In a Life Full of Chaos, Remember to Breathe...
by kristin bentley
We've all had those days. You know, the ones you wish you could've just stayed in bed? The ones that begin with waking up in a freezing house to discover your furnace isn't working, and end in the ER with an ill toddler. Of course, it also hasn't even been 48 hours since your husband left on a nine-month deployment.
Without family nearby, we often feel depleted and lonely, and we often don't know where we'd be if it weren't for the support of our military spouse tribe.
For me personally, I frequently have days like this. Maybe not quite this extreme, but they are often exhausting.
As an entrepreneur, nonprofit founder and mom of six (TWO of which are toddlers!), I have been known to actually gasp aloud, "My existence has more purpose than this!" after wiping up the third mess created by my milk-spurting 3-year-old. The same boy who paints the glass patio doors with bananas, climbs onto the kitchen island to drink my morning coffee, and escapes out the back door when I run upstairs to switch over the laundry.
Through a lot of trial and error, I've learned to work in increments throughout the day. Often times I'm buried deep into my laptop again after my littles are in bed for the night, especially as deadlines draw near.
But that's what we all do, right? We learn how to compromise. We figure out what works for our family and what doesn't. And we adapt.
The most important thing I have learned over the last two years after the birth of my daughter, is that not only is it okay, but it is essential that I take moments to myself throughout the day.
Just to breathe.
When you feel life beginning to swim around you, when you begin to sink and are suddenly suffocating, this is when you need to tell yourself that everything will be okay.
Our husbands aren't always around to reassure us of this... so we have to learn how to reassure ourselves.
Take a deep breath and think of one thing you love about your child who is having a "moment." Remember why you love being a mom. Remember why you love your husband so greatly that you agreed to step into this crazy wonderful life. Remember you are an absolute badass... and that you've got this!
And remember that you have a whole tribe behind you, lifting you up when you stumble along the way. Just breathe, and repeat after me... everything is going to be okay.
Follow these five simple tips for a racing mind...
1. Sit with your eyes closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control your breath.
2. Be aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of three. Exhale for a count of four. The hand on your belly should go in as you inhale, and move out as you exhale.
3. Concentrate on your breath and forget everything else. Your mind will be very busy, and you may even feel that the meditation is making your mind busier, but the reality is you're just becoming more aware of how busy your mind is.
4. Resist the temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, and focus on the sensation of the breath. If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thoughts, immediately return it to the breath.
5. Repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on the breath. Don't wait to begin belly-breathing. The sooner you make this a daily habit, the quicker you'll feel relaxed.