I’ve got a confession to make: I’m not very good at relaxing.
Are you? I love a project, a to do list and I really love to plan. Post it notes, pens and fancy notebooks are my thing and busy is my default setting.
Another way to look at it is: my primary stress response is flight which means I find it hard to be still and at peace in my body. You can work out your stress response here.
I’m not very good at meditation either.
Have you ever tried it?
They say it dissolves anxiety and leads to inner calm. I’ve got one of the busiest brains in the world. I’m also a big talker. My love language is words and I need to say what is in my heart. That’s why I wrote my book and why I like to write poems.
I also easily get confused and overwhelmed when my busy brain reaches fever pitch. Judging by the amount of people who’ve listened to Episode 8 – The One With the Noisy Brain on the podcast tells me that lots of you have busy brains too.
I’m not very good at being mindful – I do try!
My creative brain got busy searching for other ways (20 Helpful Tools + Habits for Soothing Anxious Children) but the one I’m going to tell you about today is my favourite.
It’s a skill that needs work – staying in the present moment instead of letting your busy brain run the show. I work with children who are like this too. They have the most amazing imaginations. I call them Wildhearts.
When we have this kind of temperament, we create a rich inner world where we like to hang out. The thing is when we’re scared, alone or worried, we disappear to the dark corners of our minds. It can become like a torture chamber where we see and feel everything in 3D as if it’s happening now. We can feel trapped inside our own minds.
What does help me at bedtime though (which is when my busy brain seems to come alive and get very noisy) is to listen to a guided visualisation (like the ones in my Relaxation Pack).
Try this one for free!
Here’s a free one for you to try. I guess it is a form of meditation and it’s definitely relaxing. So many children have tried it for residential school trip nerves, sleepless nights, school stress and confidence building. How does it build confidence?
All that busyness leads to burn out
I’m easily pulled into addictive scrolling of social media. In my work, I tend to have periods of productivity followed by moments where I feel overwhelm and dive under the blankie and want to shut the world out. My self-esteem is formed on what I can do or achieve, not who I am as a person. Can you relate?
We are not built to run and run. Our batteries need recharging. If we don’t recognise our unhealthy patterns and take steps to consciously want to change, inevitably we burn out.
Why is it so hard to take a pause + prioritise yourself?
It’s an act of love and a very simple form of self-care but it feels like such a balancing act. Without strong boundaries and self discipline, it’s easy to prioritise what’s in front of you instead of prioritising what’s important.
Children enforce routine because during the week life is centred around school and over time that builds security as they learn through repetition what’s coming next.
However, children can also take us away from our own inner discpline when we start to put them before ourselves, even when our cup could do with a refill.
Self-care can be a quick 10 minute check in
Checking in with yourself and having a moment to see how you think and feel is a great self-care habit. Stopping to notice what you need. If you attach it to a habit that you already do, then it’s easier to remember.
How many times a day do you check your phone, wash your hands, go the toilet or boil the kettle? You’d be surprised when questioned how many people don’t know how they feel and what they need.
I don’t follow the crowd. I like to carve my own path.
So I developed, quite by accident, my own way of self-expression and relaxation to quieten my mind and bring me to a place of inner peace and confidence. Actually if you read about How Social Media is Negatively Impacting Your Mental Health, you’ll understand more about the power of words and how they mould our minds and our children’s minds.
I don’t want social media to become my stream of consciousness.
I want to stay in touch with and aware of my own thoughts. I think my mental health is impacted if I am not able to have clear thoughts and create my own reality. Especially when it’s so easy to get drawn into other people’s worlds.
My own regular practice of combining words, colourful doodles, oracle cards (or Smiley Thought Cards if you prefer) as a form of self-care. A quiet space for me to reconnect myself which is meditative and mindful. Some might say it’s a form of art journaling.
It has been a bit of a life saver to be honest.
Instead of getting dragged into the busy world of social media, I was listening to and strengthening my own inner voice. I found that it also turned down the volume on my self-doubt and busy brain. It was a much healthier and calmer place to start my day.
Your soul knows what it wants to say! Are you listening?
I also tried it out with my Niece at the weekend. That’s the magic of creativity. It’s how we bring ourselves to the page. There is no right or wrong. There is no age limit on what to journal.
