Think Better.
Feel Better.

Musings on living well.

6 Stay-Calm, Back To School Survival Tips For Parents

It’s time to stop the back-to-school insanity. Whether you’re shovelling school supplies into your cart, buying an entire fall and winter wardrobe for multiple children or compulsively bookmarking online roundups of “adorable nut-free lunch ideas,” take a deep breath and step back. Sure, you can now count the days until the first day of school on your hands. And yes, you’re probably starting to dread the inevitable first-day jitters and nightly homework squabbles. But this year you can choose to start and end the school year on a calmer note by paring back and focusing on your family’s peace of mind. Here’s how.

  1. Put down the 48-pack of pencil sharpeners. While your kids’ school may have provided a list of required school supplies, many teachers outline requirements after school starts. Plus, if you’re like us, you may have lots of erasers, markers and supplies tucked in the back of your art baskets already. Hear from teachers first and get kids involved in reviewing what you already have before you hit the store.

  2. Focus on feelings. As parents we’re often so busy running through a mental shopping list—and savouring the last days of summer—that we forget to chat with our kids about first-day fears, being kind to students and teachers and managing the emotional ups and downs of school. Dr. Debra Pepler, a York University psychology professor and the scientific co-director of the bullying prevention research group PREVnet, offers some excellent tips for parents to prepare their kids for the mental and social challenges of the school year in this Canadian Living article.
  3. Start new routines. Rather than accepting parental stress as a given, why not carve out a few minutes a day to meditate? Research indicates that mindfulness meditation boosts our physical and mental health and may enhance family relationships, too.  Starting or boosting your meditation practice is easier with Muse. Other apps offer guided meditations, but Muse is the only guided meditation tool with brain-sensing technology to let you hear whether your mind is calm or active as you meditate. (Check out this video on how new mom, Liza, uses Muse.)

  4. Take a break from the mall. You may have to buy school uniforms or a first-day outfit beforehand, but you probably don’t need to clean out The Children’s Place. Why buy six pairs of cords only to discover all the kids are wearing Adidas track pants this year?

  5. Lose the lunch guilt. Hey, we survived eating bologna sandwiches for seven years in a row. Go ahead and offer a wide variety of healthy foods, but don’t stress if you’re not offering homemade charcuterie in cookie-cutter shapes.

  6. Choose calm. Make time for family meditation as well. A recent meta-review of the effect of meditation interventions in schools concluded that meditation boosted cognitive function, success and emotional regulation in students. (Note that Muse is for people 16 and up, but Sarah Rudell Beach offers some easy ways to teach your kids mindfulness meditation in this Huffington Post article.) Demonstrating the benefits of meditation to kids is a gift that keeps on giving, in the school year and beyond.

Want to find out more about meditation? Read about the latest meditation research, how to find time to meditate and what people are saying about Muse, your personal meditation assistant.


9 Top Celebrity Meditation Quotes

Singer Sir Paul McCartney, TV and movie stars Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Lena Dunham, Hugh Jackman and Eva Mendes, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, basketball player Kobe Bryant, and comedian-activist Russell Brand are just a few of many celebrities reported to meditate. From staying grounded to reducing anxiety to boosting emotional resiliency, here’s what they have to say about meditation, in their own words.

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Expert Meditation Tips

Looking to turn your interest in meditation into a more regular and effective practice? Sometimes it takes some experienced insights to help you meditate more often and more deeply. Consider these nine tips from leading meditation experts today. 

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Meditation Research News

You may have heard anecdotally that meditation is good for you, but increasingly, studies are showing just how and why it’s so effective for the brain and overall health. From lowering stress and anxiety to boosting your grey matter and control over thoughts and emotions, meditation clearly offers many positive mental health effects. Review some of the recent research and check with your healthcare practitioner to find out if meditation is right for you. Read more

The Most Unconventional Way to Learn Meditation.

Yes, we all know we should be meditating. It’s the new thing… but are you one of the people that just can’t seem to get it? Do you ask yourself: “Am I doing it right?”, “Am I improving?” or “Is this even working?”

You can learn to meditate just about anywhere with Muse. Today, we wanted to you show just that. Even in the most unconventional way, for instance on horseback.

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New Meditator Ryan Littzen: The Man to Get the Job Done

Meet Ryan | Toronto, ON, Canada.

Ryan is a man with an unquenchable thirst for life, learning, and discovery. A traveler by profession, Ryan sets his goals high and his standards for personal achievement even higher. Ryan is about to start  21 Days of Meditation with Muse – an initiative designed to show the profound impacts meditation can have on your mind and body with just three weeks of dedication.

We asked him a few questions about his life and his experience with meditation.

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How To Make Time For Meditation

In the busy whirl of our days, it can be a challenge for even the most experienced meditators to fit meditation in. But to reap the benefits of meditation, such as reduced stress, a calm mind and better health, regular practice is key. Try these proven tips to make meditation part of your daily routine.

Seize the day (or night). Many meditation experts advise walking up a bit earlier to meditate, or meditating at the end of your day. There are fewer distractions at these times and it’s ideal to begin and close the day on a tranquil note. Read more

500 people showed up to a brain experiment and you’ll never believe what researchers learned.

When neuroscientists study living human brains, their work usually involves a few dozen participants who visit a lab separately and must sit still for an hour or more. But a consumer technology innovation may have just opened the door to powerful new insights into how the brain works outside the lab, in real life social environments, in the home, at work, at school and at play.

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Meet Sandy Schwenger: A Combination of Relentless Ambition and Extraordinary Talent









Sandy Schwenger is a Registered Dietitian and also a Certified Lifestyle Counselor. Sandy has over 25 years of experience in the field of nutrition education and weight loss. In her early career she has created numerous heart healthy recipes; educational materials, presentations and workshops, including the award-winning nutrition education and weight management program LessOn Lifestyles®.

Sandy is currently the CEO of m-Health Solutions. Sandy is about to start 21 Days of Meditation with Muse – an initiative designed to share the profound impacts meditation can have on your mind and body with just three weeks of dedication. We asked her a few questions about her life and her experience with meditation.

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