How to have a Mindful Summer for the Whole Fam

Hey friends, Laura here! I'm so excited to share with you this summer! I thought we could kick things off with a chat about what mindfulness actually is and how you can incorporate this concept into your family and summer activities.  I mean, who doesn't want to feel true connection with your kids and enjoy a summer full of fun & soul.  

As a parent, you know that summer can be exhausting and move by too quickly. Instead of thinking about this in terms of DOING MORE, let's look at mindfulness through the lens of being purposeful. So, what exactly is mindfulness?

Mindfulness, in my mind and heart, is taking in every moment and feeling without judgement.

Mindfulness looks like being here now when talking to one another, staying present during the simple tasks like washing the dishes, driving or eating food. It's about noticing the little signals and feelings of your body and mind throughout the day.  It allows us to have Mind Full of Love.

Kids are actually pretty great at being in the moment, but learning how to articulate their feelings and discovering coping mechanisms takes time. As parents, guardians, and teachers we can guide our children to practice being mindful of those emotions and how to balance and cope with them. When you open discussion with your kid(s) try to use vocabulary that allows your child to connect with you on their level, not yours! Don't open a conversation with a specific goal or agenda, simply follow their lead.

A great starting point is talking about feelings and emotions. 

  • "What is sad, happy, shy, frustrated, or mad?" 
  • "What does it feel like when you have each emotion?"
  • "How does your body respond to these feelings?" (heart racing, red face, tummy tension)

It's important to let your children know that their emotions are valid and acceptable.  Remind them that feelings will constantly change moment to moment, but identifying each feeling is helpful. During a family discussion time, try sharing an example of a moment you felt sad or mad.  Express how you were able to cope with that challenging moment in your life, through breath, seeking support or journaling. In my years working with children, I have noticed they love having something to relate to and someone to relate with; so don't be afraid to be vulnerable with them!

Mindfulness in Action: 

To practice mindfulness as a family, take one of your simple daily tasks and discover the present moment: feel the body here & now, notice your breath, listen to the sounds around you, recognize the feeling in your feet, hands, and entire body.  Throughout the exercise remember to breathe in a Mind Full of Love. Try to complete the exercise once a day together or separately for a week then at dinner each night discuss your experiences.

RenderedImage.jpg

The book, Unstoppable Me, by Wayne W. Dyer is a great map piece to explore mindfulness and feelings! The 10 important lessons in this book include the value of taking risks, dealing with stress and anxiety, and learning to enjoy each moment. Each point includes an example showing how a child might apply the concept in his or her everyday life. There are questions at the end of the book to help spark discussion and to further reinforce the author’s message.

Leave us a comment below & let us know how this works in your fam!

 

NEW Elemental Kids Series!

Hey y'all - HAPPY SUMMER! Well, summer isn't official until June 21 (my bday!), but for those of you with kiddos summer break is in full effect! 

Over the past 5 years, I've had the chance to work with some great kids from teen yoga classes, kids nutrition workshops, & even some young adult coaching clients! Mindfulness, yoga & nutrition with the 18 & under crowd is SUPER important to me, but definitely not my area of expertise. That's why I've invited Laura DeCastra to join us for the summer to share her passion and knowledge.

Laura

Laura completed my beginners yoga series at Villager Yoga 4+ years ago and has been a friend & student ever since. We share a love for yoga, puppies & simplicity. She's a natural born teacher with over 10 years experience working with children from daycare, nanny positions, private tutoring and her current role building the 3K program at Saint Rose Academy. 

I was THRILLED when Laura told me she enrolled in the 2018 Sacred Glow Yoga Teacher Training program and hoped to specialize in youth oriented yoga & mindfulness projects. As we got to chatting about her dreams, we came up with THIS! The Elemental Kids Series. Laura is going share regular posts covering all things related to Mindfulness with Kids - yoga postures, summer activities, tips for family discussions & how these topics aid in stress reduction & development.

So, let's meet Laura! 

Emilie: How did you get into yoga?
Laura: My sister, Charlotte! About five years ago, Charlotte had completed her YTT program and started teaching a class at Avondale Brewery. We're super close, so I went to support her & ended up falling in love with the practice. Soon after, I enrolled in your beginners series & have been hooked since!

E: Why is yoga & mindfulness with kids a priority for you?
L: Because it has transformed my life and makes me wonder why didn't I have this as a child.  Through reading articles, research, and implementing breathing exercises I immediately knew this was going to be a new passion in my life to help children.  One of my first passions is teaching children to love learningNow, it's important to teach kids how to cope with the stress of daily life, how to love the world around them, and how to love themselves. 

