Life seems to move pretty quickly these days. We are constantly getting texts or emails or notifications. News and information is everywhere, including our back pockets. Many of us spend lots of time back and forth in our vehicles. Even more, as parents and caregivers of teens, you are navigating many task and many roles.
I invite you to Stop. Breathe. Feel.
How is this landing with you?
You might consider the number of transitions you’ve endured today. What are the various roles you’ve filled today? How have you been activated or emotionally charged today?
Notice the quality of these considerations.
Everything that comes up connects to the fact that our lives can be frantic and fast and overstimulating. Thus, grounding practices, which connect us to our breath, our body, and the moment, are crucial. Furthermore, grounding practices help us reconnect with stability and trust.
The Power of Grounding Practices
Energy is transferable. That said, think of the last time a family conflict occurred. Once one family member escalates, it’s likely that everyone else in the room will escalate. Likewise, if one family member can stay grounded, it’s more likely that everyone else in the room can found their ground too.
Ungroundedness will look different for each one of us. Become familiar with how you experience ungroundedness. The following list can act as a starting point as you explore your personal process:
- Lack of focus
- Difficulty sleeping
- Racing thoughts
- Being easily distracted
- Anxiety or worry
Grounding practices are especially powerful when they are used preventatively. Yes, they can help when things are beginning to escalate; however, the practices themselves can aid in preventing escalation to begin with.
When we ground, we can disperse stress energy, anxiety, and create a foundation for thinking, acting, and responding with intention.
Again, I invite you to Stop. Breathe. Feel.
How is this landing with you?
What images are coming to mind? Notice the quality of these images.
You might sense within yourself some desire for grounding. However, you might resist grounding. You might crave grounding, or you might feel grounded already. Wherever you are is perfect. All of your observations are invitations for you to witness yourself and to be curious about your patterns.
As we move on, I will offer a wide range of grounding practices for you to explore. Each of these is an offering, an option. I invite you to notice which ones you feel called to. Furthermore, notice which practices invite a sense of calm.
Practical Grounding Practices for Self-Care and Parenting
- Stand barefooted on the Earth. Grass, dirt, and riverbeds are great, and if only rocks or asphalt are available, this works too!
- Hula hoop OR do the movement of hula hooping, keeping your feet rooted to the Earth and circling your hips in a way that feels soothing or stretchy.
- Do a set of lunges and squats. Work until your leg muscles feel awake, alert, and heavy.
- Take a slow, mindful walk. Notice each step.
- Lay down on the ground. Rather than a bed or a couch, try laying on the firm ground. Bonus: lay down outside on the Earth!
- Hold rocks, stones, or crystals in your hands. Alternatively, lay down and place the stones on your body in places that feel supportive for you. (I like to put stones on my thighs, belly, chest, and forehead.)
- Stomp your feet while reciting a mantra or affirmation. For example, “I am steady and strong.” (Bonus: Do this barefooted and outside!)
- Hug a tree. Really. Feel how strong and sturdy they are.
- Wherever you are, notice your feet. Pay attention to how they feel and what surfaces they are touching and how they are supporting you.
- Spend time gardening or doing yard work.
- Lay down with extra blankets on your torso. Weighted blankets can be helpful tools for grounding!
- Sit or picnic in a park or garden or forest. Let yourself be surrounded by nature.
- Notice your breath. No need to alter or change it, just follow up.
- Eat a meal that includes root vegetables
- Take a sensory journey. Notice what you are seeing, feeling, touching, hearing, and tasting. Take time to inventory and/or engage with your surroundings.
- Practice self-massage or Abhyanga or schedule a massage with a therapist.
- Try a rooting or grounding meditation on YouTube.
- Open windows (or at least blinds and curtains) so that you can see and connect with the elements outside. Natural light can be grounding and energizing.
- Get a pedicure or give yourself one. Give attention and love to the roots of your body!
- Use sandbags to lay across your body as you rest, meditate, or relax.
How to Use Grounding Practices As a Family
I invite you to explore this list in your personal practice. Notice how you feel before, during, and after each of the practices you explore. This list is meant to be a starting point, so I welcome you to edit and revise it to suit your preferences and needs. Furthermore, this list is an invitation to bring grounding practices to your family.
Some families I work with integrate select practices into their weekly routines. Other families use this list as a menu that can be consulted at family meetings, during downtime, or even in the beginning stages of a miscommunication or challenging moment.
In fact, the more familiar you and your family become with grounding practices, the more likely you will all be to access them preventatively or as self-care maintenance. At first, these might be a bit more reactionary. You might find yourself using them when you are already overwhelmed or frazzled and anxious. I encourage you to stay patient, though, because as the word practice implies, you will become more comfortable over time and will create easier access to the strategies that soothe, calm, and steady you.
As you dig into these practices, you may also find yourself (and your teen) wanting noticing what best supports you. Together, you and your family can build individual support system maps to document the people, places, and things that bring you the most comfort and calm.