Had you searched for me last night after dinner, you would have found me sitting in the dark shadows of my closet not exactlyhiding from my family, but rather taking what I have dubbed aSNAP break.
Thirty minutes prior, nursing a headache, I had come home from a long work meeting overwhelmed with deadlines to face the chaos of my kids joyfully shrieking and running laps inside the house. Had I been in a different mindset, I would have relished the liveliness.
Not tonight. Cringing at the volume, I felt thoughts begin to swirl in my head and impatience rise up inside like a storm. If I didn’t do something to change course, I was sure to snap, transforming from Mindful Mommy to Mommy Dearest right before their very eyes. Oh, I have attempted in the past to muscle through this impending feeling, with mostly disastrous results. I knew from experience that we were all much better off if I headed straight for the closet for a little respite.
Rather than snap, I took a SNAP Break.
So in to the closet I went, amongst the clothes and wire hangers, nothing magical about this place save its solitude and quiet. I took a SNAP Break to spare myself, my husband, my children and the dog from a Mama on the verge of losing it.
What is a SNAP Break?
- Stop. Hit the pause button. If possible, step away for a moment.
- Notice body sensations. Are your shoulders raised? Is your brow furrowed? Your jaw tight? Your breath shallow?
- Accept that this is how it is in this moment. Offer yourself some compassion.
- Pay attention to the breath for a moment, simply noticing the breath as it comes and goes, without trying to change it. When your mind wanders to the stresses at hand, gently redirect your attention back to the breath. Repeat as needed.
We aren’t always able to physically step away from stressful situations, but if we are familiar with the SNAP Break, we can learn to use it anywhere, anytime. It takes practice, patience, and above all, some self-forgiveness when Mommy Dearest appears in spite of our best efforts.
As for this stressed Mama, when I emerged from my brief retreat,the threat of Mommy Dearest remained tucked away in the closet safely with the wire hangers. Mindful Mommy was back and ready to be with, really be with, my family again; my attitude adjusted, a larger perspective regained, all recovered with a quick SNAP Break.