By Keisha Singleton
Mindfulness. The art of taking time to live in the moment and exist consciously in the present. It seems an easy state to achieve, but with today’s modern lifestyle (hello phones, iPads, computers and every other digital device!) finding the time to simply BE can be difficult. Throw children into the mix and it seems impossible.
The aim of mindfulness is to focus on one thing at a time. However, as mamas, we exist in a continuous state of multitasking. This morning while taking my daughter to daycare I was also running through my work-out routine in my head, planning what to have for dinner and reading emails. We never understand our potential to multitask until we become mothers, and once we begin this new phase of our lives it becomes intolerable to stop. Why focus on one thing when we can be doing five?
Well, because although we can juggle 12 things at once, it does not mean that we should. By taking five minutes to ourselves each day to practice mindfulness we can clear and refocus our minds, connect with our feelings and take care of our mental health. By becoming aware of each moment we connect with the world around us, inject a calming atmosphere into the home, create a greater awareness within ourselves and level our mood. In the long run, our energy levels become more consistent and our heart will strengthen. All thanks to a little meditation each day.
Here are three ways to fit mindfulness into your busy schedule:
1 // Take 10 slow, mindful breaths at the start and end of each day
If your child or children wake after you (lucky you!), take 10 slow, deep breaths when you wake. Make this a regular practice – before you reach for your phone or go to check on the child/ren, hold this moment for yourself. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, noticing how the air is cooler when inhaled and warm when it leaves your body. Feel the morning air filling your lungs as you get ready for another day.
Repeat this at bedtime, after brushing your teeth and before laying down. For those of us who are woken up by our little monsters (usually with a finger in the eye), then simply ensure that you include the evening breathing technique – Pranayama – in your bedtime routine.
2 // Eat peacefully
When eating alone, ignore all other outside stimuli and focus on the moment. Put your phone away, turn the television off and close the computer as you take this time to explore the tastes and textures making their way through your body.
Whilst eating with little ones, you can still practice mindfulness and involve them in mindful eating. Eat away from distractions and ask them about their food – what can they smell, feel and taste? Where do they think their food comes from and how do they think it is cooked? Mindfulness does not have to be silence, it is simply being present and immersed in the moment.
3 // Wash mindfully
Whether it’s washing our hands, our face or finding the time for a shower, each day we wash. Washing is a perfect way to practice being present in the moment, as it is already part of our routines and so we do not have to find time to fit it in.
When washing, focus on the sensation of the water flowing on your skin – it’s temperature, force and the way it falls from your body. Close your eyes for a second and just feel.