Mindfulness for moms? Is that even possible?
Since becoming a mother four years ago, most days I’m whipped in so many directions I’m not even sure if it’s day or night.
Why didn’t I take advantage of ALL my free time when I was childless?
Why didn’t I attend yoga more, take that photography class, heck, I would have even enjoyed a cooking class.
But here’s the thing:
There is one tool we can adopt that will slow down time, freeze the busyness (or the perception of busyness).
Do you want to know what that one tool is?
And it will change your life, from the inside out.
I’m going to give you 9 simple mindfulness for moms tools you can start using right now to calm the chaos.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Mindfulness
- Mindfulness for Moms – 9 Calming Techniques
- 2. Practice S.T.O.P & R.A.I.N
- 3. Breathing Break
- 4. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make this moment better?”
- 5. Make some YOU time.
- 6. Pay attention to your senses and slow down
- 7. Set Intentions
- 8. Create a worry journal and write in it before going to bed
- 9. Conquer negative emotions with this simple two-step process
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness can transform your life in so many ways, here’s just a few:
- Mindfulness will help you learn how to pay attention to what matter’s in your life and your child’s life.
- Learn how to not take things personally
- Speak more purposefully (and teach you how to not react when everything is driving you crazy)
- Improve sleep
- Regulate your emotions
- Increase your happiness and wellbeing
I know it’s difficult to make time for anything (especially something as abstract as mindfulness) when you are flung in 92 different directions, but making time for this, will pay off BIG TIME.
You may have heard a little or a lot lately about how important self-care is.
And the reason is…
…because mothers of this day and age oftentimes work, take care of the household and the kids, plus do a zillion other things on a daily basis (aren’t we awesome at multitasking? I mean, really?)
Sometimes finding calm is as simple as a few tiny shifts in mindset.
(and we need tiny techniques that are quick and easy because we are busy.)
By learning a few mindfulness tips, you will, in turn, reduce stress, and pay attention and make time for the things you love.
Mindfulness Book Recommendation
Before we get started below I’d like to take a moment to recommend the book, breathe mamma breathe.
This book has been a life-saver for me and I want to share it with you. Here is an excerpt from the first page of the book:
“How are you?”
“Good, busy, really busy.”
Sound familiar? Busy is the standard mom reply. Our kids are highly enriched, our homes are clean(ish) and we’ve taken on another commitment and we are valiantly trying to keep it all together. What I want to know is this. How are you really?
Fulfilled? Content? At ease? If you dig down for an honest answer your eyes may fill with tears as you admit to an emotional, overwhelming no.
The introduction hit me right in the heart, because that’s how I feel, (every day) that I can’t keep up the frantic, out of control pace, that I’m stressed exhausted, that I yell at my children more than I enjoy them, I feel guilty, I’m distracted and am constantly replaying my to-do lists in my head.
If you can relate (like me) to these phrases, then this book is for you and this article.
Mindfulness for Moms – 9 Calming Techniques
1. Start the day off right
Before jumping out of bed in a frazzled hurry when the alarm buzzes, take a few moments to start the day with intentional breathing awareness.
While breathing ponder what you would like to cultivate in your day, express gratitude for the good things in your life and tune into your bodily sensations.
Set an intention for the day.
So often, we start our day in a hundred-meter race to get to work or out the door. This rushing sets the tone for the entire day — stressed and frazzled, with a lot of mental chatter.
By beginning each morning with two minutes of silence and mindfulness, your day will start peaceful, happy and quiet.
If you think you don’t have time for this, I suggest setting your alarm half an hour earlier each morning.
Take five minutes to breathe, stretch and think positive thoughts, and then you have 25 more minutes to sprinkle into your morning routine so you aren’t rushing and frazzled.
In addition to this easy five-minute pause in the morning, I absolutely recommend the 14-day online course Make Over Your Mornings.
This course is AMAZING! Stop the car amazing.
I want you to experience this same kind of productivity, energy, and fulfillment, too.
I want you to have more organization in your days, more focused time to devote to things you are passionate about, more time to spend with those you love, and more space in your days to breathe.
This 14-day course is designed to help you revolutionize your productivity, streamline your routines, invest your time in things that truly matter, and find more joy and peace in the process. Check it out here. Start investing in your happiness.
