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Updated: Mar 28

It’s been just one week since shelter-in-place became our new normal.

Covid-19 has changed the way we live, work, and play.  

For many of you, you’re now working from home *while* your kids are also schooling at home. Life has become very HARD.

Not to say it wasn’t hard before, but now it's scary, different, and unsettling.

Plus your energetic kids have to adapt to a big change in their lives, which requires patience and understanding.

During times of turmoil, uncertainty and distress, sometimes it seems impossible to keep it all together. Although I want to assure you that it's still possible to find glimmers of normalcy and thrive.

Let’s begin now with a few deep breaths together. Get comfortable and take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of three seconds, then take a deep breath out through your mouth for three seconds. Now repeat a couple more times. If you have a longer exhale than inhale that can help you relax and feel even more calm.

Better? I hope so.

Now, how do you keep your sanity and attempt to thrive during this very challenging time?

10 Simple Ways to Nourish Your Mind

1. SAY I LOVE YOU - Express your love and affection to your partner- even if you don't feel sexy or you have a long to-do list. You were a couple first before having kids.

2. BREATHE AND MEDITATE - As you saw earlier, your breath is a powerful tool to calm. Guided meditations with visualizations can also help.

3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE - Be thankful and say it out loud. Model to your kids that no matter what, there is always SOMETHING to be thankful for. Helps them appreciate what you're doing and helps you focus on what you have going for you.

4. LAUGH - Share funny stories of your kids with friends, watch a comedy show, just be present and make silly sounds and faces with your kids. Laughter makes everything better.

5. PRACTICE SELF-JOY - Do something that brings you pure joy, without the kids, to maintain a sense of self (listening to happy music and dancing while doing dishes is a two-for-one).

6. FIND ROUTINES - Get ready in the morning like you’re actually going to work, have the kids change their clothes like going to school, eat at the same times, find comfort and control in routine.

7. CONNECT - Setup virtual friend meetups, create chat groups on WhatsApp with the parents in your kids’ classes, call friends and family using FaceTime.

8. EXERCISE - This one is vital for parents. Being cooped up in your house without moving your body while taking care of your kids is a recipe for pent up stress and resentment. Coordinate with your partner when each of you can exercise. Make it a priority. Or try one of our SpringSpot online adult classes.

9. RECRUIT YOUR KIDS - depending on the age of your kids, they are more capable than you think. Use this time to teach them about the importance of being a family community member and have them put their dishes in the sink or dishwasher, bring their laundry down, clean up their toys. Let them help you lessen the load.

10. SMILE - even when you don't want to, science shows that the act of smiling can actually make you happier.

We know these are hard times, but have HOPE. Tomorrow is a new day.

Ideas for Practicing Gratitude

To help you with #3: Remember there is always something you can be grateful for:

* When you are frustrated that your kids aren't listening to you for the fifth time, be grateful that they are alive, healthy and with you.

* When you're annoyed that you can't go out to see people or go to the beach, be thankful for all the medical personnel and first responders on the front lines treating patients in the massively under-resourced hospitals. Stay home.

* When you're annoyed that you can't buy more toilet paper or that your kid's favorite cereal is out of stock, be grateful for all the grocery store clerks working so you can buy food to feed our families. Cooking at home is good for you.

* When you're in shock that it can take up to a month to receive some of your online orders, be thankful for the UPS drivers that are delivering all your packages while we stay at home and shelter-in-place.

* When you're frustrated about having to homeschool your kids, be thankful for all your children's teachers adapting to a new mode of teaching and doing a lot of heavy lifting to ensure that your kids continue to learn.

These are just a few things to be grateful for.

Lastly, if you're looking for a wonderful community of parents and families, come join us! We now have ONLINE workouts for parents as well as online yoga classes for kids!

From all of us at SpringSpot, thank YOU to our community for your continued support. We'll get through this together!



Updated: Mar 7

You probably instinctively know that movement and exercise are good for you, but why is it so important for your kids?

Your Senses

You can probably easily name your five senses – sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Though did you know we receive input from two additional senses?

The vestibular sense, or movement and balance sense, gives us information about where our head and body are in space. It allows us to stay upright while we sit, stand, and walk. The vestibular system is located within the inner ear and responds to movement and gravity. It contributes to the development of balance, postural control, muscle tone, and maintaining a stable visual field while you are moving.

Proprioception, or your body awareness sense, is a constant feedback loop within our nervous system that tells our brain what position we are in or what forces are acting upon our body at any given time. It tells us when our arm is raised above our head, even when our eyes are closed, or how much force to use when we’re cracking open an egg.

