With the wackiness of the holiday season among us, it's easy to find ourselves feeling anxious and uprooted. Which can lead to avoidance and even seclusion in our own homes. If you find yourself feeling this way, I have two exercises for you to try with a family member that will bring some ease and connection back into your life. These are especially great to try with your children!
Back to Back Breathing
This first exercise is a simple breathing technique that will ease anxiety, reduce stress, and ground you and your partner. Begin by sitting back to back with your partner, with your legs crossed and your body tall, so that as much of your backs as possible are touching. Breathe slowly in and out through your nose. Take full breaths, letting your body soften and expand which each inhale. See if you can feel your partner’s body moving as they breathe.
Without talking, try to match your partners breathing so that you are both inhaling and exhaling at the same time. Breathe together for as long as you’d like (about 30 seconds to one minute is a great start). This can turn into a family meditation with your children or even as an emotional regulation tool for them.
This next activity is a way to bring connection between you and your partner while learning to take turns and follow directions. Start seated facing each other. Rub your hands together to bring some warmth to your palms, then bring your palms together with your partners.
Look at your partner, but try not to talk. Begin leading your partner’s hands up, down, and side-to-side. Your partner should “mirror” you and make the same movement. This activity works best if you move slowly. After a couple of minutes, switch who is the leader and who is the mirror.
Now that you have both had a turn in the lead, experiment with taking turns leading- without talking! Can you stay connected enough to each other to “pass” the leadership back and forth? Maybe you are so connected you lose track of who is leading and who is following. To add more of a challenge, you can stand up and mirror each other’s entire body!