In part one, we covered why meditation is good for you – especially when you are a rushed and stressed mother of kids. The problem is finding the time and space to do it – realistically, the minute you sit down or move to another room, your kids will be all over you, like a rash. The classic image of a mother in yoga pants, cross-legged and calmly chanting simply is not going to happen unless you have the willpower to get up before your kids.
So, here is the practical guide to meditation from a stay-at-home-mother who manages it every day.
- It’s meditation practice, not perfection. I used to do meditation at university in my lunch hour – and invariably got frustrated and angry when my mind wandered. However, the point of meditation is to refocus your thoughts. Interruptions are natural and expected. Just knowing this helps me to cope with “chatter” from my own mind and disruption from the kids. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
- You don’t need long to do it. You get the benefits of meditation in just eight minutes a day. And those eight minutes can be broken down into two or three quick sessions. In fact, when you are starting, aiming for three minutes of meditation, three times a day is a lot more doable than 10.
- You don’t need to be sitting still to do it. I meditate whilst walking to school, brewing tea, doing pilates or skipping outside. Any rhythmic activity that does not require close concentration will do as you can focus on the movement of your body, instead of your breath. I generally do one short session when I wake up, as part of my Miracle Morning, and another before lunch. If my mind is racing before bed, I will also listen to a meditation CD (I have always fallen asleep before the end)
- Experiment with different techniques. I got started with the Headspace app, who is brilliant at explaining the mechanics of meditation and what to expect. Another highly-rated “cut-through-the crap” app is 10% Happier, made with sceptics and fidgets in mind.
For waking up and sleeping, the 15-minute music pieces from Omvarna is ideal, as they slide you into a restful state without analytical thought (and you are less likely to be interrupted). You can get meditation apps for running, yoga, commuting, and as a prelude to prayer for every flavour of religion.
If apps are not your thing, there are books, CDs, groups and Youtube channels dedicated to practising it. Experiment until you find the right way for you.
5. Make it a habit.
This is definitely the hardest bit! If I sleep in late and miss my practice slot, it’s a lot harder to regain it during the day – and I definitely miss doing the session. Aim for two or three mini sessions every day. By making them small, they are easier to fit in and you have fewer excuses to attempt them. A good rule of thumb is to try and mediate when you automatically reach for Facebook: if you are going to spend minute browsing updates, you can spend a minute meditating.
Alternatively, aim for regular “pauses” in the day when you are not disturbed. I find waking up is good – I can do a guided meditation on headphones, without getting up. Breastfeeding late at night is another convenient time, or during cool-down after a run. I can focus on breathing whilst waiting for the kettle to boil or pegging out the washing. It’s the ultimate portable tool and once you know the basics, you can do it anywhere.