Hit Pause: 3 Mindfulness Techniques for a Mama’s Busy Schedule
Mother’s Day shouldn’t be the only time mamas get to hit pause and focus on themselves. Self-care is essential every day and mindfulness for even the busiest mamas is possible. In fact, the busier you are, the more you need to find that time to pause and center yourself. Read on for some of our favorite ways to incorporate mindfulness into a jam-packed schedule.
What is Mindfulness and Why Do We Need It?
Mindfulness is a way of embracing the present moment and distancing ourselves from the constant to-do lists in our minds and hit pause for the moment. As mamas, that list seems endless: the laundry is never done, you need to cook, the house looks like it exploded with kids’ toys all over the place.
But mindfulness can be key in preventing burnout, chronic stress, and certain medical conditions. That’s why no matter how busy you are, mindfulness should be non-negotiable.
Mindfulness Techniques for Busy Mamas
At a PTA meeting? Waiting for your child at soccer or ballet practice? These three techniques can be utilized anywhere to train yourself to embrace every mindful moment.
When stress gets to be too much, we forget how to breathe…literally. Stress can make you feel like your breathing is restricted and causes the muscles in your entire body to feel tense. Learning how to breathe again can make a huge difference in your mental and physical health.
- Belly Breathing
Though belly breathing is normally done by lying down on the ground, this isn’t always possible. As an alternative, focus on breathing by sensing the way your abdomen rises and falls with your breathing. Breathe in by consciously moving your abdomen in and out in a pattern: breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for seven, and release in eight. Repeat as necessary.
- Deep Breathing with Your Child
Great habits start early in life. Your child can get a head start on managing their own worries when you lead by example. To make deep breathing exercises fun, encourage your child to grab a stuffed animal. Lay on a soft surface such as a yoga mat and place their toy on their belly. Have them watch the rise and fall of their toy. Double the fun by placing a toy on your belly as well and see who is better at balancing it!
Acknowledge Your Feelings, Observe Your Surroundings
Often called “grounding” or “shifting anchors”, this mindfulness technique helps bring you to the present as opposed to a worrisome future that hasn’t even happened yet. Take a moment to acknowledge your emotions by asking yourself how you really feel. Are you tired? Stressed? Overwhelmed? These are very normal for any mama. However, letting these feelings overrun your happiness is not.
You can also practice grounding by concentrating on what is currently happening with your five senses. What can you see, smell, touch, hear, and taste? Focusing on those sensations brings you back into the present as opposed to worrying about all of the things you “should” get done or “should” be as a mama.
The busier you are, the more you need to find that time to pause and center yourself
Redirect Negative Thoughts
Rewiring your brain to naturally fall back on helpful thoughts can be practiced anywhere, making it perfect for a quick mindful moment. Thanks to neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adjust and reform its pathways as necessary, getting out of a negative-thinking spiral is very possible.
Much like training yourself to run a marathon, your brain needs training too. If you’re prone to anxious or any other kind of negative thoughts, it’s important to catch patterns of thinking early. Redirecting negative thinking to healthier thoughts can ease the mind in both the short and long term.
Ask yourself: is the thought helpful to you? If not, redirect your thinking to a more positive or forgiving thought. So what if you forgot to pick up everything on the grocery list? Is it really a big deal if you missed a spot while shaving? No way! Don’t allow your brain to fool you into thinking you aren’t a good mama because of the small stuff.
If starting out with positive thoughts is too hard, try distracting yourself by counting down from 100, thinking of something funny that happened recently, or counting the number of animals, trees, or objects surrounding you.
Like any good habit, you need a lot of practice with all of these techniques to achieve the results you want, but it gets easier each time.