Happy new year to you! Because we’re allowed to be happy, right? Even in these crazy, crazy times.
And how are you after 2020, that year of all years?
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I very much hope that you’re able to give yourself a really good pat on the back for getting through that year, and for getting through the festivities and the whole of the Christmas holidays.
Add to that the uncertainty around schools restarting and the latest lockdown restrictions, and I hope you can give yourself some acknowledgement for having led your family through such turbulent times.
Because, if you’ve found it tough, you’re not alone.
If you’ve been feeling lonely, you’re not alone.
And if the children are scratchy or anxious, if there have been temper outbursts, squabbling, if they’ve been hitting each other or you, you’re not alone.
It’s so easy in these times to feel alone. We spend so much of the time actually alone. It’s so easy to feel lonely – and to have the illusion that we really are alone. And that no-one else is feeling like that.
Do you think that, when people come onto social media platforms or video calls, they share what’s really going on for them? Very often people don’t, just because most of us are reluctant to be vulnerable – and quite naturally so. But people are struggling.
Even my 95-year-old father, who in normal circumstances is always Mr Optimist. He’s fit and well and happily living at home, with his lovely wife, but I can tell that he would like more company.
So, what can we do to help with this crazy situation that looks like it’s going to go on for a wee while longer? We don’t know how long, and that’s all part of the challenge.
My tip for you today is to look for more connection.
Connection is that magic, which even in the deepest, darkest place brings comfort, brings calm, and a sense of things being okay.
It also brings that magic into homes with kids.
Where things are a bit turbulent or tense or scratchy, it brings that bond, that calm, and makes things feel better, helping children feel – and also behave – better. So you get a bit of relief, right?
So, whatever is coming up with the kids – connection really, really helps.
That’s why I’m sharing three really powerful steps with you now that will help you to bring more connection into your day-to-day life.
#1 – You know those precious times when your child is doing something and they’re not requiring your attention?
Maybe they’re watching a favourite TV programme or they’re playing on the floor. Normally, you might take that opportunity to do something else, mightn’t you? Tidy up, for example.
What I’m going to suggest is that you take a moment to spend time with your child. Go up close, sit down next to them, get involved – and you don’t have to do anything, just take an interest.
It’s that extra space that you create by going in close, when they are involved in something else, that creates a very beautiful kind of connection.
You can make an observation about what they’re doing – show an interest spontaneously. Even if it isn’t your favourite programme, or your favourite kind of activity.
When they’re busy doing something for themselves, you don’t need to be close. And that’s precisely why it‘s like the cherry on the cake and can create magic between you and your child.
And it can be just five minutes.
#2 – Whenever your child next comes to you with a complaint or a difficult feeling, just acknowledge whatever it is.
Even if you think it’s totally unreasonable, just acknowledge it by repeating back to them what they’ve just said.
If they tell you that one of their siblings is annoying, you can just repeat that. ‘Oh, you’re finding so-and-so annoying at the moment. Right?’
Or, ‘You don’t like this food,’ or, ‘You don’t want to go to school.’ Just repeat it back to them.
See what opens up between you and be attentive in that moment. When you say that back to them in a neutral way, in a kind way, see what opens up and notice if there’s a connected feeling.
#3 – Connect with yourself. (And this is just as healing as connecting with others.)
When a lot is happening and we have a great deal to cope with, we tend to stuff away our own feelings – because it may feel like they are the last thing that we can cope with.
And that’s why it’s really important to make space for our feelings.
Right now, you may be working full-time while having children at home. Who can actually do that? You may be having to be superwoman!
So, you may feel that you don’t know what you’re feeling, and that’s so normal for us these days. In our modern world, it’s easy to be quite out of touch with our own emotions.
So my advice is this: Let your body be your guide. Maybe you’ve got a tense shoulder, or a swirling feeling in your tummy, a headache, or perhaps some tension behind the eyes.
Tune into that sensation and ask yourself what it’s telling you about what feeling is underneath it. Notice the qualities of that sensation – how big it is, its weight, texture, colour – and be curious about any message it may have for you.
You can let your body guide you towards your feelings. Bodies will do that for us. They never lie. They’re very helpful in that way.
Even if we don’t like these sensations, actually they want to help us. They want to help us feel our feelings.
And when we allow ourselves to feel our feelings, as counterintuitive as it may seem, we do feel better afterwards.
So those are my three tips for you today. And I’ve also got another suggestion, which will take you just one step further.
If you’d like to connect more deeply with your child, I have a beautiful, really lovely meditation for you called, Reset Your Relationship with Your Child. This enables you to reconnect with your child at a deep level.
It’s only nine minutes long. I recommend doing it while your child’s asleep. It helps you to create a beautiful sensation of connection. You may also notice the next day that there’s a change in your child.
I was talking to a mum at the end of last year who was saying that she listens to the meditation every now and again and finds that it continues to work like a charm, helping her reconnect with her little boy.
Why not go and download it now and see how it makes a difference to how calm and connected you feel.
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