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May 22: Focusing on the Here and Now

Updated: Aug 18

This week in my practice I found that both children and adults were thinking quite a bit about the future.  Children and adolescents were asking questions such as, “When will this be over?” and “What has to happen for the quarantine to end?” and parents were asking about making summer plans and what the start of school might look like in September. 

In the midst of the chaos we are all experiencing, it’s completely understandable that these topics are top of mind.  However, as we head into Memorial Day weekend, I’m going to encourage you to plan some time when you simply focus on the here and now and try not to think about the future.  Consider what might be a reasonable amount of time for you to set aside your worries and questions – perhaps a whole day, perhaps just a couple of hours – the answer will be different for everyone.  Set your intention to stay focused on the present for that period of time, and if you find your mind wandering to the future, gently bring yourself back to the moment.  If thoughts about camp or next fall are crowding in, you can try grounding yourself by focusing on your senses – notice 5 things you see, 4 things you hear, 3 things you can touch, and 2 things you smell.  By staying focused on the present, I hope you’ll be able to feel a big lighter, even if just for a couple of hours.

So many of us have cherished Memorial Day traditions that we look forward to year after year – perhaps going to the beach or hosting friends or family at a backyard BBQ.  While this year’s celebration will look quite different than past years, I encourage you to plan one or two special events to mark the weekend: search the AllTrails app for a new place to take a hike, find a quiet spot to go fishing, or get take-out from a local ice cream shop and make sundaes at home.

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