“What day is it?” asked Pooh. “It’s today,” squeaked Piglet. “My favourite day,” said Pooh. A.A. Milne
2. Practice S.T.O.P & R.A.I.N
No one wants to be that mom that is losing her sh## constantly.
I get it, mama, it’s very hard sometimes, little Suzy is screaming, and Billy is tugging on your leg. And oh, the constant whining. The constant whhhiiiinnnniiinnngggg.
When You Are Feeling Frustrated
For parents who are in a stressful or upsetting situation with their child, a popular mindfulness exercise known as S.T.O.P & R.A.I.N. published in N.Y. Times mindfulness for children guide is a great tool.
Stop. Just take a momentary pause, no matter what you’re doing.
Take a breath. Feel the sensation of your own breathing, which brings you back to the present moment.
Observe. Acknowledge what is happening, for good or bad, inside you or out. Just note it.
Proceed. Having briefly checked in with the present moment, continue with whatever it was you were doing.
Recognize. Acknowledge what is happening, just noting it in a calm and accepting manner.
Accept. Allow life to be just as it is, without trying to change it in any way.
Investigate. See how it feels, whether it is giving you pleasure or pain, making you happy or sad. Just note it.
Non-Identification. Realize that the emotions you are experiencing make for a fleeting experience, one that will soon pass. It isn’t who you are.
If you would like a free poster of S.T.O.P and R.A.I.N to hang on your fridge, download it here (it’s included in our free resource section) and print it out!
This will be a great reminder not only for your mindfulness practice but a useful mantra to calm down in those hectic moments.
3. Breathing Break
In my opinion, one of the most important mindfulness tools we can adopt is to tune into our breath.
Sometimes I realize that I’m barely breathing at all, or that my breath is shallow, and my shoulders tense.
Breathing breaks help to reduce tension and stress during the day.
Holding your breath, not breathing deeply into your stomach deprives your body of oxygen, which contributes to stress, anxiety, sickness, and exhaustion.
Set an alarm on your phone. When this alarm goes off (every couple hours) it will remind you to breathe. When the alarm beeps, stop what you’re doing (if you can), breathe in deeply for a count of three, and exhale for a count of three. Repeat this seven times. I relax my shoulders and my face and I also pay attention to my breath instead of my thoughts and let all my stress go as I exhale.
4. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make this moment better?”
Does this sound silly?
Well, this one simple, silly little question has changed my day-to-day life.
Life is full of mundane tasks: laundry, dishes, errands. And the bad news is, we all have to do these tasks. So when I’m engaging in something I might consider, well, not so fun, I always ask myself, what can I do to make this more fun?
And some idea’s are:
- Folding laundry? Turn on some of your favorite music and sing along.
- Washing dishes? Pay close attention to the sensations in your body, feel the suds on your hands, the temperature of the water, the feeling of the floor under your feet. Use this as an opportunity to breathe and practice a standing meditation.
- Running errands? Turn on an audiobook or an interesting podcast.
- Waiting in line at the grocery store? Flip through a magazine, or again use this opportunity to practice standing, moving meditation.
5. Make some YOU time.
It’s very easy to forget about what YOU like to do.
Days, weeks and months can even go by before you realize that you haven’t spent ANY time doing ANYTHING you love.
Maybe you’ve been consumed by your kids, work or husband.
Slap yourself on the wrist.
This is unacceptable.
You are more than a mom or wife, you are you, and there are things you enjoyed before you became a mom or a wife.
Now you might say, “but I don’t have time.” Well, you do. Sit down and create a schedule.
Maybe you schedule two hours on Mondays for whatever it is you enjoy, yoga, running, a book at a coffee shop, a relaxing bath. It can be anything.
(Warning: you might have to return the favor to your husband.)
This might be a little more difficult if you are a single parent, but it is still possible, perhaps take an hour after the kids are asleep to do a home yoga class or write in your journal.
There is always a way. #noexcuses
6. Pay attention to your senses and slow down
Throughout the day:
- I slow down my movements, I become aware of my bodily sensations.
- I take time to feel my feet under the floor as I walk, to feel my arms swaying at my sides, feel the temperature on my skin, and feel the chair underneath me.
- Whenever I answer the phone, I notice the receiver against my ear, sense my breath moving in and out.
