Monday, March 17, 2008


Okay, so it's been a while since I posted. But my new goal is to post twice a week and to post a question at the end, so please keep me on my toes and leave a comment to motivate me!

I just taught a great class in St. Michael, Minnesota, with about 12 parents in attendance. It was my Introduction to Patient Parenting class. One of the questions I asked was how many of them took vacations.

Two raised their hands, a couple waved their hands in a noncommital way and the rest stared at each other.

I thought so.

So I asked the ones who had raised their hands whether they had vacations that involved doing nothing or that involved lots of activities. Uh-huh. They were just as busy on their vacations as in the rest of their lives.

Because our lives are so busy with children, our brains never have a chance to settle down from "fight or flight" beta waves. So I suggested to the parents that they take mini-vacations.

Sit for 10 minutes and look at a magazine. Stare out the window. Lay on your bed and close your eyes for 15 minutes. If you are afraid you will fall asleep, set the alarm. Listen to soothing music. Call a friend and laugh about how crazy your lives are. Go fishing. Take a walk...a slow leisurely walk. Write in a journal. Read from a book of quotations or poems.

These mini-vacations are just for you. So make sure the kids are in a safe place and then allow your mind to drift to a happy, sunny, relaxing space. Let your muscles relax. Close your eyes and breathe deeply.

This is not only healthy for your mind, but also for your body. It will counteract the production of stress hormones that surge through us each time we are worried or frantic about the next thing on our to-do list. It also helps you to practice patience because patience requires mindfulness...staying in the moment. My favorite mini-vacation? A bubblebath with my ipod cranked up. But I have to be careful not to get the ear buds wet!

You deserve some down time, too! So what's your favorite way to take a mini-vacation? Tell me about it.

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