Let me start off by saying that I love my boys. All of them. But. It’s hard to survive a snow day.
Seriously. This past week we experienced our very first snow day, and let me tell you. I had to take a LOT of deep breaths and mommy timeouts.
You know exactly what I’m talking about…those moments when you “go to the bathroom” but really you’re curled in your closet in the fetal position shoving a stray candy cane that may or may not be a year or two old (that may or may not have fallen out of a boot that you were trying to shove on your foot)…no? Just me?
I know I’m not alone. I know I’m not the only mom that prays for the snow to melt faster than it falls. And since it’s been about 3 years since we’ve dealt with snow, I think this hit me especially hard.
Why? Well, the snow day was one of the last days before winter break. That’s right folks. My lovely children are home with me…for two whole weeks.
Since I chose this Christmas to cut back on wine, I have been racking my brain to figure out how to survive not one but all 14 “snow days” in a row.
Because the Michigan snow isn’t melting anytime soon, and I can’t send Smalls to school without adult supervision. Want to know what I came up with?
I’m officially going to try to start a meditation practice…again.
At the beginning of the year, my ‘year of rest‘, I vowed to make meditation and prayer a more solid part of my routine.
Guess who totally failed at that one? Yup. Yours truly.
So here I am again…12 months later. Still trying to get the hang of this meditation thing. To help my brain get the picture, I decided to do some research on meditation…and mindfulness.
Meditation and Mindfulness
What I found were a lot of gurus who claimed that in order to reap the health benefits, you needed to meditate for 30 or more minutes a day. None of them have kids.
I was totally not surprised by this, by the way.
That doesn’t change the fact that, it’s apparent to me that meditation works. It works better if you can also cultivate a mindfulness practice.
Thing is, science shows definite health benefits for people who meditate, such as reduced stress, increase happiness and even lower rates of seasonal affective disorder.
Mindfulness is a practice where you consciously focus on positivity or goal setting…you get the idea. One of my favorite ways to practice mindfulness is journaling. I’m totally in love with the Five Minute Journal (and need to order another one soon!).
I love that it’s fast, easy, and be completed in literally 5 minutes (like any mom has 30 uninterrupted minutes between the hours of 5:00 a.m. and midnight).
Now that we’ve established that this whole mediation thing has some merits, in fact, being mindful (and meditating) can help you maintain a healthy weight and may even promote a healthy gut.
Moms, I totally get it. It’s hard to be happy when your toddler is screaming because he just wants to play in the snow…and 5 minutes after you send him out (that’s not counting the 45 minutes it took to wrestle him into his snow gear), he’s totally done.
And he wants to come in.
Then he wants to go out again…
Then in again…
You get the idea.
This is one area that I really, really wanted my [new] mindfulness and meditation practice to help.
Some claim that mindfulness can cure a whole host of issues…and while I can’t speak to that, I can say that spending a few minutes through my day to count my blessings and take a mommy time out (or 10) made the day so much better.
My temper didn’t flare (as much) and I was far more tolerant of my boys being the kids that they are.
This is definitely something I’ll be employing over the Christmas break.
When you eat, take a few minutes to sit down and enjoy your meal. I find that the more I focus on the task at hand (which is part of mindfulness), the less inclined I am to eat for a distraction (which means that my pants fit better and I’m in a better mood because of that.
When you practice mindful eating, you are listening more deeply to how hungry and full you actually are.
Mindful eating means not allowing yourself to be distracted by other things while you’re eating. This means that you can’t play Candy Crush and have lunch.
There have been some recent studies that show a link between stress, stress hormones, and changes in gut microbes (your friendly bacteria and other critters that help your digestion).
The basic premise is that mindfulness leads to a reduction in stress, which leads to fewer gut issues.
I was skeptical but figured if being more mindful would allow me to go a few days without heartburn or IBS symptoms then it would be a bonus.
I’m super excited to share that I haven’t needed to take licorice in quite a few days!
Plan for Chaos
You’ve fed the kids, you named the 3 things that you’re thankful for this morning, and your day is still going south.
And not in the “let’s go to the warm beach and have fun” kind of south. The kind of sound that makes you question your choices.
When you inevitably find yourself ready to pull your hair out because your toddler has gone in and out 12,345,402 times, take a breath, put your foot down, and put in a favorite Christmas movie. Or set them in front of coloring books.
Basically, give the kids something to do. I buy a few extra activity and coloring books over the month leading up to Christmas which means my boys think I’m awesome for having a Thomas coloring book or a Ninjago activity book ready for them.
And, once they’re occupied, go meditate for a little bit. Give yourself a breather.
As we move toward the new year, it’s important to remember that we need to take care of ourselves. Especially on snow days. So…
- Be Happy
- Eat (but not too much)…and…
- Distract your kids
You’ve got this.
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