Meditation For Moms Short on Time
Find Your Happy Place
Mothers everywhere share a common obstacle- finding time for themselves to relax. More often than not, we don't get a daily stress-free break so we improvise and take so-called "breaks" whenever we can sneak one. I used to meditate before I became a mother- setting aside time each day to reflect and relax. I can laugh out loud thinking about doing that now. Instead I learned to make the most of my daily routines and find my happy place in the least obvious places.
First, spend what little quality time you do have and dedicate that minute or two to conjure up a detailed image of your personal happy place; a tropical beach, a place you have or have not been, a grassy meadow in a valley. Sunshine or snow, whatever you prefer because this is your place- no kids allowed though. Meditation is the process of letting your thoughts go or letting your thoughts float around without substance so you can think about nothing if that works for you. Ideally, meditation is done without interruptions, but you're a mom now, so interruptions are just part of life. Here's what you can do to incorporate meditative activities into your busy mom schedule.
Places for Peace
Remember your happy place so you can retrieve it quickly during these daily routine activities. Also, you can use these activities to escape your mind's plentiful thoughts and simply meditate while performing them. Since they are routine activities, it's easier to let your mind escape because you don't have to invest much thought in the activity itself.
1. The Shower- who doesn't feel better after a shower? This is a sacred place, especially for new mommies. Put your baby in a safe place- I put mine in a vibrating baby chair in the bathroom while I enjoyed very long showers. When kids are older, teach them to respect your shower time. I put my toddler in her crib now and it is one of the only times she entertains herself and stays quiet. Use your shower time to go to your happy place or sing or just relax and think about nothing.
2. Exercise- Going to the gym is time well spent away from kids. Be mindful in your exercising though. I like lifting weights because it forces me to focus on how my body feels in that moment. Counting repetitions is excellent meditation as well- it's soothing and rhythmic. When doing cardiovascular exercise, focus on your breathing- don't watch the clock either. A yoga class is a great way to relax and get your pre-baby body back.
3. Eating- One of the most interruptive changes in our schedule after having kids is our eaing habits. Find a meal or a snack each day that you can take your time eating and enjoying. Make sure it's a healthy wholesome meal- I don't recommend mindless eating of junk food. Savor the taste and chew methodically.
4. Brushing Your Hair- Whenever it is that you spend the most time brushing your hair each day, use the time to brush it a full 100 times. The counting and scalp massage will help you relax- and possibly help your hair grow faster. If you can get someone else to brush your hair, it is heaven!
5. Sleep- As mothers we may not get much sleep, but you can add to the quality by purchasing a meditation CD or a CD containing relaxing music or soothing rhythms/nature sounds. Listen to it as you doze off to sleep. Don't play more than a few songs or else it can interrupt your sleep cycle. You can also use it to get you in the mood for sleep- playing a couple tracks before you head off to bed.
6. Hypnosis Cd's- If you don't have time for this 20 minute break in the middle of your day, then listen to it right before bed and it will slip you into a peaceful slumber. HypnosisCD's are available at bookstores and online, sometimes referred to 'guided imagery' or self-hypnosis'. I recommend ones for stress relief- who couldn't use that?
7. Love your pet- Repitition calms the nerves like brushing or petting the the dog, and just being around your pet automatically relieves stress. Studies have shown those that own a pet, live longer.
8. Commune with nature- watering your lawn and flowers outside is a good excuse to get outside and have some peaceful time to yourself. I've used this one myself. I will go outside and turn on our sprinkler system and zone out, then take my time watering each of the flowers. This is my favorite way to end the day.
9. Recruit help- Bartering and trading is an old way of living and thriving. Offer your services in return for something beneficial to you. I made a simple trade with my husband- I would make his lunches for work if he gave me foot rubs. The foot rubs are relaxing and using an essential oil scented lotion makes it even better.
10. Art- This is something you can do with your child that will be relaxing for you as well. You can set your child up with their art project and do your own too. Make sure they are well-prepared so you don't have to tend to them too much and you can get in the zone with your own project. For example, I set my daughter up with Play-doh while I have my own clay that I make what I want with.
The benefits of regular meditation are numerous so you have nothing to lose by incorporating it into a routine activity. We could all use a break from mindless inner chit-chat. Take the time to clear your thoughts, increase your awareness, and de-stress.
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