The festive season is almost over and the New Year is on the horizon. It’s a time many of us reflect upon the last 12 months, and plan ahead for a fresh start in 2018. Celebrations and increased social interactions can create a busy and often stressful time of year for children and adults alike.
To keep calm and focus on the present moment, the Take 5 Breathing method is a simple and tactile activity to self-regulate and breathe mindfully, whilst balancing emotions and letting go of stress. Here’s how to do it:
- Spread out the fingers of one hand into a star shape.
- Bring this hand to eye level with the palm facing.
- Place the pointy finger of the other hand on the wrist of the open hand.
- Breathe in slowly through the nose as the pointy finger gently moves up and traces the left side of open hand.
- Breathe out slowly through the nose as the pointy finger traces down the inside right of the first finger on the left.
- Continue to breathe in every time the pointy finger moves up the side of a finger, and breathe out every time it moves down.
- When the finger reaches the right side of the wrist, pause for five seconds.
- Breathe in as the finger moves back up first finger from the right.
- Continue to breathe in and out, around the five fingers until the pointy finger returns to the left side of the wrist.
- Change hands to breathe around the fingers of the other hand.
Young children or anyone sensitive to touch, may prefer the sensation of tracing a feather or other soft objects around the hand. Alternatively, place one hand down flat on a piece of paper to create a hand print to draw around, then follow the breathing instructions above. After a few breathing rounds feel free to practice exhaling through the mouth each time.
I hope this calming strategy inspires you to take five and breathe whenever you need to mindfully connect to the breath, particularly during busy times. Then have your kids do the same by experiencing first-hand the power of conscious breathing.
Lastly, I would like to wish you and your loved ones a fun and peaceful end to 2017, and a very happy New Year! 🎉