“School is so different. It kinda sucks.”
– Every student I counsel
“Everything is going so fast right now. What day is it again?”
– Every Parent I coach
In the pandemic, it’s hard to remember what month it is. Has time just sped up since March?
When we were in the middle of Baby Boot Camp (Betsy’s label for the first few months with a newborn), time seemed to warp, somehow moving both slower and faster. We were so wrapped up in our infant’s every burp and fart! Of course, that was a much happier time to lose track of the calendar than right now.
While we trudge through the first pandemic (COVID), we are also enveloped in an invisible secondary pandemic of stress. As I posted last week, uncertainty and social isolation flood us with stress hormones 24/7.
Suffering through this health crisis (1) and the fog of stress (2), our dependence on technology is creating a third pandemic: Time.
Each day feels like a time-lapse video of our lives.
One reason: We rely so much more on technology now than we did even a year ago. Expectations from work and our kids’ school push us to move as quickly as a computer program. There is no time to decide, to take a breath, to rest our eyes.
Last week I shared what I do to help my clients with the second pandemic of stress:
I help parents and families tip the scales and increase their ratio of “happiness hormones” of oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine.
In my workshops and coaching, I share tools selected from the 24 parenting ideas I detail in “But I’m Not a Teacher! A Parent’s Guide to Learning Under Lockdown” (available on Kindle). Workshop participants tell me that the most impactful takeaways are the mindfulness tools I offer parents to slow down time in the pandemic.
In addition to mindfulness, I share my experience with meditation, which held a lot of challenges for me. I wasn’t always able to meditate. In fact, I spent about five years attempting and failing. I felt like a fraud each time I told a client how powerful a meditation practice could be for them. I was secretly banned to the penalty box as The Worst Meditator in the World.
That was when I met Emily Fletcher, Founder of Ziva Meditation. Showing up just when I needed her the most, Emily is the teacher in the proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Her style of meditation gave me the tools to get out of that penalty box. The Ziva technique worked for me and has worked for thousands of others.
Meditating has reduced my stress significantly over the last few years, reducing the daily tension that we all experience and also chipping away at the accumulated stress I have carried around for years.
Meditation also provides a side benefit for parents combatting a warped sense of time in the pandemic.
It gives you an excuse to create a moment for yourself. Twice a day, I set a boundary for 20 minutes. Over the years, I have learned that there is almost nothing that can’t wait until I am done meditating. (Yes, even my phone.)
At times like this when my thoughts can race even more than usual, setting that boundary twice a day has returned a sense of control over my time.
Now I feel proud to teach parents mindfulness techniques and to share my experience with the Ziva Technique of meditation. In fact, in my book, I share the great news that Ziva is launching a program for kids in 2021!
I was so ecstatic for the opportunity to talk with Emily about parenting, virtual schooling, and how parents can find hope in the darkest of times.
When she asked, “How do you keep moving toward the positive?” I told Emily that we need to give ourselves the space to feel both sides, to allow our negative feelings and our feelings of hope and optimism to both have a seat at the table.
“The worry will be there. You also have a choice of where you are going to spend your energy. It’s a matter of intentionally choosing to do something, to take some action, do something creative, do something productive, do something fun. Take some action that moves things forward in the world.”
Listen to our 12-minute conversation here: