This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of “calm”, specifically for me, keeping calm while parenting.
For those of you with kids, I’m sure you can relate to days where you just want to scream at the top of your lungs “why are you doing this to me, just listen and do what you are asked to do!”
Last week we had quite a few moments where I REALLY wanted to completely lose the plot, scream, stomp and storm out. Part of being a grown up means you don’t get to do that, but my frustration and impatience certainly showed through. I was telling my kids to calm down but I wasn’t teaching them how to do that by my example.
I’ve been thinking about what works to keep me calm and to help me calm down when I can feel frustration, anger or impatience rising. Here are some tips to help you stay calm and in control when you are ready to blow your top!
Keep calm and minimise overwhelm
I know that for me, if I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed I’m far less likely to be able to stay calm and deal with situations rationally and patiently. I find these tips on overcoming overwhelm helpful in keeping overwhelm from completely taking over. The secret is to act early or you’ll end up buried and unable to escape.
Keep calm and just breath
It sounds silly, but the advice we give our kids, also applies to us. Take a deep breath, count to ten and put some space back into the situation before responding.
Research has shown that specific breathing techniques can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, both of which help your body to physically feel calmer. There are some fabulous yoga breathing techniques that are worth a try. You can also teach them to your kids. You’ll find lots of options by searching YouTube for yoga relaxation breathing.
Keep calm and speak quietly
Make a conscious effort to speak quietly when you can feel yourself loosing your cool. It’s much harder to get totally out of control when you are restricting the volume of your voice.
This is also a great example to your kids of staying in control and managing your emotions. You won’t be adding to the emotion of a frustrating situation by further raising your voice. Kids are good enough at yelling without grown ups joining in.
Keep calm and practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is something I first learnt about when I was pregnant. It is basically the process of listening to what you are feeling, acknowledging those feelings (both emotional and physical), accepting them and letting them go. Not catastrophising, not dwelling on them, not judging them, just acknowledging them and allowing them to be. It is also a great technique to teach your kids. You don’t always need to ‘fix’ an emotion, sometimes you can just let it be.
Keep calm and get organised
When I started this blog I chose the domain name keep calm get organised. I originally wrote the blog under the name An Organised Life, but in the end went back to the name I had always used for the domain. For me, keeping calm is very tied up in being organised. I don’t cope well with mess, disorganisation and clutter. It really does overwhelm me and make me stressed. When I wrote my book on decluttering, I called it Clutter breeds chaos and tidy transforms. For me, clutter really does cause chaos. Not just in my home but also in my mind.
I know not everyone is affected in this way. For many, mess and a lack of organisation is not in any way stressful. They cope fine with a bit of chaos! In fact, I remember doing a survey when I was pregnant which was used to help predict post natal depression. Liking order, organisation, tidiness and a high level of control were huge red flags for post natal depression, and I ticked every box!
If you know that clutter and disorganisation makes you stressed, try to keep on top of it. Even if it means moving all the mess to one area of your home so you can have a clear, fresh space to relax in. You can find tips on decluttering as part of the declutter challenge and you might also find this post on keep your home clean and tidy when you just can’t be bothered helpful.