Whether you’ve chosen to set resolutions to be more mindful this year or not, almost every mom can benefit from practicing some form of meditation to manage the heavy load we’re often carrying. As we kick off another trip around the sun, below is an introduction to mindfulness in 2023, with varying levels of ways to meditate so you can find what works best for YOU.
At its core, mindfulness comes down to being able to be fully present in a moment to truly experience life, reduce stress, or prevent overwhelm. Mindfulness is absolutely not a skill that you do or do not have. Each of us has the innate ability to be mindful – we just need to learn how to tap into that place of being. Think back to before you had kids, to a moment when you were able to simply sit and be. Maybe you were driving in a car without screaming toddlers in the background, or taking a bath without a mental to-do list for the next day running through your mind. Each of us can do this, and it doesn’t take much to practice it.
Six Steps for Starting Mindfulness
- Pick a comfortable, quiet spot to sit. Meditation and mindfulness practice can be done while laying down, but may lead to sleep. So find a spot big enough for you to sit in silence and peace. While a quiet room with natural light, candles and meditation music often seems like the best place, this could just as easily be the floor of your closet, pantry, or bathroom – just big enough to put in some headphones and sit.
- Close your eyes and pay attention to your body. What are your legs doing? How about your fingers? Is your forehead tense? Start with your head and work your way down, easing as you go. Release any tension and settle every part of your body into a place of comfort.
- Turn your attention to your breath. Allow yourself to breathe at a normal pace, and after a few moments, take some deep breaths. Breathe in deeply and exhale slowly. Feel how this impacts your heart and focus.
- Recenter your thoughts. Our mind has a tendency to wander, and not in a bad way. Maybe as you focused on your hands, you remembered that you wanted to remove your chipping nail polish. Or when you focused on your breathing, you felt the rolls on your tummy and remembered you wanted to get in a walk today. These are all valid thoughts – acknowledge them. Then turn your attention back to the moment.
- Sit in silence for as long as you feel comfortable. Maybe you can only allow yourself five minutes on the floor of your bathroom before the kids wake up demanding food. Sit in those five minutes fully. Is your mind still talking to you, reminding you that you need to do X, Y, and Z today? Ask your mind who is really talking to you. Quiet that voice and force it to think about your body, your breath, this moment. This part is the hardest but gets easier with practice.
- Do this as many times a week as you can. Maybe it’s simply not doable every day when you have an endless list of things to do and only so much time in the day. Even 10 minutes of meditation a day has mountains of benefits in reducing anxiety and stress.
Maybe you’ve practiced meditation before sporadically and want to be more purposeful about it this year. In that case, for this introduction to mindfulness in 2022, here are some additional resources you can explore.
Download the Calm app. Filled with meditations, sleep stories, and more, this is an excellent tool to keep in your pocket for daily use. Here’s a 30-day free pass for getting started with Calm.
Read more about how to release your mind with The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer. Who is that voice in your mind that never seems to turn off? Learn how to recognize them and quiet them down.
Step beyond yourself and involve your whole family. Mindfulness is a difficult practice to explain to a child, but teaching them to be present in the moment is easy. Here are some great tips for being more attuned to your mental health within the whole family.
Practice mindfulness, especially when stressed. Check out other great resources from Lansing Mom for managing your stress and anxiety to put your 2022 mindfulness practice to good use when you need it most.