Springtime celebrations across cultures share the theme of resilience & renewal. Children have a natural ability to ‘bounce back’ when they encounter significant challenges and parents can play a critical role in helping to further develop this skill. When resilient kids are faced with life’s obstacles, they can use them to spring forward.
As parents, we are accustomed to focusing our caring attention towards the little people that surround us. So much so that, we often find it difficult to turn that attention towards ourselves – even when we need it! When we start to feel that we are easily fatigued, having a hard time making it through 3-5pm, craving sweets or coffee, decreased libido, decreased tolerance to cold and minor irritations or chronic / frequent infections, our bodies are telling us we are run down.
One of the ways we can cultivate resilience in our children is to show them how to care for themselves – through modeling. The whole family benefits when parents are at their best. When our needs are being met, we get sick less often, have an increased capacity for compassion, gratitude and patience towards our children, and have more energy to do fun things with them! Without resilience, minor stressors create significant challenges and we have frequent ‘less than ideal’ parenting moments.
So before tackling your spring cleaning, let’s channel some of that springtime energy towards restoring resilience in you! It can be quick, easy and inexpensive and will benefit you and your family.
1. Getting into the needs! We all share basic needs, review the list below and flag the ones that require your attention (don’t over think this step). Bringing awareness to your needs is a the first step towards fulfilling them.
- Basic physical needs (nourishing food, clean air and water, a welcoming home, regular movement, affectionate touch, restorative sleep, etc…)
- Connection to self, to others, to a community (compassion, integrity, companionship, belonging, nurturing, intimacy, respect, stability, support, trust, etc…)
- Play (laughing out loud, getting excited, being spontaneous, etc…)
- Peace (beauty, ease, harmony, inspiration, contentment, present moment, etc…)
- Autonomy (freedom, space, letting go, etc…)
- Meaning (celebration of life, discovery, growth, hope, spiritual discussion, etc…)
- Expression (creativity, understanding, clarity, emotion, gratitude, authentic communication, honesty, etc…)
- Others: ______________
2. Fill it up! What activities could address your needs or ‘fill up your cup’? To get you started, a few naturopathic recommendations for restoring resilience are included below. Select activities that help contribute to the feelings of being fulfilled / whole / restored / balanced. Avoid activities that you know make you feel exhausted / drained / frustrated / disconnected.
- Tea Time – adaptogenic herbs assist your body to restore balance. Equal parts licorice, rhodiola and astragalus root makes tasty and restorative drink. Substitute this instead of coffee or hot chocolate when possible.
- Vegetable Juicing – 3 carrots, 1 apple, 1/2 inch piece of ginger, large handful of spinach or kale, ½ lemon makes a green ‘Hulk’ juice. Drink this instead of fruit juice whenever possible.
- Nourishing food: eat a variety of colorful foods you would could find in the wild and take time to savour your meals.
- Restorative Sleep – get regular sleep, early in the night, in a dark room, away from electronic devices.
- Gentle Exercise – Restorative Yoga, Qi Gong or Thai Chi
- Bodywork / Energywork – Shiatsu, relaxation massage, acupuncture
- Hydrotherapy – Epsom salt bath, Watsu, sauna, whirlpool
- Nature exposure – explore trails, picnic outside, visit a botanical garden / butterfly conservatory
- Mind/Body medicine – smile and laugh as often as possible, schedule unstructured time, walking meditation, take up zen or mandala doodling, play music that makes you feel good, focus on the present moment, engage in random acts of kindness and compassionate communication, seek the company of people who make you feel connected / empowered / happy, practice conscious breathing, try free writing, find a mantra, attend a Nada Yoga class, Kirtan or community choir event.
3. Create space. Pick at least one restorative activity and create space for it in your calendar. Being active about addressing your needs will make it much more likely that your needs will be met! You are the only person who knows what you need and how to best address it.
Want your kids to be able to bounce back, and maybe even spring forward? Talk to your kids about ‘filling their cup’, favourite restorative activities, navigating through life’s challenges and beginning again with more enthusiasm. Let springtime celebrations, ‘less than ideal’ parenting moments and times of high stress be your reminder to be active about restoring resilience.