Do you ever have those days? The ones where everything seems to go wrong, or it feels like a major challenge? The days that could start well and then an incident happens, or perhaps it’s a bad day from the moment you step out of bed?
Well, the solution could be in a little bottle. And, no, it doesn’t involve alcohol! …….
Years ago, I realised just how many parents I saw were stressed with the pressures of parenting – the on-going mountains of dirty clothes to wash, the constant messy lounge room, the asking children 5 times to hang up their wet bath towels or the reminders to feed the dog, or the feeling so tired because the baby woke 3 times last night, or the worries of a sick child. Add to that the compounded work load of shopping with a baby and a cranky toddler, bringing the groceries into the house from the car in the rain, and then attempting to cook dinner whilst bathing the children and helping the older one with her homework. It’s no wonder we sometimes feel like we are going loopy, or that we’d like to run away from home!
I’d hear the parents’ stories of fatigue and frustration. Of course not all days of parenting are like this, but there are a few ‘over the top days’ in amongst the fun and games, love and kisses.
It’s well known that doing something physical is great for stress relief. Things like going for a brisk walk, or putting on music and dancing or stomping it out. Going to the gym, or sparing with a punching bag or going for a swim. Obviously some of these can be done with the children with you, others are more tricky.
When you are cranky or stressed or frustrated, you are usually shallow breathing ie just breathing into the top of your chest, and effectively ‘spitting’ your words out – maybe that’s why you’re often red in the face when that happens!
When people say to s-l-o-w down your breathing, what often happens is that you breath more deeply, in fact right down into your belly, and when you breath out slowly you are controlling the breathe. You’ve absorbed more oxygen which helps in the calming down process. This is what happens when you blow bubbles – you really need to breath slowly and expel the air gently in order to form bubbles – if you puff hard (like when you are angry) you dont get bubbles!
Grab a bottle of bubbles, and give this a go – a little experiment…. Breathe out fast and hard (like when you are angry) and notice that you won’t get any bubbles, or only just a few. Now breathe in a full belly of air, and then breathe out slowly and gently – notice the huge number of bubbles you form. And, in the process you have slowed down your breathing, and calmed down.
Another beautiful thing with blowing bubbles is that many of us associate bubbles with childhood memories – memories of happy times about fairies and magic, make believe and birthday parties – so bubbles evoke a sense of fun, positivity and happiness.
And thirdly, when you blow bubbles, those crazy kids of yours who have been hassling each other for the past hour will suddenly be so distracted by your bubbles, that they will drop the fighting and be absorbed by the fun you are having, and want to catch all the bubbles. Remember to keep hold of the bubble container – it’s yours, and no, you don’t have to share everything with the kids!
- slowed breathing
- happy memories and
- cheerful children…. Sounds like a magic elixir to me for parental stress! Make sure you put them on your shopping list now, and then keep a bottle on the kitchen window sill, ready to grab when most needed.