, employees, and citizens, I recommend doing it offline.
Wipe board calendar with color-coded self-care activities
Color in a thermometer image one cm each time I do something prosocial and reward yourself when it’s full.
Mindful Bedtime Habits
We are more likely to go to bed with our devices than ever before. Bright screens at night time disrupt our brain's readiness to rest and restore. Watching TV, playing video games, and being online typically make us more stimulated, cause us to sit with poor posture, and distract us from any good we could be doing to wind down and feel balanced before bedtime. Having mindful bedtime habits is a way to help cue your body into rest mode and to come out of thinking, distraction, and stimulation. Simply add a short sequence of breathing and movement after toothbrushing and pajamas. By doing gentle, restorative yoga postures slowly and breathing deeply, you take yourself out of the busyness and into the feeling and grounding needed to get yourself into bed in a gentle state of mind. If you have children, you can do this together to promote their healthy and mindful bedtime habits. For help establishing more mindful bedtime habits, kids will love our workbook,My Yoga Workbook: Mindful Bedtime Habits.
If you are trying to live more mindfully, give yourself permission to do so in small, sustainable ways. I hope some of these tips can be integrated into your daily life. If these activities didn’t particularly resonate, you are the best person to brainstorm ways in which you can shift your habits to feel more at peace and lead by a better example for your children. Remember that mistakes are ok and no one needs to be perfect to parent.