Creative Child

Mindfulness for Families Amidst a Pandemic

by Rebecca Eanes

With the emergence of COVID-19, mindfulness is now more important than ever in our daily lives. As our families are practicing social distancing and many children are home from schools, normal routines have been thrown off and we are all scrambling to adapt to this new normal. Add to that the anxiety and uncertainty that parents and children are feeling during this pandemic as we are bombarded with news of coronavirus cases rising and everything around us shutting down, and you see that stress levels must be addressed. Practicing mindfulness can help us and our children cope with these changes and the stress and fear that we are feeling.

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We hear the word mindfulness thrown around a lot, but what does it mean exactly? According to mindful.org, “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.” So, as our minds try to run away with what ifs and fears for the future, mindfulness helps bring us back to the present, which decreases stress and fearfulness. When we focus on this day, this moment, we aren’t gripped in anxiety about tomorrow. We are living now and trying to find joy and connectedness now. Mindfulness prevents us from becoming so lost in our fears about the future that we miss today.

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In order for us to teach mindfulness to our children, we should first practice it for ourselves. To begin this practice, I recommend downloading one of the many meditation apps available. If you prefer not to use an app, you can go to YouTube to find free guided meditations, or just choose to do this simple beginner meditation.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position, straighten your spine, drop your chin, and close your eyes.
  2. Relax and focus on the sensations of your breathing. Feel your breath entering through your nose, filling up your lungs. Feel how your chest expands with the breath, and notice the sensations of blowing the breath out through your mouth. Feel your chest contract as the breath leaves you.
  3. If you notice that your mind has wandered away from your breath, simply return your focus. Don’t obsess over your thoughts or judge yourself.
  4. Remain this way until you feel the anxiety draining away and you feel more centered.
  5. Repeat as often as necessary!
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