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Mom Hack for Staying Calm During a Meltdown

This weekend my 4 year old had the BIGGEST meltdown after I said it was time to turn the TV off. A scenario that probably sounds familiar to most households. It had been a big day because we all woke up early for my half marathon race so we had spent most of the afternoon relaxing on the couch. But, after watching Trolls 3 twice in a row, it was time to put the popcorn down and turn the off TV. My 4 y/o didn’t think so though and absolutely lost it. This carried on for what felt forever and in my tired, exhausted state, it would have been really easy for me to lose it too, but I didn’t. I stayed totally calm through the whole thing so we could navigate back to him feeling more calm and able to talk about why he was so upset when he was ready. 

Here’s how I’ve learned to hold space for him in times like these and stay calm myself: I prioritise relaxing my nervous system. 

If you’re not familiar with this terminology, relaxing your nervous system just means getting back to a state where you feel calm and centred. 

As mothers, we spend a lot of time in ‘fight or flight’ where our nervous systems are on high alert as we navigate overstimulation, stress, and what feels like a million competing priorities. Letting your nervous system stay in this disregulated state too often can leave you feeling overwhelmed, anxious, reactive, unfocused and a range of other unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms. 

To counterbalance all of the overstimulation of mom life, I try to incorporate mindfulness practices into my daily routine and it’s actually easier than you might think. In my ideal day, I get up early and have time for at least 15 minutes of mindful movement followed by 15 minutes of breath work and mediation. Sometimes that happens and it feels amazing, but sometimes my kids just don’t cooperate for that to be the case. Thankfully, there are many mindfulness techniques that are incredibly effective in only a few minutes and can be squeezed into shorter pockets of time through out the day.

One of my favourites is called ‘box breath’ and it’s as simple as it sounds. 

Here’s how to begin:

  • Inhale through the nose for a count of four

  • Hold that for a count of four

  • Exhale through the nose or mouth for a count of four

  • Hold for a count of four 

  • Repeat for a few rounds or as long as you have time for 

*** Pregnant Mamas, leave out the breath holds.***

After just a few minutes, you’ll start to feel your mind and body relax which will allow you to handle whatever the rest of the day throws at you from a much more calm and collected place. From that state of calm, you’ll have the awareness to pause and choose before you react to what’s happening around you. That ability to pause is what makes all the difference. 

I want to be totally transparent, I don’t get this right 100% of the time. But, when I do occasionally lose my cool, I’m able to catch myself really quickly and make amends so that both me and my kids can find our way back to feeling calm again. 

Give the box breath a try for a few rounds and see how you feel. The more you practice it, the easier it will become. 

Here's a 5 min YouTube class to follow along to:

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