- When I eat my lunch, I take a moment to savor my food, ignite my taste buds, chewing slowly, thoughtfully, silently.
- When I walk to the washroom, I slow my pace, notice my legs moving me forward and become present with each movement.
I could prepare my child’s lunch in a ruffled daze, compiling my endless to-do list terrorizing my mind, or I could tune into my movements.
One way, I’m subconsciously creating stress; the other way I am experiencing happiness and aliveness, and reducing my stress through present-moment awareness.
I can actively engage with my child and what we are doing, slow down, move, speak and act mindfully and thoughtfully.
When we tune into our senses and the present moment, we first notice gaps in our mental chatter, which instantly relieves stress.
Second, when we ignite our senses, everything comes alive.
And the thing is, this doesn’t take ANY time, this is just a simple shift of mindset!
7. Set Intentions
Start into intention setting slowly with one intention each day. I suggest setting your intention during your five-minute morning routine before you jump out of bed. (See point #1 above.)
Then practice putting extra attention on this intention for the entire day. Watch your thoughts and behaviors.
When I catch myself being short with my kids, I remember my intention and stop myself. I turn my attention one day to this one intention.
The next day I make a new intention.
On the third day, I might even set an intention to tune into my bodily sensations.
I find as each new day arises, the previous day’s intention lies in the back of my mind. Eventually, I’m practicing all intentions subconsciously, and I’ve created fresh habits.
8. Create a worry journal and write in it before going to bed
This one might take about five minutes, but as moms, we often worry about everything, and these worries drag us down, follow us around and litter our minds with negativity.
We need ways to conquer worry.
And I’ve got a worry squashing secret:
One proven technique to crush our worries for good is:
To write down our worries.
I know this might sound counter-intuitive – to focus on something we are trying to stop, but this is singlehandedly the biggest technique that has helped me squash my worries.
Creating a worry journal is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy, and it’s known to significantly ease symptoms of anxiety. Cognitive therapy is identifying maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional responses or behavior and substituting these thoughts with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional responses and behavior.
When you write down your worries you can relax knowing that won’t be forgotten. They are now on paper. And this tells your brain that yes, your worries are important to you, and you can come back to solve the problem later, but for right now, you’ve given your brain permission to let it go.
You’ve got to check out our 120+ page guided worry journal. This journal is shut the front door amazing. It includes guided sections, creative spaces, positive affirmations, quotes and even actionable mindfulness exercises for each week.
9. Conquer negative emotions with this simple two-step process
- Recognize your emotions
When you find yourself in a testing situation, tell yourself, even say it out loud, my mind is experiencing unpleasantness.
This will create an awareness of the emotion. This awareness will then give you the separation to gain control and reinforce that this state of mind is temporary, like everything else it too shall pass. Just by simple acknowledgment, you will take the power of any unpleasant emotions away.
When my child is pushing me, you will find repeating, ‘my mind is experiencing unpleasantness’, and it’s amazing how the frustration and anger float away with this one simple phrase.
- Ask yourself – Can I solve the problem?
If you can not solve the problem, what is the point of getting upset?
I ask this question all the time. If I’m in a hurry in a slow grocery store line up, I ask myself, “Can I fix this problem?” if the answer is no, getting upset isn’t going to change the outcome.
Becoming mentally agitated is only going to cause myself suffering, the grocery store line isn’t going to move any faster. This mental game works wonders.
Well, moms, there are many simple things we can do to incorporate mindfulness into our days, and by adopting mindfulness we will greater enhance our quality of life. And we only have one life. So live it, with purpose, clarity, presence, and light.
I’m very excited for you to give some of the techniques a try. I think you’ll be surprised at how small, simple changes can ignite enormous change in your life.
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Tina Williamson is the writer and founder of Mindfulmazing, a peaceful parenting blog that guides busy moms and dads to tune into what matters most, and, ultimately, create a happy life! Tina shares strategies and advice for raising responsible, mindful, and resilient kids.
In 2019, Tina created the popular eBook, “Mighty Mindful Kids,” a mindfulness activity book that helps kids with focus, emotional regulation, awareness, and connection. This helped so many families (including her own) that she created several printable resources for parents, teachers, and therapists.
Stay tuned for Tina’s Amazing Me Growth Mindset Journal for Kids being published in the spring of 2021.