The Silver Lining – Taking Time to Pause

The end of the 2019/2020 school year was certainly unlike one we’ve ever seen, but in that time, our children proved how immensely resilient they truly are. As we creep closer to September, and the start of a school year that in many respects feels as uncertain as the last, the mental resiliency and strength of our kids will be tested again. For the first time for many, school may not feel like the safe space it used to. Integrating some mindfulness during the day, whether it’s in the classroom or at home, can provide some proverbial “silver linings”– welcomed moments of positivity during the day! An act of permission to pause. Mindfulness is an impactful tool for positive social-emotional health and will be integral to the overall wellness of our children!  

If mindfulness is new to you, it might feel like a very broad and inaccessible term that people throw around a lot. The New York Times provides an excellent description, by calling mindfulness “…the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment.” Literally anyone can practice mindfulness, in any setting, at any time. It is the opposite of rushing or multitasking- things we do all the time! Mindfulness practices help you take time to focus in a relaxed and easy way, and do the same things for your brain that exercising does for your body! The benefits of mindfulness make it an important consideration for back-to-school in the Fall. 

When we take time to pay attention to what’s going on around us, we can start to better understand the choices we make and the impact they have on us. Integrating mindfulness into your day can positively impact areas like:  

  • Relationship building.  
  • Executive functioning.  
  • Feeling calm.  
  • Strategies for coping with stress.  
  • Empathy.  

In the classroom, this can translate to better memorization or information recall, improved peer relations, and reduced feelings of stress. Having the ability to independently use coping strategies throughout the day can help our kids resolve conflict and work through adversity. Mindfulness can provide silver-linings at home as well. It’s a great family activity because it can be done with all ages/stages and provide an opportunity to role model positive communication. 

So how can you integrate mindfulness this Fall? Here are a few quick tips that might help make starting your practice a bit more simple:  

  • Set a few minutes aside every day (yes, EVERY DAY)- this is a practice, and it gets stronger as you do it more!  
  • Pick a few simple activities to start- maybe mindful eating, guided meditation, or follow along with a BOKS Mindful Minute here

  • PARTICIPATE- show kids how you use mindfulness in your life and share why it matters to you. This isn’t a chore for them to check off a list!  

We may not be able to control what happens during the school day, but we can help give our kids the best possible foundation to respond from.  

Once kids have had some practice with mindfulness, include them in the planning! The autonomy to pick activities and use skills independently will empower them to view mental health as an integral piece of their overall wellness. We hope you give yourself permission to pause today, and start to see the silver-linings all around us 

Lauren Hutchison

Regional Coordinator- Western Canada