I use Oracle cards as a prompt but they also switch on my intuition and guide me. My Niece and I had so much fun doing this together and the next day, I got a text from my sister with photos of the journaling she had done that morning and wanted to share.
It’s perfect for sensitive, intuitive, creative souls who want to tell a story or have a busy brain with so much to say.
The benefits are huge
- It’s a unique expression of who you are (the better you know yourself, the happier you will be)
- It helps you see the good and stay positive (worried brains are constantly scanning for danger)
- It taps into your imagination and expands your creativity
- It improves self-awareness and self-confidence (when you know what matters to you and who you are, you doubt yourself less)
- It helps you make sense of all your thoughts (putting words on paper reduces confusion and provides clarity)
- It helps you focus and grounds your energy (this is what is also called mindfulness)
- It creates quiet time in a noisy busy world (vital for introverts who need alone time to recharge their batteries)
- It gives your feelings a voice (it’s a great way to connect to and process your feelings so you don’t push them down and carry them around with you)
- It helps you feel safe and secure (anxiety takes you up in your head, drawing brings you back into your body)
- It’s so much fun and feels good (life is very serious and it balances things out)
Here are some more examples …
As you can see, it’s not about being Picasso. It’s about having the time and space to create.
Would you like to give it a try?
I created a beautiful journal for my daily practice with Oracle and Tarot cards. It has space for a daily 3 card spread, reflection questions and lots of space (lined and blank pages to write and draw). It’s available on Amazon and you can buy it here. It looks like this:
I created this awesome little pack to fire up children’s imaginations and tap into their inner world as they draw their way to problem-solving.
What’s inside this pack?
✅ A fun step-by-step creative problem-solving class with Smiley. When you draw it out in this way, your problem feels much lighter and manageable. This class is fun and will create the time and space to really think about what stops your child from trusting and believing in themselves when life has gone a bit wonky.
In this 45 minute online coaching class, Smiley will:
* highlight unique insights, specific as to how you and your child see yourselves in the face of adversity.
* help you and your child feel motivated and inspired instead of deflated and wanting to give up.
* give you a clear understanding of what is overwhelming you and what approach you need to move beyond that.
* show you your inner strengths so you can bounce back quickly and return to balance (we often forget about these when we’re stressed or upset!).
* inspire you with the confidence to move past your bad day and a contingency plan for when it happens again.
✅ Prompts and resources to help you interpret your child’s creative work – this will highlight how they approach tricky situations and what holds them back. This will help you understand them more too and may spark some interesting discussions.
✅ Guided relaxation to wash away and let go of the bad day (you don’t want to drag that into tomorrow do you?). You can come and listen to this whenever you need to.
✅ Guided relaxation to soothe you if you’ve done something wrong, made a mistake and feel bad. You can come and listen to this whenever you need to.
✅ Printable checklist of quick and easy daily rituals to grow your resilience over time.
✅ Fully comprehensive set of guidelines for parents to get the most out of this pack and guide your child through their bad day.
What age is it for?
Minimum age 6-7. No maximum age. I am not age specific in my work because I find what is more important is hearing the right things, having the right understanding and knowing that somebody gets it! I like to approach problems with a child-like, fun and playful energy because that is what helps us to unstick ourselves.
Who is it for?
✅ If you or your child …
* have had a bad day or a bad few days and feel like giving up.
* feel stuck with a problem – stuck on homework, stuck with a tricky friend, stuck in a mood, stuck with worries, stuck with an angry family member or squabbling siblings.
* feel scared of making mistakes or getting things wrong – perfectionist tendencies.
* worry a lot and have a busy brain that thinks deeply and doesn’t have an off switch.
* are easily knocked off balance when things don’t go according to plan.
* have a tendency to focus on the negative or the worst case scenario.
✅ If your child finds it hard to talk about how they feel or closes up when life goes wonky. It’s a great way to get them talking. It will improve your connection with them too.
✅ Teachers, therapists, SENCO or other child practioners would find this a useful resource.
Who is it not for?
❎ If you want 1-1 coaching support for your child.
❎ Emotionally resilient folk who seem to take life in their stride.
❎ Parents who are protecting their children from challenges by wrapping them up in cotton wool and rescuing them from all their problems.
❎ Close-minded people who are too afraid to go within, self-reflect and make positive changes.
We can’t let those worries spoil our day!
Don’t give your power away!