Mindfulness for Parents During the Pandemic

The Mindfulness Journey

A Q&A with AMI’s Jessi Heneghan

Atlanta Mindfulness Institute is launching a new sitting group especially for parents. This group aims to help parents navigate the challenges of COVID-19, the election year, the outcry for increased social and racial justice, as well as the many other unique challenges faced by caregivers. Instructor Jessi Heneghan, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist, provided details in a recent interview.

Q: What can participants expect if they attend this group?
A: Each session will start with about 20 minutes of guided meditation followed by a short discussion on mindfulness as it relates to parenting. We’ll cover a different mindfulness practice each time. Then we’ll open it up for discussion to support parents’ particular mindfulness practices and to offer community and support.

Q: Why is this group so important to have right now?
A: Many parents lack support because their “must do’s” take precedence over everything. Parenting is even more challenging right now given current events. Parents need support in their own personal lives as well as in the other demands they have as humans, and this group can provide that.

Q: Why are you excited to teach this group?
A: I’m a single parent who works full time. I have two small children, and being able to support them in this radical life of uncertainty is important. It’s also important for me to create a space for my own personal meditation practice and then to incorporate mindfulness with my family. Mindfulness has been the biggest thing getting us through these difficult times, and I’m excited to share this lifeline with other parents.

Q: Who should join your group? Should they have previous experience with mindfulness?
A: Anyone who has an interest in mindfulness and finds themselves in a parenting role should attend. You don’t have to be a biological parent. This group is accessible for people with an ongoing meditation practice and for those who are just getting started.

Q: What are the benefits of participating?
A: When parents have a way of caring for their own inner experience, they are better able to be responsive to their children. You’ll learn a framework for a connected, peaceful family life in a time that otherwise feels impossible for many of us. Additional benefits include improved focus, sleep, interpersonal relationships, conflict resolution, and empathy development.

Q: What if people feel they are too busy to attend?
A: It’s only two times per month, and it’s drop in. You can come as your schedule allows. We meet later in the evening, so you can attend after the kids are in bed. This is a chance to intentionally give yourself a bit of space to reflect and let yourself settle. I have a personal mission to make it really accessible so parents can practice mindfulness. We will spend some time talking about informal practices that parents can do as they go about their day.

Q: How can parents join this sitting group?
A: We meet via Zoom on the second and fourth Monday of each month from 8:30-9:30 p.m. ET. You will need to register online. It’s free to attend. We suggest a $10 donation and appreciate any amount you might be willing to offer. Once you register, I’ll send you the Zoom link and additional details.

To learn more about this sitting group, Mindfulness and Compassion During Challenging Times: A Group for Parents, visit our Collective Growth & Mending Groups page.