As some of the regular readers may know one of the main aims of this blog is to inspire other busy parents to give mindfulness a go AND to help us help the next generation embrace mindful living.
A very happy and unexpected by-product of the blog (and something I am extremely grateful for) is that I have become acquainted with some lovely like-minded bloggers. So I invited some of these bloggers to explain a little bit about their relationship with mindfulness and add their voice to my blog through the ‘Mindfulness and Me’ guest series. If this sounds like something that you would like to participate in then please do contact me by completing the form on the on my own ‘Mindfulness and Me’ page. It is a chance for us to have a great insight into how flexibly mindfulness can be applied to our lives and to see how other parents have embraced mindful living. The idea for this series was first conceived from the somewhat tongue-in-cheek interview which I did with my hubby recently. You may want to read this here.
Laura from The Butterfly Mother is our seventh participant. I am very grateful to her for taking the time to answer the questions. Below are Laura’s responses.
- When and how did you first come across mindfulness? When I was very unwell with Postnatal Depression & Anxiety in 2013. I heard about mindfulness from some other PND mums I’d met online.
- What were your initial thoughts about it? To be completely honest, I thought it sounded like hippy nonsense! Thankfully, out of desperation really as I was struggling with my recovery, I decided to give it a try and I’m so thankful that I did.
- How has mindfulness helped you personally?
I’ve always been an obsessive planner, the sort of person who lives for the future rather than the present. When you are suffering from very severe anxiety this is not a good trait as the future is a terrifying prospect. I’ve always been a worrier too and during my breakdown this worry spiraled out of control.Mindfulness has helped me to live in the present moment which is essential for managing anxiety. It helped me feel calmer and more able to manage my illness.More recently, I’ve been on a rollercoaster journey trying to conceive our second baby. Once again I’ve reached for mindfulness to try to manage my fears and worries.
- How do you fit mindfulness into your busy life? I use a variety of apps to do as little as 10 minutes of mindful meditation in the mornings before I get up, when I can, or if that isn’t possible with my son I do it in the evening instead. I also try to apply the rules of mindfulness to everyday tasks by remembering to stay in the moment. This is especially useful during moments of happiness, which we can otherwise overlook when we are stressed, in a rush or always thinking about the future and the next task.
- What are your ‘go to’ – informal or formal – practices (if you have them)?
As well as meditation, I try to find simple daily tasks that can be done mindfully. For example, applying my make-up, doing the washing up or – more recently – eating a meal.
- How important do you think formal meditation is to someone who is trying to approach life mindfully? I think it certainly helps. It can be a really difficult habit to develop at first but it’s very valuable for good mental health. I do believe it’s possible to practice mindfulness without meditation though, like in the examples I mentioned above.
- How would you like to extend your mindfulness practice further? I would love to find more time for it. I’d also love for mindfulness to become more natural and automatic for me but, since I was my old future-looking self for so long, this will take some time and practice.
- Do you have friends or family who use mindfulness techniques too?
I’m sure a lot of my “real life” friends and family still feel about mindfulness the way I did at first! But I have many friends I’ve met online through my mental health advocacy who recognise how useful mindfulness is to emotional wellbeing and use it regularly.
- What ‘top tips’ do you have for someone thinking of trying Mindfulness for the first time? Don’t put pressure on yourself. Mindfulness takes practice to alter how we think and we shouldn’t feel bad if it takes time.
- Who would you recommend mindfulness to and why? Anyone! Modern life is really busy and stressful so being more mindful would benefit each and every one of us. I think it’s especially useful for parents though, as looking after children is really hard work and we often wish time away or find ourselves unable to switch off – mindfulness is a great way to combat this. Similarly, I think it’s invaluable to anyone suffering from Anxiety, I credit a large chunk of my recovery to it.
Laura makes some excellent points, especially about how mindfulness can help anyone struggling with mental illness including Postnatal Depression and Anxiety and I’d like to thank her for taking part in the ‘Mindfulness and Me’ guest series. If you’d like to read more from Laura who has written lots on her blog about battling Postnatal Depression and recovering from anxiety then please visit her blog here.
If you would like to write a comment to Laura or myself about the series than please do so in the comment box below.
Thanks and bye for now.