What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present and aware of what you’re doing. It is the opposite of mindlessness. It promotes presence and attentiveness. And allows you to take better control of your choices and ability to focus. There are innumerable benefits to mindfulness: improved focus, decreased stress, memory enhancement, better sleep, and increased productivity.
The Benefits of Mindful Mommy Time
Moms often operate in autopilot mode. They find themselves torn between endless to-do list and arduous daily routines. Sometimes it’s a challenge simply finding the time to go to the bathroom alone, much less having downtime to relax. The good news is there are several ways that moms can maintain wellness and restore balance in their lives. Check out this list of simple adjustments that will help you minimize stress, as well as take rein of your overall well-being.
1. Take a walk
Walking is a superb activity for you and your children. Its an ideal way to balance mental and physical energy. Try taking intermittent walks during the day. Scientists have found that regular visits outdoors result in less stress and fatigue. Additionally, walks have been proven to increase creativity and improve wellness.
You’d be surprised how beneficial a short walk can be. It gives you the chance to appreciate what nature has to offer. It will also afford you the opportunity to pay attention to the way each step feels. And bask in special moments with your children. Walks will help you and your children stay healthy in mind, as well as body in addition to bolstering your self-esteem and mood. There’s nothing like a nice walk to slow down the pace and show you the bigger picture.
2. Minimize multitasking
Sometimes it’s necessary to work on a variety of tasks at one time. But too much multitasking can prove to be ineffectual. Scientists report that multitasking actually takes more time and causes more stress than focusing on one tasks at a time. It’s also known to prompt feelings of inadequacies in mothers. According to studies, women report feeling overwhelmed and unproductive when they’re trying to accomplish more than one thing at one time.
So, next time you find yourself doing several tasks at once: making dinner, doing laundry, helping with homework—try taking a minute and giving full attention to one chore at a time. And watch how amazing ‘single’ tasking makes you feel.
3. Do a body scan
Check in with yourself throughout the day. Focus your attention on different parts of your body, from head to toe. Do hourly check-ins by taking deep breaths and identifying where tension shows up—maybe in the jaw, shoulders, brow, or abdomen. We tend to hold tension in our jaws. Make sure you’re unclenching your teeth. Try to release your brows, as well. Permit your body to soften as you breathe, then stretch and adjust your posture.
Do you still have your labor massage ball? Take it out and try massaging your feet and hands with it. This little hack can make a big difference—watch as that mommy tension slowly floats away.
4. Take a tech time out
The phone can be a masterful distractor. You could almost compare it to having something, or someone present that persistently nudges and nags you; it drains your attention. Try setting boundaries on the use of your devices in an effort to clear your mind.
Don’t want to miss any important calls? Invest in a smart watch. They’re great at notifying you of incoming calls, texts and other alerts without getting you fully distracted or detained by your phone.
5. Schedule downtime
Try making an appointment with yourself. I know, it might seem challenging at first, but I assure you that you’ll adjust to the idea before you know it. Identify and isolate time each day that allows you to unwind or collect your thoughts. This will give you a breather and afford you some much needed opportunities to journal, do something spontaneous or simply chillax.
6. Avoid judgment
An important principle of mindfulness is being kind to yourself. Make sure that you are being gracious with yourself as a parent. It’s easy to beat yourself up when you make a mistake or you don’t feel like you’re meeting the mark as a mom. If you find yourself getting seduced by self-defeating thoughts, recognize it, and deliver yourself back to a pleasant, well-deserved state of mind.
7. Take time to reflect, meditate or pray
The Five-Minute Journal is a simple tool to increase focus and improve mindfulness. It’s separated into two sections; a morning and nighttime routine. This handy book can help boost your happiness in as little as 5 minutes a day.
Here’s a 5-Step Meditation you might find helpful:
- Sit in a comfortable chair or position in a quiet spot. Keep your back straight and relax your shoulders.
- Breath as you normally would, in and out of your nose. Your eyes can be open or closed. Focus on the sensation of air moving in and out of your lungs.
- If your mind wonders, don’t stress, simply return to focusing on your breathing.
- Avoid focusing on perfecting this process. Your primary goal is to direct your attention to your breathing.
- Try this 10 minutes a day for a week. The more your meditate, the easier it will be to stay focused.
You will not master mindfulness overnight. Actually, you’ll probably never fully master it. The good news is that with a little time, patience and consistency, you should be able to incorporate it into your everyday life.
Making these mindfulness tweaks will allow you to identify and address tension that you may not have otherwise noticed. It will also enable you to experience the beauty of mommy mindfulness at its best.
Guest Writer – Kim Anthony, M.A.
Life & Wellness Coach, Educator, Author, Founder of FitnessGalore.net