How often is your mind in the present moment?
Do you often find yourself thinking of stresses and everything you still need to do?
Maybe you feel like you’re on auto-pilot– doing things mindlessly without a present thought?
It’s easy to slip into auto-pilot when you’re a parent. There are always so many things to do every day for your kids and family, plus any work, house maintenance, and your own wants and needs! Maybe it’s time to consider how mindfulness could help. And no– mindfulness isn’t another task for your endless to-do-list! It’s a simple tool that can make parenting that little bit more manageable.
What is mindfulness and its benefits?
Mindfulness is more than just a trend, it’s a way of thinking and being that can help you turn off auto-pilot and enjoy life in the present moment. It is about experiencing the now, rather than replaying things that happened in the past or worrying about what’s going to happen next.
Practising mindfulness is not a one-time event and it certainly doesn’t happen straight away. Through mindfulness practice like meditation, changing thoughts, and breathing techniques, over time you will become more mindful and feel the calming benefits.
Building mindfulness into my daily routine is how I’ve been able to reduce my overthinking and worry. It helps me work through my emotions and feel more positive. It is great at reducing stress, slowing down a busy mind, and helping you feel in control.
Mindfulness for parents
While mindfulness may sound amazing, it might not sound so practical as a busy parent! The good news is mindful behaviours are actually very achievable– you probably already practice some yourself without realising! Think of a hobby or interest you really enjoy and feel totally immersed in when you do it. This was most likely a mindful experience, and a feeling you can replicate in other situations.
One way to do this is by using your senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound. By acknowledging and exploring your senses, you can experience the moment and be more mindful. This can be as simple as savouring the taste of a cup of tea, or enjoying the smell of your favourite soap. It may sound silly or feel unusual, but it slows down your thoughts and encourages appreciation and gratitude.
Mindfulness is not only important to help you destress but it’s great for your children too. By practising mindful behaviour, you’re being a role model to your children. They are growing up in a faster-paced world that will require this skill more than ever. Show them the benefits of slowing down and savouring life’s moments. They might pick up more than you think!
How to get started (without adding anything else to your to-do list!)
An easy place to start is by trying mindfulness meditation. These are available across a variety of apps, or through many online mediums. Mindfulness meditations involve breathing methods, guided imagery, soothing sounds, and other practices to relax the body and mind. While meditations are great, there are plenty of simple ways you can practice mindfulness in your everyday life. Here are some of my favourite mindfulness tips:
- When you wash the dishes, focus on the feel of the soapy water and nice smelling washing liquid. I bet no-one wants to help so you get quiet time for yourself!
- Eat a delicious snack and don’t feel guilty! Just enjoy the taste.
- Savour your morning tea or coffee. Take in the smells and enjoy the taste.
- Take 5 deep breaths and picture the breath as it moves through your body. Breathing acts as an anchor to the present moment, allowing stresses and worries to float away. Try to attach calm and controlled breathing to a habit you’re already doing, like pulling up at traffic lights, or getting ready for bed.
- Take a bath with your favourite scent of body wash. Feel the water and enjoy the aroma.
- When you wash your face at night, really feel the cleansing effect.
- Cook a delicious meal and take the time to smell and feel the ingredients– and of course taste the amazing end result!
I’d love to hear any other simple mindfulness tips you might have to add to my list!
If you’d like a little guidance to practice mindfulness, I’d definitely recommend trying Yin Yoga. Yin Yoga is a slow-moving yoga practice that can calm your mind and your body. I offer a free introduction to Yin & Nidra Yoga that you can easily do from the comfort of home and share the experience with like-minded mums.