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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. With schools closed for the remainder of the school year, we fully recognize the added stress caused by adding schoolwork into your already busy days. Recognizing the impact of social distancing requirements and staying home with our kids, we thought we would offer mindfulness hints for the entire family. Just like the grown-ups in their lives, your children will likely experience some big emotions during this isolated time away from their teachers and friends at school. Remember, when practicing mindfulness activities with kids, it will almost never go as planned. That’s OK! Here are some tips provided by Stopbreathethink.com that might help things go more smoothly:

Check in every day with yourself and your family.

Encourage your family at mealtime or before bed to share how they are feeling mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Approach mindfulness with openness and curiosity.

While it might seem like there’s a “right” way to practice mindfulness, the good news is that there’s actually no way to get it wrong! The experience is different for everyone. Notice how you feel in the moment without necessarily trying to change anything or judge what you observe. You may feel more settled after an activity; you also may not. Both are normal and OK.

Learn to be with whatever’s happening.

With mindfulness, it can be tempting to “fix” a problem, yet we’re here to remind you to “let go” of any agendas or goals. It’s actually more supportive to learn how to be kind and compassionate with yourself — especially with whatever thoughts or feelings that come up — and the more you can accept whatever is happening wholeheartedly in moments of mindfulness, the more you can bring that approach to all experiences in your life.

For more information, go to www.stopbreathethink.com.

Tim Wilson

Curry County Suicide Awareness and Prevention Council

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