Just for YOU! Extended Breath
Welcome to December! Last month we talked about mindfully breathing and checking in with yourself for 3 to 4 minutes. This month we’re taking it to 5 whole minutes with a new extended breath activity and we can’t think of a better time for it than right now. The extended breath is all about slow and relaxing breaths. These are the kind of breaths that can slow our heart rate and shift our nervous system from a stress response, fight, flight, or freeze, to a calm one called rest/digest. This shift is so beneficial to the body and can help us focus, learn, and react more efficiently. At the end of a year like this one, you have more than earned the time for yourself. Go ahead and give it a try. The following steps are from the third featured exercise in the Mindfulness Toolkit from Zero to Three.
- Sit in an upright position. Sit tall to make space in your body for taking deep breaths.
- Taking in a deep breath, then slowly exhale. Focusing your attention on the breath, notice the sensations of breathing — the waves of expansion and contraction.
- Take a few more breaths just like that.
- Start counting your breath. How many counts to inhale? How many to exhale?
- Keep this pattern going and continue to pay attention to the expansion and contraction of each.
- On your next breath, keep the count for the inhalation, but start to extend the exhalation to be 2 counts longer. For example, if your exhalation count was 4, it will now be 6.
- The goal is to work toward extending the exhale at least 2 counts longer than the inhale. For example, if your inhale count was 4, your exhale count should be 6. Keeping working at it over the next several breaths.
- It’s okay if this feels challenging. It’s okay to work with an equal count of inhalations and exhalations.
- And if it feels easy, work toward extending your exhalations to double your inhalations. For example, if your inhalation count is 4, your exhalation count will be 8.
- Stay with your extended exhalation for a few more breaths (pause).
- Now, letting go of the controlled breathing and coming back to a free, natural breath.
- Notice how you feel after this practice. Do you feel different physically? Do you notice a difference in your thoughts or emotions?
That’s it. 5 minutes to hit refresh. Next month we’ll try “Calm Breath, Clear Mind.” Doesn’t that sound like the perfect practice to learn in January, the start of a new year?
Relief for Small Businesses
On November 30th, Governor Gavin Newsom announced an assistance opportunity for businesses impacted by Covid-19 including child care providers. The following is from the Department of Social Services.
California will provide temporary tax relief for eligible businesses impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. The temporary tax relief:
- Entails an automatic three-month income tax extension for taxpayers filing less than $1 million in sales tax.
- Extends the availability of existing interest and penalty-free payment agreements to companies with up to $5 million in taxable sales.
- Provides expanded interest free payment options for larger businesses particularly affected by significant restrictions on operations based on COVID-19 transmissions.
Click here for more detailed information regarding the application process.
New Covid Relief Grant for Small Businesses
The Governor announced the creation of a $500 million COVID Relief Grant administered by the California Office of the Small Business Advocate (CalOSBA) at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for small impacted by COVID health and safety restrictions.
The Grant will distribute relief through grants of up to $25,000 to those located in economically disadvantaged and historically under resourced and small businesses throughout the state by early 2021. Non-profits would also be eligible for these grants. CalOSBA is establishing the program and will make it available to small businesses as soon as possible – for updates on availability visit here.
Apply for a loan through the California Rebuilding Fund
Create a Winter-Wonderland with your students or family
Our weather may be quite mild here, but creating a cold-weather themed and cozy atmosphere can add to the season’s fun. If you would like to create a winter-wonderland wherever you are, check out Hello, December for snowmen and snowflake crafts, a recipe for jazzed-up hot cider, and SB County activities and resource opportunities.