E: Can you share a "fun fact" with us?
L:
Hahaha - YES! My family owns a concession company that makes/sells cotton candy, candied & caramel apples, funnel cakes, pretzels & hawaiian ice. Back in the day we even made taffy! We worked  at birthday parties, football games (YES, even at Bryant-Denny!), and county fairs. I started working alongside my family around the age of 9.

My dad also rented out moonwalks (not the dance move!), so I grew up with bouncy houses in my back yard - I attribute my love for kids & playful heart to such a unique childhood.

E: What is your favorite yoga pose?  
L:  
HALF MOON! 

E: If you were a food, what would you be?
L:  
A Pineapple :) I love the color yellow & the smell reminds me of the beach!

E: Any last thoughts to share? 
L:  Yoga is for all and love is for all. :) 

Home Organizing made SIMPLE

 I've felt a strong pull to simplify, streamline & therefore strengthen my life & business. After connecting with Emily Hamilton, owner of Gather by Emily, I knew I wanted - no NEEDED - to work with her! Emily is a professional organizer that goes beyond the usual call of duty. Her services spam from client & event hosting to business management to home & office organization. Ummmmmm, yes please?! Emily came over and in LESS THAN AN HOUR my entire home office was whipped into shape. IT WAS A DREAM! Click through the before & afters!

After we finished, Emily hopped on a Facebook Live with me to share her expertise with my Elemental Living Community - you can catch a replay here and check out her top tips below. 

Emily's Top Organization Tips:

1. Keep it simple - I often meet people who have bought right bins, made perfect labels, and ordered everything from the Container Store, but they still feel totally overwhelmed. Really the solution is to simplify and own fewer things. The fewer things you have to organize, the less time and resources you have to spend organizing them.

When you begin decluttering/simplifying, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING: no bins, drawer organizers, or file folders. You never know what you'll find along the way or what you can repurpose to avoid purchasing even more clutter!

2. Put things that are alike together. This not only helps you easily find items, but also alerts you when you need to buy more. It even prevents you from purchasing extra when you don't need to. 

  • All pens should be in the same place. Go through and test them and throw out the ones that don't work.
  • All batteries should be together, even if they aren't the same size.
  • All stationery, envelopes, stamps, etc should be together. 
  • Throw out or donate duplicates, worn out/broken items, or things you just don't like.

3. Paper and packaging is A PROBLEM.

  • Throw out mail as soon as you get it. 
  • Enroll in paperless billing and bank statements.
  • Go through receipts - toss for items that can't be returned. Scan items that need to be retained for records and save them on the cloud. *I like Cam Scanner.*
  • When you buy office supplies, toiletries, household items, etc, remove any extra packaging as soon as you get home. It takes up more space and and allows you to see exactly what you have easier.
  • Magazines, Toss them! If you have articles/recipes that you want to save, see if you can find them online and save them to Pinterest or a Bookmarks bar instead of saving the whole magazine.
  • Books, if you wouldn't spend your valuable time to read them again, donate them to the library for a tax write off or try to sell them on Amazon.

4. When you begin organizing a space, take everything off & out first. If you're clearing off your desk, take everything off. It will look MUCH WORSE before it looks better, but I promise this is more effective! File or scan papers. Toss old batteries, odds and ends, pens that don't work, etc. Put back only what you consistently use or what brings you joy.

For example, I hate writing with pencils. I don’t hand-write that many things for my job, so there is no need for me to have 20 pencils in a cute cup just because someone gave me a nice monogrammed set. Even though they’re pretty and I like the person that gave them to me, they have no function in my life. So, I put them in a bag and gave them to my friend who’s an elementary school teacher. She has plenty of function for them.

Now, you don’t have to throw out literally everything. Above my computer, I have a note from my best friend that makes me laugh every time I read it and ticket stubs from an event my husband and I attended together. Certainly these things don’t serve a particular function, but they make me happy to see them. That said, you do not need to keep every thank you note you’ve ever received. Encouraging notes and good memories are important, but so is the clear, white space we mentally and physically need for creativity and rest
— Emily Hamilton, owner & organizer Gather by Emily

5. Once you have made a point to HAVE less, make it a mission to BUY LESS. Bring less into your home/office and you'll have less to keep organized. Spend your time and resources on other people, experiences and bettering yourself, not on *things* that you'll use up or wear out.