Hello Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America,
In this sample Self Care Program that I've created for you, you will receive three mindfulness-based Self Care Breaks that you can personally practice and share with your Littles.
These Self Care Breaks are short simple social and emotional wellness tools that will help you to release stress and develop relationships together. These tools can also help you and your Littles to calm your body and mind, soothe difficult emotions, and navigate the stressful complexities of daily living to better deal with the painful effects of anxiety and trauma.
I’ve been sharing Self Care Breaks with children, teens and adults for nearly two decades and I’d like to share a few comments I’ve received from young people…
Kindergarten student “My body feels calmer inside and out.”
2nd grade student “My headaches are gone and I don’t have to go to see the school nurse every day. Instead when my head hurts I sit and breathe and I feel all better!”
4th grader “Before I had all this pressure in my chest. Now it’s all gone and I feel like I can breathe again.”
8th grade student “I learned different stress releasing techniques to help me sleep better.”
10th grade student “Life has its ups and downs, and for me I struggle with anxiety and depression and this helps me cope with things when they are not okay.”
12th grade student “I learned to manage my stress so I am not always so overwhelmed.”
Why We Need to Take Self Care Breaks
The body, mind, breath, and emotions are deeply connected and how we breathe, move, and think can affect how we feel and act throughout the day. In our current reality, many adults, teens, and children feel stressed, rushed, anxious, over scheduled, and overwhelmed from the moment the alarm goes off in the morning until it’s time to go to sleep at night.
This anxious disconnection of body and mind can trigger the release of excess stress hormones to cause even higher levels of stress and anxiety within us. This release of stress hormones can, at times, be helpful in protecting us from harm. But habitually living in this heightened state of stress can contribute to scattered thinking, physical tension, fatigue, illness, anxiety, depression, angry outbursts, impulsive choices, and lack of empathy and caring. This can negatively affect our relationships and contribute to the tense and violent atmosphere that is a part of our current culture.
Most of us are born mindful, in a state of connection with the present moment – not thinking about the past or worried about the future – but fully focused on the here and now. Over time, the stress and trauma in our lives causes many of us to disengage and to rush almost automatically from one moment to the next, with our body and mind disconnected from each other, and disconnected from the present moment.
Mindfulness is a practice that can help you bring your body and mind together, in the same place at the same time, connected to this one moment of life. To be mindful is be curious and intentionally focus your attention on what is happening inside of you and around you. To bring this state of self-awareness and present moment awareness into how we think, feel, act, move, and communicate, as well as into how we learn, teach, lead, and love, is the practice of mindful living.
When we live mindfully, we are better able to integrate moments of self care and self-kindness into our busy days; we lead by example and inspire those around us to care kindly for themselves and others. This positive energy and social emotional wellness ripples outward to bring greater kindness, connection, empathy, and peace to our relationships, our schools, our communities, and, in turn, our world.
How This Program Works
Within this sample program I will share two Self Care Breathing Breaks that include a one-minute Transition Breath and a three minute Calming Restful Breath. I will also share a two-and-a-half minute Standing Self Care Movement Break to help you and your Littles ease into your practice of self care.
Each mindfulness-based Self Care Break has an introduction audio that I encourage you to listen to first. The introduction will help you understand what the Break is, how it can help you, and learn practical ways that you and your Littles can bring these Self Care Breaks into your lives.
Use the audios and video for your personal practice of self care, and to learn how to teach them to your Littles, or simply share the audios and video with your Littles and practice along with them if this feels more comfortable to you.
Let this be a patient process of exploration and growth so that this work can support you and your Littles in making positive changes in your social, emotional, and physical health. Know that you and your Littles are worth this effort and that you will be practicing and sharing tools that you can both use to more fully engage in, and enjoy, learning, leading, and living.
Thank you for sharing your time, energy, love, and wisdom with the young people of our world, and for your courage, curiosity, and willingness to begin this journey.
Please reach out if I can support you in any way.
KATE FOREST, RYT
Kate Forest is a Self Care and Mindful Living Teacher, the creator of Self Care Yoga®, a speaker, and world care advocate. She has been sharing her mindful approach to living and learning with universities, schools, organizations, and individuals for nearly two decades. Through her in-person professional development and online learning programs Kate has helped to empower thousands of adults, adolescents, and children to release stress, build focus, and strengthen their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health. She has a certificate in Mindfulness in Education along with extensive training and advanced level certifications in the practice of Yoga and Mindfulness.