We have all been through a lot in the last few years, and our children have too. Often the children I work with find it hard to calm themselves when they become overwhelmed. When I began studying to do my job I realised I was writing outcomes for children that I wasn’t sure even I, an adult, would be able to achieve, e.g. Sarah will be able to understand how emotions feel in her body and put in place strategies to calm herself.
So, I set about working out what the best strategies are for me to calm myself. Here are just a few I use regularly:
Set aside time to go for a walk, if possible somewhere with some greenery. Research suggests that being around nature makes us feel happier and I definitely find that it works
Now hear me out on this one. I am a fidgety person, if I am not working I find it very hard to sit still, I will start a TV program watch it for 3 minutes and then scroll on my phone. But, my friend made me a gift one year which was a bunch of lollipop sticks that she had written activities that I could do that would take up to 10 minutes.
When I picked one I had to complete it. They were brilliant; the ideas on them were: write down three things you are grateful for, do a random act of kindness, plan a yummy meal and watch a funny video.
This is a tricky one to get into and is not for everybody. But my cousin and I decided to do 30 days of meditation, each day we sent each other the Youtube link to the video meditation we had done and shared our favourites.
It helped me to understand how important that quiet time is, where we sit still and do nothing (as I said above, I’m a fidget). I have noticed that doing it in the morning gives me a chance to see where my body is at, am I feeling ok? Or do I need to do some things to reduce what I have to do today e.g. have a meal from the freezer for dinner?
Being able to connect with people who love and care about us is so important. So I have found that scheduling time to meet up with friends and chat has helped me feel so much calmer.
There are days when you just feel a bit rubbish and telling someone how it feels rubbish and being listened to can make all the difference. You don’t have to call someone, you could write them a letter, send them a postcard, or text.
This can be used in two ways, you can either put on music that matches the emotion you are feeling or put on music to calm you. Or, a bit of angry music so you can shout it out, or some sad music to cry it out.
Either way there is something in this about sitting with the emotions. I think a lot of the time we are taught to ‘cheer up’ but we need to sit and acknowledge the emotion and how it feels in our bodies before we can begin the cheering up process.
Those are just a few of the things I have found have helped me in the past few years. I hope you find some of them helpful, add a comment if you have any more that you think people should know about.
Dr. Vicky Mullan, Educational Psychologist