Humans actually needed the vestibular system to adapt to gravity on Earth. The vestibular system is actually the first sensory system to develop in the womb. The vestibular and auditory systems are developed within the first 9 to 11 weeks in the pregnant mother. When the fetus is only 5 months old its vestibular system is amazingly well developed. The vestibular system provides the growing fetal brain with vast amounts of sensory information as the fetus is rocked back and forth by its mother’s movements.

Why Movement Matters As kids grow and develop, sensory systems like the vestibular system and proprioception help them learn about living in the world around them. However, kids are having fewer opportunities to move and be active at school and at home. Yet experts agree that children need atleast 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Many of the physical benefits of physical activity are well documented, such as increased bone strength, stronger muscles and improved coordination. Though here are some brain and mental-health benefits as well:

* Develops the Brain - Research shows that regular moderate intensity exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, an area of the brain involved with learning and memory. Exercise also helps release BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) which stimulates new neurons in the brain.

* Improves Focus - Studies show that children who are more active exhibit better focus.

This skill is becoming more important than ever, especially as kids have regular distractions from computer screens, TV screens and phone screens.

* Emotional Regulation - Physical activity can also help kids better regulate emotions. In order to think, learn and process experience, one must first feel calm, and movement can help achieve this kind of calm

* Improves Attention Span - Studies have even shown that extended sessions of yoga can lead to improvements in attention span and emotional regulation for kids.

Opportunities to Move

Looking for ways to get more purposeful movement for your kids? Come try out one of the movement-based kids classes offered by SpringSpot. Our thoughtfully put together and learning outcome-based classes will enrich your children. Plus you can get a workout in at the same time too! Check out our upcoming classes.

Be well!

Back in October 2008, the NEF (New Economics Foundation) in England, as part of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing, came up with five evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole country's population. They were:

1) Connect

2) Be Active

3) Take Notice

4) Keep Learning

5) Give

All of these ways to well-being are powerful, more than a decade later, and here at SpringSpot we strive to offer all five to our families through our programming. The first one, Connect, especially resonates with us now since February is the month of Connection.

As parents, when we spend time with our children, often times we go through the motions, transporting our kids from place to place, looking at the clock to be sure we’re on time. We occupy space together, but sometimes miss moments to truly connect with them.

After learning these proven ways of improving well-being, I've started to incorporate them more fully into my life. Recently, I experienced a feeling of connectedness that was undeniable and it brought me so much joy that I wish I could bottle up the feeling and have it with me until I’m 100 years old.

Take the Time

Last week, my youngest son was home sick and I came home early from work to be with him. He just wanted to play together in his room and I fought the urge to think about the long list of things I had to finish for work. Instead, I just focused on the present and being there fully with my son. When I asked him what he wanted to play, he said he wanted to play pretend ice cream shop. He proceeded to flip over the Pottery Barn personalized covered foam chair in his room and the part that was usually his backrest became the table of the shop and he stood behind the make believe countertop.

Instead of pretending to play, I actually played.

I actually imagined that I was an actual customer and asked him what flavors he carried, and he responded with “Salad ice cream” (because he knows I really love a good salad), “Corn ice cream” (because he loves corn), and then barilla ice cream (I didn’t know what that was). As he waited for me to respond with my chosen flavor, I looked deep into his eyes and saw how much he cared and was living in this moment. I responded “Corn ice cream please” and then he asked “In a cup or a cone?” I replied “Cup” and he walked out from behind his counter top, over to his bookshelf and took two books down and said, “here’s your corn ice cream in a cup.”

Live in the Moment

It didn’t matter that the books were flat, rectangular and contained multiple pages. At that moment they were frozen, round and corn flavored. We both were able to see something that wasn’t there. He smiled that magnificent smile of his and I saw every little crease of his dimples. At that moment, there wasn’t anywhere else in the world I wanted to be. We laughed together, played together and though he wasn’t feeling his best, he felt loved. And so did I.

Playing with my son in that moment reminded me how good it feels to really connect with my children to truly see them and be fully present with them. Living in the moment was energizing.

I hope you can find moments like this to truly connect with the important people in your life. Living in the present is truly a gift.

Connect with your Partner

In addition to your kids, how can you connect more deeply with your partner?

With Valentine's Day coming up, you could give the gift of dance, love and well-being. Sign up for our special Salsa Dancing class on Friday, Feb 21 at 5:15pm. You can learn how to salsa dance together and your kids do Yoga Dance! It's a fun way to end the week and you get to move your body.

Want to book adult and kids classes together? Sign up here.

Or just adults? Sign up here.

Meditate for Deeper Connections

One way to help deepen your connections is to practice mindfulness and being more present. We invite you to try one of our new audio morning meditations to start your morning with a clear head. Meditation practice can help you be more present and deepen the connections with those people that matter most to you.

Be well.