Join Us in Taking a Mindful Moment Today: Learn About Mindfulness with Us!

April 19th, 2022

There has been a lot of buzz around the critical need of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs, like The Zones of Regulation, in addressing the stress and emotional toll that the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic has taken on youth around the world. There is no question that our kids desperately need SEL. We contend that adults need it too!

A distinct and common throughline in almost all of our conversations this year with teachers, caregivers, administrators, and clinicians is exhaustion and overwhelm. So many of us are just getting by day-to-day, struggling to balance our responsibilities at home, work, and in our community. Right now, we are ALL experiencing a wide range of internal feelings, or Zones, within our daily lives. And many of us are probably getting by each day struggling to operate effectively in the Yellow or Blue Zone.

As adults, we often neglect to take care of ourselves before taking care of others (I will not indulge you with the oft-mentioned oxygen mask analogy). And yes, we are all aware of the “shoulds” that would help–eating healthy, getting to the gym, getting a good night’s sleep, going to therapy, going on walks with friends; but in reality, who has the time and capacity given the factors and responsibilities we are juggling?
The Pathway for Regulation that we teach as part of The Zones of Regulation instruction can be an invaluable tool for us adults. This practice gives us an opportunity to stop and regulate, which is often overlooked and undervalued in adult life. I’m not suggesting that you need to form an elaborate schedule or system for self-care, rather, develop a practice of taking a moment, or a pause, throughout your day to check-in. You can even take this mindful moment when you’re with children, students, and colleagues.(That’s efficiency, right!?) When we’re doing so, it’s important to remember that All the Zones are OK, and we’re not aiming to “get back to the Green Zone,” but rather decide if and how to take care of our feelings in the moment.

Here’s how a Mindful Moment using The Zones Pathway can look:

1) Notice: Check-in with your internal state: What’s going on inside my body (energy, heart rate, breathing, cognition, emotions)? What’s the situation?

2) Identify Zone: What Zone am I in?

3) Decide: Do I need to take care of my Zone?

4) Regulate: Use a tool to manage your Zone (i.e., calming tool for your Yellow or Red Zone, alerting tool for your Blue Zone, proactive tool for your Green Zone) or keep moving forward, depending on your answer to step 3.

5) Reflect: Do I feel regulated? Am I ready to move forward?

When we walk through these steps, we are building a cognitive pathway for self-care, which mirrors what we are trying to impart in our learners. Once we feel comfortable with this practice for our own regulation, we can turn around and model for our learners by “thinking aloud:”

  • “I have a nervous feeling in my stomach and I’m breathing fast, I’m in the Yellow Zone.”
  • ​“I feel exhausted in the Blue Zone today.”
  • “I am trying to decide if I should stop and use a tool to manage my Zone right now.”
  • “I am going to take 3 deep breaths to help me with my Zone, do you want to count for me?”
  • “At home I pet my dog to help me with my Zone, but at my job I need a different tool.”
  • “I am wondering if I’m ready to move on to _________.”

Engaging in a mindful moment like this gives us grown-ups the opportunity to “practice what we preach” when it comes to modeling regulation for the learners in our lives, with the added benefit of giving us a respite and response to the stress that is all too common in our daily lives.

Will you join us in taking a mindful moment today?

To learn more about The Zones Pathway to Regulation, join one of our Zones Trainings!


Author - Leah Kuypers & The Zones team

Hello Zones community, welcome to our Blog! Here we will share our latest information on key concepts and best practices related to The Zones of Regulation framework and curriculum, as well as highlight the work and voices of those in our community.

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