June 28: Pause and Take a Breath
Today I'm sharing a quick message geared towards the start of summer, then I'll be taking a hiatus from posting until late summer. Over Father’s Day weekend I was thinking a lot about one of my dad’s habits. Growing up, my family often went on day trips to the beach or to the woods where we would go hiking. When we arrived at our destination, my dad would get out of the car and take a few huge, exaggerated deep breaths, extolling the rest of us to follow his lead and, “Take some big deep breaths – the air is so fresh here.” Throughout my children’s lives we have continued this small tradition.
Pausing to take a few deep breaths and appreciate the beauty of the world around us seems like a wonderful thing to do this summer. Over the summer I know that many families are looking forward to participating in activities they were not able to engage in last year, from taking trips, to visiting with far away family members, to participating in a vast range of summer traditions that didn’t happen in 2020. As you dive into the warm weather and pursue these fun activities, consider taking a moment with your children to pause, take a few deep breaths, and notice the beauty around you, as well as the beauty inherent in being able to move about more freely and with less anxiety than was possible last year (and even a few months ago). Centering yourself in the moment in this way encourages a nice habit of focusing on the present moment and practicing gratitude for our surroundings, something which is useful for both children and adults. Particularly after the stress of the past 15 months, instilling a habit of focusing on the here and now and actively taking time to appreciate where we are is a wonderful way to promote well-being.