By Jordan Smith, Writer and Mom
“Mindfulness is the act of paying attention to your thoughts and feelings in the moment. Using mindfulness means we stop and push the pause button on our reaction to whatever is happening. Here we can assess our thoughts and feelings for their validity.” Lair Torrent – LMFT in Inc.
Mindfulness may seem like a far-off goal that you’ll get to when you have more free time and life isn’t shrouded in chaos. But the times when life is overwhelming is exactly when you can benefit from mindfulness the most.
While it may seem impossible to become more mindful when you’re struggling to stay afloat, it might just provide you with the flotation device you need.
Learning to become more mindful doesn’t require you to spend weeks at a yoga retreat or study Buddhism. All you need to do is practice approaching your life with intention and awareness. A few small changes may mean the difference between being a frantic, irritable mom and a calm, content mom.
6 Ways for Moms to Incorporate Mindfulness
1. Practice Awareness
Bringing a sense of awareness to your life is as simple as focusing on what it is you are doing. Instead of letting your mind race about all the things you need to do before picking up the kids, just focus on a single task, and nothing else.
If you are folding laundry, just fold the laundry and think about the importance of the task. Folding laundry may not be your favorite pastime, but it allows your family to have clean, well-kept clothes and an organized home (provided that they put it away — but one thing at a time!). Thinking of what you are doing at that moment will keep you from getting overwhelmed and enable you to complete a single task fully.
2. Establish Routines
An easy way to incorporate intention into your busy schedule is to implement routines. Identify where most of your stress originates and start small.
Is the morning rush a terrifying whirlwind in your home? Create morning and evening routines that allow you to make it to lunch without being exhausted. Determine an order of events that makes sense and then work on the routine until it becomes second nature.
Approaching your morning with intention will allow you to make little changes that can have a large impact on your day.
You may find that waking up an extra 10 minutes early gives you enough time to get ready before the kids take over the bathroom or breakfast needs to be made. Similarly, an evening routine can be as simple as packing lunches or placing your keys near the door. Focus on the routine and organization will follow.
3. Just Eat Lunch
Challenge yourself to just eat lunch and do nothing else. Lunchtime easily gets lost in multitasking madness. Do you frequently find yourself eating over the sink while paying bills on your phone and waiting for the laundry to be done? That’s no way to enjoy a meal. And odds are that your divided attention is dragging out the bill paying, too.
To make lunch more mindful, try sitting down and just eat your lunch. Focus on the sensation of eating and the deliberate act of nourishing your body. Even if it is only for 15 minutes, taking time to enjoy a lunch break is a way to bring mindfulness into your day and develop a sense of appreciation for such little, but necessary, moments.
4. Prioritize and Simplify
Bringing intention into your life will force you to think about the meaning behind your daily tasks and focus on the reasons you do these things. In some cases, this increase in awareness might reveal the unnecessary things you’re doing. If being intentional means doing things purposefully, it may also mean that you stop doing the unnecessary things.
If you find that the piano lessons that your child dislikes are just resulting in a waste of money and both of your time, consider letting your child move on to a different hobby. If your child hates the lessons that require you to sacrifice time and money, and you have to deal with the stress of getting them to practice, it may not be worth the effort to continue.
While you may not want to encourage your child to quit things because something is difficult, you should weigh the pros and cons of the situation. In some cases, quitting something makes room for a potential new hobby that adds more value than stress.
5. Mindful Multitasking
If you must multitask, do so in a mindful manner. Perhaps you can do a breathing exercise while conditioning your hair or meditate while sitting in a waiting room at the pediatrician. These little moments of multitasking will still allow you to focus on the task at hand without losing awareness.
One particularly mindful way to multitask is to wear a wellbeing bracelet that will enable you to connect to the natural frequency of the Earth while you go about your day. These bracelets can help reduce stress and improve your focus, both of which will increase your mindfulness.
The simple act of putting on a bracelet may result in a calmer state of mind that makes it easier for you to spread mindfulness throughout your entire day. Wearing a bracelet that helps you feel centered and receptive to other mindful thoughts may be enough to keep you calm for everything between the morning alarm and tucking the kids into bed.
6. Breathe Deeply
There are many opportunities to focus on your breathing throughout the day, so pick one in which you are sitting and can focus only on breathing. For example, waiting for the kids to come out of school. It’s a perfect time to sit up straight and inhale deeply. Think of the air being pulled into your body and feel it exit as you slowly exhale. Focus on the moment and allow yourself to enjoy a moment of calm that will help you to greet the impending chaos with a smile.
Start with small changes
It may feel overwhelming to practice mindfulness as a mom. Remember that you can start small with one idea and build from there.
Jordan Smith is a 30-something with a young family living in the great state of South Carolina. She balances the demands of her career and motherhood with crafting, writing, and wine drinking. Jordan loves the support online communities provide. She hopes that her writing helps other families too.