Life seems to be getting busier by the day. As mamas, we often don’t have chance to take a hot shower, never mind being able to fit in a regular meditation session. However, in such a 24/7 world, finding a little mental space is essential to our everyday wellbeing.
Mindfulness doesn’t have to be a complicated or time consuming thing. Its not about trying to make sense of everything or finding answers. Its simply about focusing your attention on the present moment.
Thankfully, there are many ways you can bring a slice of mindfulness to your busy day…
1 // Mindful breathing
A simple exercise that requires just 60 seconds of being still, mindful breathing can be done standing up, sitting down, or waiting for the kettle to boil. Calmly and slowly breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, taking around six seconds for each complete breath cycle. Clear your mind of all other thoughts, be mindful of the breath as it fills your lungs then leaves your body again. If your mind wanders, gently pull it back to your breathing. Don’t force the breath, it should be natural and effortless. Do this for one or two minutes every day to instantly feel refreshed.
2 // Body scan
Sit comfortably, close your eyes and bring your awareness to your breath. Once focused, run through each part of the body, spending a few breaths checking in with each part. Start at the feet and gradually work up the body – the ankles, knees, legs, hips, abdomen, chest, fingers, arms, shoulders, neck, jawline, ears, eyes, forehead. Stop at each part and notice how it is feeling – whether it is tired or aching, how the clothes feel against your skin, how your body feels in contact with the chair. When you reach the crown of your head and finish the scan, gently open your eyes and go about your day. This is a wonderful exercise to assist in falling asleep at night.
3 // Mindful activity
Choose one activity from your day that is usually performed automatically to do mindfully. This could be brushing your teeth, washing your hair, or preparing a meal. Rather than using that time to run through your burgeoning To-Do list, instead notice how the toothpaste tastes, the brush moves, how the water feels, or the colours of the food. Whenever your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to the activity. Instead of constantly thinking of finishing the task and worrying about the next, immerse yourself in the present, finding contentment and discovering new experiences in what was simply routine.
4 // Mindful observation
Choose something from your every day routine to observe mindfully. Try really listening to a piece of music, even if it isn’t your usual genre. Become fully engrossed in the sounds, the structure, allow yourself to climb inside the music without making any judgement.
You could also choose a natural object. Stop and observe a flower or a tree – look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Explore its structure, colour, texture, and be fully consumed by its presence and purpose for a moment.
5 // Mindful appreciation
As you go about your day, find five things that you are grateful for that would usually go unnoticed. This could be the soft rugs underfoot, the water that comes out of the tap, the trees that provide shade, the power for your phone. Think about where these things come from and the role they play. Acknowledge and appreciate the detail in their existence, and consider what life would be like without them.
6 // Mindful eating
Even a busy mama has to eat! This is a great way to bring a little mindfulness to an often hurried task. Focus on what you are eating, what it looks like and smells like. Be aware of each bite, how it tastes, its texture, its temperature, and how you feel during and afterwards. This will not only benefit your mind, but also help you eat slower, aiding your digestion.
7 // Sensory awareness
This is a particularly good exercise for those moments you are feeling frazzled and overwhelmed (like, every day?!). In that moment, stop and run through your senses to see what they are experiencing. Your eyes – what do you see? Your nose – what do you smell? Your ears – what can you hear? Are your hands clenched, how do they feel? What about your breath, is it fast? Be mindful of how your whole body feels, then recommence your day with a renewed sense of calm.