It took me a long time to embrace mindfulness because I thought I didn’t have time to be mindful. This seems a bit ridiculous now that I know that the busier I get, the more stressful my day, the more demands placed on me, the more important mindfulness is, even if it’s just a few minutes of alone time.
It’s about living “more intentionally”. Don’t you love that?
To live more intentionally means we actively engage in creating our own lives, despite the many and varied tasks thrown our way. We may not be in control of our To Do List, our consumer-oriented culture, or other people’s actions. However, we are in control of ourselves and how we choose to see things.
Learning to be mindful in 2017 looks a bit different from a few years back when we were told to “live in the moment,” which most mothers know is difficult to achieve. Mindfulness has evolved so it can work for all of us.
Here’s how you can easily introduce a little mindfulness each and every day:
1. Wake up earlier.
I know this is a hard one and I find it hard to drag myself out of bed, but by giving myself just 15 minutes before waking the kids up and rushing around the house getting us all ready, I energise my entire day.
Sometimes I spend those 15 minutes enjoying a quiet breakfast. Other mornings I walk around my backyard with my dog and just breathe in the air. Early mornings are truly beautiful and only by stopping and breathing deeply do we get to appreciate that beauty.
"It energises my entire day." Image: iStock.
2. Be kind to yourself.
I was on one of my mum Facebook groups a few days ago and a woman with a six-month-old baby wrote about her frustration not being able to lose the baby weight. She asked for advice and was hit with all sorts of suggestions for diet and exercise programs.
I wrote, "Just be kind to yourself," and told her to slow down and let her body do what it needed to do. There's no rush. My comment was liked so many times because we often forget to say that when women ask us for advice, and we often forget to be kind to ourselves.
3. Embrace imperfection.
I've turned it into a family joke now, the fact that whenever we go out for the day or take a trip I forget one crucial thing. Like that time my son and I were driving to the beach and I realised I'd forgotten to bring towels (we had to stop at Woolies and buy some) and that time we went on a family holiday and I forgot to pack even one pair of spare undies for my daughter, and there were no shops where we were headed, so we alternated between the undies and her swimmers.
Before mindfulness I would completely freak out and constantly chastise myself for dropping the ball. But guess what? I'm only human and my brain can only retain so much. Instead, I make a conscious decision to focus on enjoying these precious moments with my family; everything else is just unimportant stuff.
4. Put your fears in their place.
Bad things happen all the time but how many of those things walk through your front door? Not many of them. There's a lot to be worried about - Trump being leader of the free world, the kids' safety, getting on top of finances, the state of the world we are leaving for future generations - but what does worrying do? Nothing.
It doesn't affect the outcome, it just ruins my day. Being mindful has taught me HOW to worry. I give the issue at hand a few minutes of my energy then mentally place it in a box and continue with my day.
Journaling is a great way to let go of your stress and fears. Image: iStock.
5. Read something enlightening.
I love the internet and technology and my smart phone and Apple TV, but I also know that sometimes I just need to switch off completely and do something else, even just for 30 minutes. There's a new publication called Breathe Magazine which has been perfectly designed for our busy minds.
It's full of soothing features with advice on wellbeing, living, mindfulness, creativity and escaping. It's a really nice change from the noise of the digital world. The first issue includes some great tips on how to get a quality night's sleep, how to declutter, and which superfoods will boost your health.
It's the magazine you didn't know you needed but you'll wonder where it has been all your life.
Consider setting some regular time aside to take a break from the virtual world and enjoy some unplugged experiences.
6. Smell everything.
This sounds silly but when is the last time you smelled your dinner before you took your first bite or smelled the air while going for a walk, or paused to enjoy the aroma of your cup of coffee before taking a sip?
When is the last time you hugged your child long enough to smell their hair, or appreciated the fragrance of a flower you were walking past. Focusing on breathing has long been recommended for health.
That coupled with the fact your sense of smell is the strongest memory trigger of all the senses, should see you breathing in deeply and often. When I smell a rose I think of my mum and her endless quest to grow perfect roses and the smell of pasta sauce brings me straight back to my childhood.
If you take anything from this I want you to just start thinking about how to take a little time for yourself. It might be a walk in lieu of a lunch break at work or taking up a peaceful hobby like adult colouring books, gardening or crafting.
Remember to make time for yourself in 2017. We may not be in control of our entire journey but we can look after ourselves along the way.
What are the top tips you use for mindfulness?
This post was brought to you with thanks to our brand partner Breathe Magazine.
Breathe Magazine is your body-and-soul guide to a happier, healthier life: wellbeing, living, mindfulness, creativity and escape.
Brimming with enchanting illustrations and thoughtful content Breathe is an oasis for the modern woman; a place to reflect, relax and refresh.
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