As women, we naturally have minds that never shut off. We constantly have thoughts going through our heads. As moms, it can be even worse because we have our families to think about too. If someone spied on our minds, it would often seem as if there were a river of thoughts floating around that constantly intersect. Those thoughts often look like this: Pick the kids up at 4:00 p.m., make dinner, move laundry to the dryer, dance at 6:30, report for work due the next morning… The list goes on and on. We constantly have different tabs open in our brain that never get closed.
Because of this, we have a hard time being present. It’s not that we don’t want to, but it’s because we truly can’t turn off our brains. We’re on our phone sending an email for work, multi-tasking by cooking dinner while the kids are at our feet, scrolling through social media when we’re having a date night with our husband or writing a blog post while kids are barging in to our bedroom for attention (oh, that’s just me?!). This is where mindfulness can be beneficial for our life.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something. When we practice mindfulness, we’re able to have a greater balance in our life. We often feel more calm, relaxed and able to face the challenges that are thrown our way (hello whiney kids that won’t leave you alone)! It helps us to be less reactive to situations, too.
I’ve practiced meditation in the past, which is a popular way to be mindful, but it’s not always possible. Some days I’m barely able to pee alone, let alone have 30 minutes to meditate. As women and moms, we have to find ways to be 100% healthy mentally or we won’t be the best version of ourselves. Even when incorporating mindfulness in our life, we aren’t perfect and may yell at our child or feel frustrated. The important thing is that we’re mentally present when we can.
I’ve found some easy ways to incorporate it in to my life. I’ve shared my favorite strategies below.
- Yoga with Adriene: One of my coworkers introduced me to Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. I love her 5 minute quick stress fix video. I can practice after the kids have gone to bed or even before they get home from daycare. It puts me in a good headspace for the rest of the evening.
- Three Breath Hug: This is a great trick that I use alone and with my four year old when she feels overwhelmed or upset. While hugging someone, take three deep breaths. Relax any muscles that feel tight and really pay attention to your breaths. I try to give my kids three breath hugs each morning before I leave for work and send them to daycare. It feels weird at first, but it really does work!
- Mindset shift – I get to vs. I have to: This is hard to remember, especially in the super stressful moments of momming, but this technique is so important! Having a mindset shift of I get to feed my baby at 2 a.m. vs. I have to feed my baby at 2 a.m. can help you count your blessings. I remember that what I have in my life that can often be stressful, others long for in their lives.
- Meditation in the shower: My morning shower is often the only moments of alone time I get during the day. I will often take an extra two minutes to meditate in the shower. I focus on my breaths, quiet my mind and prepare for the day.
- Grateful journal: I talked about starting a grateful journal here. I try to write at least 3 things I’m grateful for each day. Noting what I’m grateful for each day also helps shift my mindset.
- Pause before you respond: How often do we immediately respond when annoyed? If you’re like me, your response is often a raised voice or snapping at someone. Instead, this technique has me consciously pause and not do or say anything. Instead, I stop and focus on what I’m thinking and feeling in that moment. I also notice my breath and try to change it. This really helps me step back and calm down in tense situations.
- Practice being present: This is the hardest one for me. As I mentioned above, my brain naturally goes to the next thing that needs to be done. I’m thinking of all of the stuff on my to-do list. I have a hard time focusing on them and only them. I’m working more on putting my phone down and playing a game with my kids, or sitting and having a conversation with them with no other distractions. When I practice being present, I find that I enjoy the little moments with the people I’m with even more.