Every Mom NEEDS This
The Big O: Overwhelm.
After the birth of my second daughter, which put me in the 2 under 2 club, I was exhausted. And with that exhaustion came lots of anxiety and a mind that wouldn’t quit. A once avid reader, I found myself going whole chapters before realizing I hadn’t absorbed a single word. I was hyper-vigilant, overstimulated, and had difficulty sleeping even when I got the opportunity. After 4 months of not being able to focus, becoming easily irritable, and just plain overwhelmed, I went to my self-care toolkit and found my trusty friend, Meditation.
I meditated off and on when I was pregnant, but mostly used it as a tool to fall asleep. But when I started making it a daily intentional practice, I became a completely different person! A happier, more patient (I said more patient, not a saint), more empathetic person and I felt more like myself than I had in months.
I unlocked not only more focus and patience with my girls, but more joy and energy throughout my day.
EVERY MOM NEEDS THIS
We all know the benefits of meditation and I’m so glad it’s becoming a mainstream practice. It’s a great way to not only release stress but focus our minds to be more productive. Well what mom doesn’t need to be more relaxed AND productive?!
Of course, we are also the ones who think we need it the least and make every excuse for why we can’t fit it in. Well, I challenge you to take 5 minutes to yourself every day and I know this sounds crazy, but you will actually create more time.
When you calm the noise that rattles around in your brain, you can better focus on what actually needs to be done and make more space in your day. I love this post from Gabby Bernstein on how you can expand time with meditation.
As women who are left no choice but to multitask, mediation offers our minds a much needed break. It calms the central nervous system and allows your body a moment to calibrate and come down from the hyper-vigilance that is our normal state (or at least mine 90% of the time).
Through meditation you release your ability to focus more clearly and approach the chaos of everyday with more grace and patience. It also helps with the overstimulation that little kids bring (the toys, the yelling, the TV, jumping, dancing, my heart is starting to race just thinking about it). :D
Within weeks I went from a frazzled, burnt out, irritable, sometimes downright angry mess (and not a hot mess, just a plain old MESS) to a more calm and patient woman. And the benefits were widespread from how I reacted to my children, to my interactions with my husband and extended family, to how I was able to focus on daily chores, and my work.
How the heck does a busy mom fit in one more thing?!
Set your intention daily
Decide the night before, or even right now, that you will make time to meditate tomorrow. You know you and you know your schedule. Plan one (even small) block of time in your day that you know you can dedicate to yourself. Even if it’s a quick run to hide in the bathroom when your husband gets home from work!
When you make something part of your daily routine, you are more likely to actually do it. The transformation comes when you have made it a practice that accumulates and becomes part of your Mama Management Toolkit. It becomes easier to do and more beneficial the more you do it.
Choose a mantra that speaks to you
A mantra is a short phrase or word that reinforces your intention. It’s something you can turn to throughout your day to re-center yourself and guide your thoughts back to a peaceful place. Select a mantra at the start of your day or week and use it either in your meditation practice or repeat it to yourself throughout the day.
Some of my favorite mantras are
You are being guided.
The Universe has your back (thank you, Gabby Bernstein!)
I choose love.
There is joy in every moment.
I am a divine vessel for love.
You may not always feel that they’re “working” but the great thing about meditation and mantras is that your continued use has a cumulative effect on your central nervous system and neural pathways. Try out different mantras and find what resonates with you. Switch it up when you need to. These are all just more tools to add to your toolkit.
Start with 5 minutes (or whatever you can spare)
And if 2 minutes is all you can do, that’s great! There is no need to stress over meditating for an hour on a beautiful pillow with the sounds of birds and lapping waves in your ears. Any amount of time that you can give your brain to relax will be rewarded, especially if repeated day after day.
Keep it simple.
You can use an app (I provide my favorites below) for a guided meditation or body scan, or just follow your breath for the amount of time you designate. Count your inhales and exhales or recite your mantra as you inhale, and release on the exhale. Or just repeat your mantra throughout the day when you need to surrender or tap into your calm center.
Or if you're given even 1 moment of relative silence (angels sing!) find the nearest window and settle your eyes on a piece of nature (any tree or flower will work). Focus on this beautiful creation and start describing to yourself what you see. The brown, flaking bark of the tree, the green leaves beginning to change yellow or orange, the bird weaving its nest in the branches. By changing your focus to something peaceful in nature you can calm your nervous system and give your mind that much needed break - in just a minute!
In the few minutes you have, practice visualization. This is an easy one when you are waiting in the car or at an activity and you can safely close your eyes. Imagine a calm beach, a place you went on vacation, or a friend’s house that evokes positive feelings. The focus is on calling up the positive emotions that you felt in that place. If you want to infuse your life with calm, recall the last time you felt a true sense of peace and imagine yourself in that place. If you want to call up a euphoric feeling, think back to the last time you felt that way and recreate that feeling in your mind.
Be gentle with yourself
It’s a badge of honor to be busy. One that I happily reject. But it’s not always an option and some days are just plain packed. If a day or a week goes by without meditating, don’t get hung up on it. Just set the intention to meditate the next day or the next free moment you have. Meditating should bring calm, not stress!
My Favorite Meditation Apps
Calm – This is my favorite meditation app. There is a timed meditation option that is nice for those 2 minute sessions and I love that you can change up the sounds to add more waves or less music to your meditations. Add Premium and it unlocks more of the guided meditations.
Insight Timer – I haven’t used this app in a while, but I like the variety it provides and it’s easy to use. Great for those new to meditation.
Meditation Studio Mom’s Meditation – only available in the Apple App Store this app has been recommended to me many times by yogis and avid meditators but I haven’t been able to check it out yet. If you give it a try, let me know what you think!
I hope these tips serve you and help you connect with the calm and joy in your day. Let me know what works for you, what doesn’t, and your tips for being a mindful and meditative mom!