This past week has been challenging to say the least. Riding the waves of change while getting a routine and consistency in place is a delicate balancing act! Now more than ever, is the time for relaxation practice, grounding, centering and taking time to connect with your breath and to breathe.
I know being cooped up in the house for long periods of time can have both magical moments of connection as well as tedious moments of being too much in one another’s space. But, spring is here and we can use the great outdoors to nurture and regulate our strong emotions and/or fluctuating energy levels.
In my yard, the grass is greening, even through patches of wet snow that softly fell last week! The trees are budding and the birds around my house are chirping. Nature can be one of our greatest anchors during these times of quarantine.
Here are a few ideas for using nature to relax with your child:
- Walk Barefoot in the Grass: The ground is full of negative ions which support our nervous’ systems reset buttons, naturally balancing the energy in your body. The soles of our feet are filled with nerves that stimulate our entire body. Walk slowly, without a goal of getting anywhere. Take in all the details that you see around you and ask your child about them. Where is the closest tree? What is the shape of that stone? Practice mindfulness with your child as you are walking, paying attention to the feel of the grass. Is it prickly, soft, spongy or wet? Notice when your foot is touching down at the heel and lifting up at the toes. See if you can feel every part of your step.
- Hug the Wind: When the wind blows, go outside, face the wind, open your arms wide and breathe it in. With open arms, take several deep breaths in and out. Hug the Wind! This is a good practice in not resisting what is taking place right now in this moment. Surrendering to the wind and relaxing in its presence builds those skills of allowing.
- Tree Listen: Take your child to a place where there are several trees. Maybe even in your backyard or on your street? Tell her you are going to have a conversation with a tree. You will have to use your imagination to hear what the tree is saying. We will practice sitting still, feeling the bark of the tree trunk,, and listening. Once she chooses a tree, sit at the base of it with your back right up against the trunk. Tell her that this tree can be her friend and she can lean on this tree for love. As you are sitting, take a few deep breaths. You can count the breath with your child. Breathe in… (1,2,3); Breathe out… (1,2,3). The tree holds you up as you relax. After a few moments of stillness, ask your child if the tree has any messages for her. Talk about what you imagine the tree is saying. If she feels like it, after you are finished, you can both hug the tree and thank it for sharing this place with you.