This is a tongue-in-cheek post that I first wrote for Mummy’s Gin Fund a while ago now. However on a slightly more serious note I hope it does show you how busy people CAN fit everyday mindfulness into their routine if they are open to it.
So below are some suggestions for incorporating aspects of mindfulness into a busy day:
7am – set yourself an intention to use the word ‘should’ less. Consider how many times you metaphorically ‘beat yourself up’ with the word SHOULD. I should really make a homemade Birthday cake…. I should switch Peppa Pig off as the kids are watching their nth episode today…. I should cook a wholesome meal from scratch after a busy day at work etc. The thing is you probably don’t even know that you are engaging in this negative self-talk. Mindfulness helps you to tune into the chatter in the mind. Once you recognise this habit and ‘watch your thoughts’ you can begin to be kinder to yourself.
10am – go for a mindful walk and take a moment to look up and study the sky. For example you could give yourself a little extra time to walk to the local supermarket and take it at a slower pace than usual. Really notice the colours, smells and sounds around you and comment on them if you have the children in tow. Take the opportunity to tune out the constant thought stream of planning, worrying and ruminating and really focus on the present moment.
11am – try to see the world from your child’s perspective (i) bring a childlike curiosity to whatever you are doing. Come out of auto-pilot and see the wonder in the simple things the way young children do.
Midday – Kids napping or watching a bit of telly in the early afternoon? Reconnect with your breath. Take a breathing space like this 3 minute mini meditation from Professor Mark Williams. It can work wonders for energy levels, clarity of mind and mood. Don’t have an electronic device to hand, standing in the Post Office queue or waiting at traffic lights?
- Stop what you’re doing i.e. getting frustrated about being held up in a queue,
- Take a few breaths
- Observe how you are feeling in that moment
- Proceed with your day hopefully feeling a little more grounded.
2pm – I know it’s ‘stating the bleeding obvious’ but REALLY LISTEN when people speak. We all fall into the trap of nodding and saying ‘yes darling’ in the right places to our children when we’re busy and hearing them but not really listening to them.
Someone recently said to me that the greatest gift we can give another is our attention and who is more deserving of this then our family? So whenever possible (and realistically this is not always) pledge to stop what you’re doing, turn to look into the beautiful eyes of your child and participate fully in the conversation.
2pm – With that in mind…Try to have a designated time when your phone is out of sight and on silent. I have been known to hide mine in the spice cupboard! The constant ‘ping’ can interrupt quality family time and take our thoughts away from the present moment.
5pm – try to see the world from your child’s perspective (ii) and as best as you can empathise with the tears and tantrums. For example keep reminding yourself that sharing is the BIGGEST deal and the HARDEST thing in the world to ask a toddler to do and that the dark really is quite scary when you’re young. Mindful parenting is said to help us reconnect with our children and therefore the hope is can lead to less conflict.
7.30pm – if it’s been a bad day…. eat chocolate but don’t just gobble it up as quickly as you can, savour every mouthful as per this four minute audio from the authors of ‘Mindfulness: finding peace in a frantic world’.
7.35pm – And of course…. You can always apply the same principle to a mindful glass of wine too. Study the colour and any reflections of light on the glass. Feel the weight of the glass in your hand. The temperature. How does it look? How does the glass feel when you pick it up? Consider how the drink smells. Sip it and hold the liquid in your mouth for a few seconds before swallowing? Repeat and enjoy.
10pm – Finally, energy and inclination permitting make a few notes in a gratitude log. Note three specific things that you are thankful for from your day. It could be as simple as remembering the smile you received from your son/daughter on the school pick-up or maybe it’s the yummy dinner you were made by your other half! Keep it simple and specific.
I’d love to hear how people get on if they give any of these ideas a go?
Please do let me know!