I’m sure we can all agree that our kids teach us major life lessons instead of the other way around. I’m constantly amused, frustrated, exhilarated, and in awe of my son Michael, because he is wise beyond his years. He knows when he needs to rest (most of the time, and trust me, it is in short supply). He knows what types of toys and food he wants, when he wants to be alone. He will announce to me if I come along and suggest we play a game: “But I don’t want to play with you now Mommy. Maybe later.” And now, he knows exactly when and how to unwind from a hard day at school or elsewhere. “Mommy, I need five (or ten) minutes to drop off my friends first, then I’ll come and see you, ok?” And he’s pretty good at keeping to the five minutes or ten. This entails him marching up and down the corridor in our house saying in a sing song voice: “there you go Mortimer, there you go Franklin, good job” as he makes car noises of dropping off his favorite fictional book characters. Ah, makes a writer Mom proud. 🙂
Sure this is an unorthodox way to unwind, but we are talking about a child with autism whose brain works differently than ours. The point that struck me only yesterday, is that Michael understands, unlike a lot of us adults, what time alone can do in helping manage our stress. Five, ten or fifteen minutes of downtime, can often do wonders to recharge the battery in our bodies, so that we can be refreshed to tackle the business at hand- our work, household and family responsibilities. So, taking a page out of Michael’s book, here are the 4 things I now have started to do when I transition from one thing to another:
1)Repeat some favorite meditation mantras (Be careful if you’re driving. Make sure your attention is focused on the road.): “Peace and I are one. I am peace”, “May I, my family, friends, and those I have difficulty with, be well.”, “The universe is a good place.” Any mantra works. Choose what you like.
2) Deep breathing and picturing myself on a beautiful beach with the ocean waves lapping at my feet.
3) Listening to my favorite kind of music. Depending on how the day has gone, can be anything from jazz, to pop or most likely, relaxation music. I always keep CD’s near by in the house or car.
4) Writing a poem about my feelings (usually for my eyes only), or writing about my feelings in a journal entry. More on keeping a journal another time. 🙂
And if I’m home, I make sure now to sit down on the coach for a few minutes (anywhere from five to fifteen minutes), and do one of the above. Try it next time you’re having a ‘Calgon, take me away’ moment, and see if it doesn’t make a difference in coping well with the next stage of your day or night.
Stay well and healthy. Until next time.