Having simple self-care routines you can turn to makes all the difference (especially, if you’re a parent or caregiver)!
There are so many habits in the realm of stress management, and if you don’t currently have any supporting you in this area of your life, then this is a good place to start.
5 questions with a mindfulness expert
This week we’re spotlighting Josephine Atluri, meditation & mindfulness expert, who teaches simple & practical coping mechanisms for stress, anxiety and loss.
Josephine is also the author of the new book, the Mindfulness Journal for Parents: Prompts and Practices to Stay Calm, Present, and Connected and host of the podcast Responding to Life: Talking Health, Fertility, & Parenthood.
As a mother of five children, Josephine brings her unique perspective on what mindfulness can look like for parents. But the tips she shares are useful for anyone looking to create these new habits.
Read on to learn 3 simple strategies you can use to be more present, feel more grounded & connected, and live more joyfully everyday!
1. Tell us more about the book! Why did you write it and who do you think will benefit from it?
Crafted for the busy, but well-intentioned caregiver, my new book, the Mindfulness Journal for Parents is an approachable guided journey that will help you build mindfulness into your habits and routines with your kids and enrich your relationship.
Utilizing the book and its online companion course, you will learn to respond to parental challenges in a calmer, more purposeful way with less reactivity and stress so you can thrive, not just survive parenthood.
Specifically, the book and course encourage reflection of experiences via prompts meant to evoke self-discovery, reawaken awareness and fuel compassionate engagement.
I wrote this book because I applied the principles of my meditation and mindfulness training to my own life as a parent and saw impactful changes both for myself and my children.
I became more present, less distracted, and better able to meet my needs and that of my children.
2. As a parent, how do you define mindfulness? What impact have you seen it make in your daily life?
I define mindfulness as being aware of what is happening within you and around you. It is the act of being in the present moment.
Often as parents, we are constantly planning for the future – whether that’s hours from now to years ahead.
It goes with the territory of trying to do the best things for our kids.
However, always being busy and thinking about future plans robs us of the joy and beauty of being in the present moment with our kids.
I remember working several years ago and not having memories of my days with my kids.
I was so caught up in multitasking that I wasn’t able to fully participate with my kids when I was playing with them because I was also working on my phone at the same time.
When I discovered mindfulness, it changed my life because I became aware of myself in those moments.
I learned how to notice what I was feeling and doing and could then utilize a strategy to help me stay grounded in the present moment.
3. What is one mindset shift that will help parents stay more connected with their kids?
I believe in the power of gratitude.
It’s a simple act to acknowledge and appreciate something or someone, but its subsequent impact is very powerful.
I know firsthand that parenting is exhausting and can feel like its constant work without the reward.
However, if you look at life through the lens of gratitude, you’ll start to see life as a parent and your interactions with your children in a positive way.
No longer are you just making sure your child doesn’t fall from the tree they are climbing, instead you are watching them experience joy in learning how to climb the tree and feel grateful that you have the time and ability to do so.
The way to start incorporating this into your daily life is to start small by writing down three things you are grateful for in the morning or at night.
The more you practice this habit, the more you will start to automatically shift your mindset throughout the day.
4. What’s one small daily habit parents can adopt to stay calm when life gets chaotic?
As a mindfulness coach and author, I could share with you many fantastic strategies like breathing techniques, visualization exercises, and more, but you can find all of that in my book Mindfulness Journal for Parents.
Instead, what I’ll share with you today is a way to be mindful about the things that you have on your plate that need to get done.
Being mindful means being aware of what is happening in many aspects of your life.
To help you stay calm and focused, make a daily top three list of things that need to get done that day based on deadlines.
Set aside a specific time in your day to accomplish those things.
Part of our frustration and stress as parents is having so many things to do and not enough time.
We’re doing one thing and feeling guilty that we aren’t taking care of the other things.
It can feel overwhelming and like you will never win at life.
By utilizing this mindful scheduling strategy, you know every day you have a set time to get three things done so you can feel like you accomplished something.
Doing so allows you to fully enjoy time with your kids without feeling distracted.
5. What’s your favorite writing prompt parents can use for creating more empathy and honest communication?
Think about a time when your child’s needs were not met. How did they react?
Taking your child’s perspective, write down what they would say to express their emotions and the reasoning behind their reactions.
Based on the response you wrote for your child, write down how you could respond back to them validating their feelings.
Josephine Atluri is an expert in meditation and mindfulness, helping thousands of people overcome adversity to find joy. Josephine’s group, individual and corporate meditation sessions and online courses teach simple and practical coping mechanisms for stress, anxiety and loss. Josephine’s forthcoming book, The Mindful Parenting Journal helps overwhelmed parents consciously connect to themselves and their children. Josephine’s mindfulness and meditation expertise and fertility advocacy work has been featured in Motherly, MindBodyGreen, Peanut, The Bump, Prevention Magazine, and Woman’s Day.
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