Umbrellas Are Not Just For Kids!

Umbrellas Are Not Just For Kids!

These days, a lot of what I hear from my clients and my friends is the incredible pressure on parents who are trying to work full-time from home with young children to look after or to help with their education – whatever form that takes. I have yet to meet one person (with or without children) who is not struggling to cope on some level as a result of the current COVID pandemic. Some of us are still optimistic or have practiced a lot of gratitude in the past which is certainly coming in handy now. Some of us may be privileged enough that this feels more like a giant inconvenience than a serious life threat.  Some of us may be facing real obstacles to getting even our most basic needs met. And some of us may have to dig deep to get through each week, each day, or even each moment.

The internet is overloaded with resources and tools and activities for parents looking for ways to occupy, entertain, educate, and support the mental health of their children at this time. It is true we can find tons of opportunities to strengthen our child’s umbrella right now, but let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the one that they see.

What does your umbrella look like these days? Even more importantly, how are you engaging with it? Do you even remember you have one? Are your kids watching you stand out in the rain, getting drenched? How do we support mental and emotional well-being in others when we can barely stay sane ourselves? 

It is time to shift the focus. Children learn through modeling and The Umbrella Project works through seeing and hearing examples of people exercising or growing their umbrella skills. 

Stuck at home together with your kids, like it or not, you are their biggest model right now.  

If you want to support your child’s mental health, support your own first.  

It’s like the oxygen mask on an airplane: “always secure your own mask before assisting another person”. You cannot shelter someone from the rain if you do not have, or are not using, your own umbrella, nor can you model skills you cannot yet identify.  

Do your own Umbrella Assessment. Identify your strengths and opportunities. We all have both! Explore them. Talk about them. Own them.

The Umbrella Skill I find myself emphasizing the most right now when I speak to parents is self-compassion. Honouring the struggle while acknowledging you are truly doing your best, is an incredibly valuable practice that will help you find peace during the uncertainty of these times, that you can then share with your children.

Furthermore, consider your specific situation and decide if now is truly a time to strengthen your umbrella, or if perhaps this is a moment of deluge during which you are better off seeking shelter under the parts of your umbrella that are already familiar and strong. There is no “right” approach to getting through this.

This is a challenging time for people of all ages. Remember you have an umbrella too, and regardless of what it looks like, it is how you engage with it that matters. When you can see that for yourself, your children will see it too.

Until her clinic space in Toronto can reopen safely, Laurie is currently offering private telemedicine consults and online group workshops on the topics of stress, anxiety, burnout, and recovery towards joyful living.  As a parent who has suffered from, and recovered from burnout, Laurie has found immense benefit from engaging with her own umbrella.  She uses the principles with people of all ages in her practice where she provides compassionate and holistic naturopathic care for children and their families.  For direct inquiries please visit or email

10 Tips for Better Social Media Practice

10 Tips for Better Social Media Practice

The world of social media is difficult to navigate as a parent or child. The current rain that we are experiencing has created an enhanced pressure to keep updated and informed.

We’ve collected some tips for you and your family for healthy social media boundaries and usage. 

10 Social Media Tips

1.Set limits on how much time you’ll spend on social media. 

To promote a healthy lifestyle, take a full day off and away from social media. Ensure you’ve taken 30 min off of social media before bed for better sleep. Our phones actually have ways of controlling limits, check out your settings for more details on how to set that up. 

2. Be aware of misinformation on the internet. 

There is a lot of content being thrown your way at very fast rates and it can be hard to verify what is real and what isn’t. Make sure to verify the information that you’ve read with reputable sources to keep a healthier relationship with the news. 

3. Limit the number of people that you’re following. This will help you be less drawn to spend time on it. 

Keeping a limit on those that you follow allows for you to be less drawn to spending time online. This reduces your worry of missing out on seeing something important, allowing your brain to truly take space away from social media. 

4. Create zones in your home that are device-free spaces.

Keep certain areas of the house available for you to be without your device. This will be a very important space for you to stay healthy and detached. 

5. Create a digital contract with your kids on phone usage and expectations to ensure healthy boundaries

This is a great parenting tip for those who have children with devices! This idea will help children with learning routines and schedules. Use growth mindset and cognitive flexibility to create an outline that works best for your family. 

6. Follow/discover pages that interest you or are creative.

This idea promotes cognitive flexibility and could be an interesting activity with limits put in place. These pages may challenge you to think outside of the box for your own life. 

7. Turn your privacy settings off so that people don’t know when you’re online. 

It can be hard to feel expected to respond to others. This way you can take the time away from your phone without this pressure! 

8. Send voice or video messages to friends/family when possible. 

This is an easy way to speed up how much time you spend online, as it is much quicker than typing. It is also way more personable to reach out this way!

9. Unfollow accounts that feel overwhelming or discouraging.

Check-in regularly about which accounts may be bothering you. It is a healthy practice to do often!

10. Be kind and cautious with your own sharing. 

Don’t overshare about your own life. Keep in mind that everything posted can permanently stay on the internet. Keep your account private and only let those you feel comfortable with follow you.

Let us know what ones worked for you by sharing & tagging us on our social media!