When you last heard from me, I was “taking a break” which consisted of a week at Miraval Spa and Resort in Arizona with five of my bestest girlfriends. Now I’m back.
This is something I never would have done 10 years ago when my kids were in the throes of high school and graduation, but today I give myself permission. Every time I do I come back enriched and energized.
After a week of pampering and laughter, I’m ready to gather my thoughts and reflect on what I have learned.
Miraval is not just about massages and mani/pedis. We took classes every day all day about health and wellness. We hiked and did water aerobics and yoga, not to mention horseback riding, golf and tennis.
While my girlfriends and I go to Miraval to take a much needed rest from our crazy, hectic lives, it is also a time when we learn to practice two important concepts: mindfulness and life in balance.
Step One: Be Mindful
There’s no doubt teenagers can test your limits and your patience, especially senior year of high school. They are physically and mentally getting ready to leave your nest. I thought about that a lot here in Arizona. I recalled a few instances when my life got out of balance during that senior year. I would get angry quickly and I would run hard.
If I had known about mindfulness, it might have made those years much more bearable—and yes, even enjoyable.
You see, mindfulness is about being in the moment. Cherish the time you have right now with your child, your husband, your work. Be present and don’t obsess about either the past or the future. It will allow you to be calmer when dealing with issues that inevitably arise. You will become less anxious and able to make better decisions.
Anger and frustration only produce more anger and frustration. Neither produces the results we want.
Step Two: Balance Your Life
“Life in Balance” is the other concept they stress here. Boy do moms of teenagers need to practice this on a regular basis!
We can get out of balance so easily as we take care of everyone else’s needs except our own. We are conditioned by society to do this. Balancing our own needs of health and fitness (and fun!) along with the needs of our husbands, children, employers, parents, friends and everyone else who wants a part of us will always be a challenge for us.
You desperately want your children to grow up to be responsible adults. The teenage years are about “practicing” the adult skills they need to accomplish that. These years are not about “mastering” those skills. That comes later in college and beyond.
Like with any skills anybody learns, practice makes perfect. Your child is just a beginner at many skills s/he will need later on. Remember how you felt when you were a beginner, and treat your child like you would have liked to be treated while you were learning. It will ease the tension in your household.
Step Three: Breathe
This may sound silly, but I have spent a lot of time here at Miraval learning how to breathe. I took several classes in the concept.
While that is a skill I thought I learned at birth and practiced daily, I realized this week there is a great deal more to “breathing” than just inhaling.
To breathe properly, inhale deeply and slowly through the nose, then exhale fully through the mouth. It can produce amazing results in a tense situation. It can calm the body. It can allow you to think before you react or speak. It can even make you healthier by supplying oxygen to all areas of your body.
Breathing well is my Number One takeaway from Miraval. It allows me to become more mindful in order to keep my life in balance. It gives me time to weigh what I want to accomplish in any given situation and plan the outcome.
Step Four: The Spa Mentality
If you are not yet ready to hop on the next flight to Tucson, here are three ways you can incorporate Miraval Spa into your life today:
- Find your place where you can take a break from your life—even if just for a day or an hour. Give yourself permission to find your own “spa time” even if it is just a long soaking bath.
- Think of your child’s teenage years as “practice” years not “perfection” years. Make every experience a learning experience. Just as an athlete trains for the Olympics, your child is training for life. Know that they will fall off the beam a few times before they get it right and that is all part of their learning process. Keep calm and focus on the end goal—the Gold Medal!
- Write “mindfulness” and “Life in Balance” on your bathroom mirror. Remind yourself every day that these days are fleeting. Savor every moment, and keep a clear purpose of keeping your own life in balance.
So, as I end my week at Miraval, I go back refreshed and renewed. I wish the same for you.
What strategies do you use to keep your life in balance? Let us know in the comment section below!
|I’m Janet Byington, a former school administrator who helps parents build confidence, motivation, and mental toughness in their soon-to-be college students. Work with me.|