Everyday Mindfulness for Parents
I recently spoke at a mindfulness conference, and during my introduction the coordinator noted that I probably use mindfulness everyday because of my children (more on that in a bit). And that gave me an idea. Sometimes we think of mindfulness as having to be this formal structured practice or event, but it doesn’t have to be complicated at all! And we may even use it far more than we’re aware of. That’s where my kids come in!
Some of you reading this may be parents, and but if you’re not I hope that you still find this post to be helpful. So…I’m a new mom who just happened to end up with twins (who are now 9 months old). Now, I’ve heard that handling one baby is really hard, but I can’t really speak to that because I have nothing to compare my experience to. What I can tell you, however, is that having two babies is beyond difficult for me. Some days it even feels impossible. Between working full-time, taking care of the boys and coordinating childcare, battling sleep deprivation, new-parent anxiety, and all the stress that comes with this journey, it’s difficult to find any sort of time for self-care. But – I need to be present because not functioning isn’t really an option. I have a good support system – which I’m incredibly grateful for – but I still feel like I’m just hanging on most days.
(Even if you’re not a parent, I imagine you can identify with those “just hanging on” kinds of days).
So what I’ve started to do is practice more awareness in the moment, and actively look for opportunities where I can utilize mindfulness tools in short spans. Here are some of the things I do.
- Use the Inner Strength Teen Mindfulness App. Although teens are the target audience, anyone can use it and I find the push notifications to be particularly useful. Glancing down at my phone and seeing a phrase that inspires me, encourages me, or just reminds me to breathe allows me to quickly shift perspective. It’s perfect during a stressful day.
- I look for unconventional opportunities to detach for a few minutes. One of my favorites is the parking lot of the grocery store. Before I get out of my car, I sit for about 5 minutes and work on breathing and visualization. It helps.
- Celebrate the small wins. Maybe I wanted to meditate in the morning for 20 minutes but only got in 5 because the kids woke up. 5 minutes still helps, so that’s a win.
- And lastly, I remind myself to be gentle…with myself. We’re all doing the best we can do in each moment, and moving through these moments with grace, gratitude, and clarity is part of the gift of mindfulness.
I hope these ideas have been helpful and have sparked some of your own!