I know it’s hard for a hectic multitasker to suddenly turn into a Zen Buddhist at bedtime. But once your child is asleep, it’s super important for you to be able to come in for a soft landing after a full and demanding day. One way to accomplish this is to practice some breathing/calming exercises.
Two key steps in this simple act are letting your face muscles fully relax—like a wet rag. Facial tension keeps you in stress, and a relaxed expression or even a hint of a smile gives your body the cue to relax. And really slow your breathing down, especially paying attention to making your breathing out as long and as slow as your breathing in. Deep breaths can have an instantaneous effect, releasing a wave of calm.
As you breathe in and out, let each breath fill your heart with happiness as you think about the things that bless you in your life or the activities you look forward to doing tomorrow.
Also, visualize a safe, cozy place. Imagine a warm day at the beach, or picture yourself simply lying on the couch all warm and comfy.
If you want some help getting started, visit UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) website here.