Be Busy & Mindful with This Overlooked Tool
As moms, we experience days when we're severely lacking in sleep, the house is a disaster, and some disgusting smell is lingering from the kitchen. It's especially difficult when you work from home and find that your office has fallen into a black hole. So how can you re-focus on what's important and maximize your time?
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By Ty Schmidt
It’s one thing for us to embrace the concept of cherishing the little things and living in the moment.
It’s something else entirely when you have one of those days. You know the ones – the days that are etched vividly on your memory despite you wishing with all your heart they weren’t.
Especially as moms there are the days when you haven’t slept (or showered) since sometime last week and you watch in horror as your house (which, for me, is also my workplace as a work-from-home-mom) just morphed into something that would evoke nightmares in the minds of nannies and maids everywhere.
The days when canned goods from the pantry are scattered in every room of the house, and when you smell like a mixture of sweat, some sort of baby food goop and a diaper you changed only a few minutes (or maybe it was an hour) prior.
The days when glass was just shattered all over the floor and the garbage was tipped on its side and you think your beloved dog just ate what was left of a chocolate chip granola bar (doesn’t chocolate kill dogs?).
Those are the moments when living in the moment seems about as plausible as finally figuring out how to convince Starbucks to deliver a skinny vanilla latte to your doorstep.
Meditation Means Focusing
There are those moments we could all afford to just pause. To take a breath. To live in the moment. We need a moment to focus.
Meditation is a great tool to help you learn to embrace these moments and live a more balanced life. I know what you’re thinking? What working mom or mompreneur has time for this? I know it sounds impossible and that you’re too busy and all that glass you need to pick up before the barefooted children cut up their feet is desperately calling your name.
Who has time to sit down and empty their mind? But that's not what meditation means. It is not emptying your mind, it's focusing your mind.
But experts say that is where meditation practices are at their strongest. That is when taking five to 20 minutes to try guided meditation can really make a difference for you, by helping you learn to gain control over those chaotic moments. By helping you remember to breathe.
An overlooked tool to a healthier, happier you
One example I have personally found helpful is from Dr. Joe Dispenza’s “Change from the Inside Out” series.
The “Morning & Evening Meditations” download offers listeners the chance to get to know themselves better, and ultimately notice positive changes to their mental and physical health.
Available for download or on CD, the series begins by getting you in the right mindset to tackle the day and ends with a relaxing opportunity to ease your mind and body into restful sleep.
“It all sounds so simple but it can be really hard,” said Diane Sutrick, a mompreneur of three adult children who owns Peace Yoga Studio in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wis. and has been practicing yoga and meditation for more than 10 years. “In a world where our culture does so many things that are bad for the body and embraces multi-tasking like it’s the best thing in the world, we are losing ourselves and the ability to find balance.”
Meditation means teaching your body to heal
Research shows that meditation, which is a practice that helps calm yourself by quieting your mind, has many physical and mental health benefits that can aid in dealing with stress and anxiety, but also help keep you more focused and present in your daily life.
“I know the struggle for a lot of people is time – there is never enough time,” said Sutrick, who opened her yoga studio about five years ago. “Yet it is in learning to get into the moment and teaching your body how to flip the switch from using the sympathetic nervous system to using the parasympathetic nervous system that we train our body to get the rest and relaxation it craves.”
The ability to fully relax doesn’t come easy to everyone, despite the health benefits research points to in favor of taking some time to regularly reboot.
While cynics and skeptics alike may question the impact meditation can have on one’s daily life, finding a way to maintain balance by whatever means necessary sounds pretty good to a work-from-home-mom like me who all too often puts literally everything and everyone else ahead of simple things (like that yoga I’ve been meaning to pick back up for the last seven years).
Meditation means thinking about yourself and others
It sounded pretty good to Sutrick as well, which is among the reasons she wanted to find a way to help others find peace.
“I’m not an expert meditator by any means, but I am an advocate for moms who I support as they carve out the time to do something for themselves that ultimately benefits the whole family,” she said. “It’s easier for some people than it is for others, for a whole host of reasons, but meditation pairs with yoga to help you find a place to be quiet with yourself and reflect…and find your center.”
Despite the cliché that all moms live in yoga pants, not all who wear yoga actually practice yoga.
“Ultimately all that matters is that you are finding time to think, breathe and simply be in the moment,” Sutrick said. “You can meditate any time – it doesn’t have to be in a class or at yoga or what have you – in fact, it’s almost a sign you’ve learned the practice well when you can apply it to your everyday life.”
Meanwhile, doubters of the practice will try to make the case that busy people (i.e. mompreneurs on fire) don’t have time to get into lotus pose and clear their minds. Believers like Sutrick have these words of advice for them.
The benefits of meditation are endless. Meditation is considered a highly effective relaxation technique, and relaxation is linked to a number of proven health benefits. Less stress means a healthier immune system more capable of fighting off all those germs kids are prone to bringing home, helps keep you focused and aids in retaining memory and decision making.
Meditation can happen anywhere. Whether you’re wearing yoga pants or not, you can meditate almost anywhere at almost any time to help refocus, clear your mind and be present in the moment.
Time is of the essence. Meditation is a practice that helps you let go of the past, live in the present and be ready for tomorrow all at the same time. By clearing your mind and learning to simply be, you are more capable of finding peace amid the chaos.
Because let’s face it. The life can be tough. And not just ‘oh my goodness, I miss happy hour and mani-pedis with the girlfriends tough.
It can mean admitting that yes, you’re having one of those days when you haven’t slept more than an hour or two in the last 72 hours and you can’t keep up with the mess and you really kind of just want to drink an entire bottle of wine when no one’s looking (because that won’t give you a headache or make waking up and doing it all again tomorrow that much more trying).
Maybe we should all just try meditating instead.