No actual meditation required.
When you’re a busy mom, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you need to do on a given day. Intuitively you know that you have to take care of yourself and recharge for your well-being and to be productive.
But, if you’ve made repeated attempts to join a local yoga class, but gave up when Susie got sick, or Jeremy’s hockey started up again, or if the thought of meditating stresses you out even more, you can rest easy. There are simple ways to take a breather during the day and reset when you’re at the beginning of your self-care journey.
Many people mistakenly think mindfulness is meditation. That’s not exactly true. In reality, meditation can be a form of mindfulness and mindfulness meditation can be a type of meditation. Meditation is a practice of thinking deeply or focusing your mind for a period of time, either in silence or by chanting.
Instead, according to Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, mindfulness is “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.” He adds, “in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”
There has been plenty of research on the positive effects of mindfulness as a stand-alone practice, including memory functioning, self-regulation, depression, and stress-reduction. It offers a way to incorporate your body, soul, and mind – a kind of zen.
The best part is that you don’t have to sit cross-legged or even be alone to be mindful. Nor do you have to dedicate lots of time to the practice of mindfulness. There are many simple ways you can incorporate it into your day to derive its many benefits, without missing a beat in your day.
Here are 5 easy ways to fit mindfulness into your busy so you can be the best you can be:
1. Get grounded.
When you feel your feet firmly planted on the ground, you can more easily connect to your body and your breath and stay in the moment. If you can take a mindful walk over your lunch break, it can do wonders. If you don’t have that luxury, simply take a few minutes to sit up in a chair and feel the soles of your feet.
Once you have your solid footing, feel the sensations through the floor or the earth, then notice your seat in your chair. Sense a long cord from your spine to the core of the earth. Don’t worry; you don’t have to close your eyes or hide in a broom closet at the office to do this! Fix your gaze on a spot in the room. I promise; no one will notice!
2. Just breathe.
If catching your breath is hard to do when you’re running from errand to errand or meeting to meeting, set a vibrating timer on your phone several times a day to remind you of the single-most-important function your body has: to breathe.
Take a few minutes to focus on your breathing:
Breathe out tension. Breathe in calm.
Breathe out perfectionism, fear, worry, overwhelm. Breathe in alignment and purpose.
Only you are aware that you are breathing, and you’ll be doing it more consciously and more deeply than ever before.
3. Listen for something new.
When thoughts crowd your mind, all you hear are the judgments swirling, and the words ready to come out for the next question and next response. Throughout the day, you might hear the ping of each smartphone notification, the TV in the background, your colleagues discussing the upcoming product launch, or kids battling over who’s turn it is to play with the latest toy. You hear a lot, but are you fully listening?
What if you stopped for a moment to listen to something new? Can you hear the tick of the hands of the wall clock, the buzz of the appliances, a bird singing, or the movements of a sonata?
4. Drink mindfully.
The recommended daily intake of water is 6 glasses a day. You’re tracking your intake and adding in a few coffees – maybe even a chardonnay to end off the day. As if for the first time, truly taste what you’re drinking. Notice the temperature as it passes your lips. Let the flavour linger on your tongue, then feel it as it goes down your throat. Six drinks a day means a minimum of 6 mindful moments.
5. Be present with a loved one.
You might spend your evenings and weekends doing chores and running between extra-curricular and family events. Instead of going through the motions, take a step back and genuinely see the people in your life. Hug your child, massage your partner, or snuggle with your pet. Let everything else in the world pass you by, focusing on only your loved one, and fully appreciating them in those moments.
Even if you’re super busy, you can easily include some of these simple mindfulness hacks into your day. Take whatever little opportunities you can to pay attention, be compassionate, and consciously live in the moment. As a result, you’ll feel more calm, more focused, and more ready to bring on joy.
Lisa Petsinis is a Certified Coach who works with women to ditch overwhelm, take back control of their lives, and reclaim their joy. Visit her website to learn more about her services, sign up for her newsletter, or contact her for a complimentary discovery call so you can confidently move toward a life you’ll love.