Hi ladies, I’ve been getting a lot of questions from busy mums, likes yourselves, so I’ve decided to do a series of posts just for you! I’d like to start with the most common question:
I haven’t got time for mindfulness, so what can I do?
It’s a good question. I know how difficult it is to find time as a busy mum, especially after a difficult day at work – I’ve been there. I was a full-time teacher and mother of two and by the time I got home I didn’t have any energy to do any of the things that I should have been doing, like exercise or yoga or cooking amazing meals for my children. I’m ashamed to admit that all I could drag myself to do was to collapse on the sofa with a cup of tea and two or three biscuits (or more depending on the day I’d had) and surf the internet for a while. Hardly a good role model, I know, but that was the situation at the time.
I was so busy tending to others all day that I didn’t take care of myself, but at the time I just couldn’t see my way out of the fog of exhaustion.
I really wish I’d known about mindfulness then as I’m certain it would have made such a huge difference to my life.
So, what is mindfulness anyway?
Mindfulness is about awareness, it’s about realising how you’re feeling physically and mentally. It’s not about zoning out and disconnecting, quite the opposite – it’s about connecting with yourself, your body, thoughts and emotions and going through your life with awareness, living in the present moment. When you realise what’s going on with yourself then you can take small steps to help and that doesn’t need to be spending 30 minutes doing a meditation while the kids go nuts in the background. If you’re a busy mum, it needs to be simple and doable.
So, I’d like to look at a simple way of making quality time for yourself. Surfing the internet like I did doesn’t count!
You could start when you get home from work, kick off your shoes, maybe change into something more comfortable just to mark the end of the working day. Put the kettle on and make a brew, preferably not strong coffee. I only drink decaf now as I realised that I was getting so many ups and downs throughout the day and coffee made me feel very jittery. There are some good herbal teas around. I don’t usually like them, but I have found that the ones from Yogi Teas have a lovely flavour, especially the lemon and ginger – it’s got a warm kick to it which is great for the winter. If you can recommend any others then let me know.
It’s a great idea for your kids to have a bit of quiet time too – if they eat their snack quietly watching cartoons for 10 minutes that won’t make you a bad mother. They’re so busy at school all the time and often come home quite wound up, so they also need some down time. Make sure that they’re safe and if you can, take your tea into the next room if they’re still very young, or a quiet place in the house or garden if they’re a bit older and you can spend ten minutes without interruptions). Just sit and be for as long as you can, without your mobile phone and not feeling that you should be doing something else. The chores will get done, but you need your time, your space to ground yourself before carrying on with the rest of your day. I think it’s hard for us as mums to put ourselves first. And when we do, we feel guilty. So, try to stick with the guilt as you begin this new routine and realise that as you are caring about yourself it will also make you better able to care for others as you feel renewed even after just 10 minutes to get your head straight.
Some of you may be thinking that it’s impossible to get 10 minutes peace at home. So, how about work?
When I was teaching, one of my colleagues said that she would actually go and lock herself into the loo for 10 minutes just to get some peace. I know that’s not exactly the most scenic place in the world, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Do what you can, sit at your desk for a few minutes without working, just focusing on your breath. Or go for a walk outside at lunch time if that’s possible.
If you’re interested in trying a quick meditation then I recommend InsightTimer – you can find some 5-minute meditations which will ground you, leaving you feeling feel refreshed and ready to carry on.
However short a break you manage, it’s worth it. You need an oasis of calm at some point during your day.
In my next post I’ll be discussing the importance of finding people that you can share your experiences with and how to deal with those supermums.
Meanwhile, I’d love to hear how you manage to carve out time for yourself during your day. Leave a comment below and let’s share ideas!