Mindfulness is a word popping up everywhere these days. Whether it’s in terms of being a mindful parent, or how important mindfulness is in workplaces and in schools. With the “busy-disease” running rampant in our society, it really has never been more beneficial to our mental, emotional and physical health, to invite mindfulness practices – and their calming and centering benefits – into our life.
I think most people understand that mindfulness is about being in the present moment. But many people confuse practicing mindfulness and “being in the present moment”, with sitting in complete silence, void of thought. Mindfulness does have the benefit of allowing us to feel “zen”, but practicing it doesn’t mean we instantly arrive there. Our minds are a busy place, especially as moms, and in the day-to-day grind, the world of to-dos and caretaking, quieting our mind can feel next to impossible.
How To Practice Mindfulness
So, mamas, I’d like to invite you to consider mindfulness and being present as more akin to befriending our moment-to-moment experiences, not erasing them from being. Embrace your thoughts, perceptions, emotions and physical sensations with openness, curiosity and acceptance.
Mindfulness is paying attention to what is right now and being with everything that’s there – the good, the bad, the ugly – with complete permission, acknowledgment and receptivity (yup, the tantrums, and challenges as much as the laughter and joy).
As a mama of 3, being with my mindfulness practice each and every day is not always about sitting in quiet stillness for 45 minutes – although if you have the time and space for this, that’s AMAZING!! It’s about embracing and cherishing all that’s before me (as best I can) in each and every moment, and mindfully creating the space for such moments to transpire.
I feel this practice deepens my connection to my kids (myself and others close to me). I have found that when I am calm and centered, I am able to have deeper, more accessible reserves to be the mom I want to be, and I’m more likely to respond calmly, patiently and creatively to my kids.
Motherhood is everything and nothing I imagined it to be. It’s filled with the richest love and deepest soulful abundance, alongside the very biggest tests and challenges. The mindfulness practice I cultivated prior to motherhood has been my lifeline. I feel this journey would not be as “smooth” and I would not be as in love with it, if it weren’t for the full toolbox of mindfulness strategies I came into motherhood with.
I am positively passionate about inviting moms to get the most joy and beauty they can out of motherhood. So much so, I teamed up with a like-minded mama, Ashleigh Frankel (of Click & Co.) – who also happens to be a mama of 3, coach and mindfulness guru. Together, we’ve combined passions to create these mindfulness tips for mamas.
10 Mindfulness Tips For Mamas
Mindfulness is one of the foundational pieces for mothers to nourish and fuel their selfhood, so you can shine in all your brilliance. I wanted to share with you the “10 Mindfulness Tips for Mamas” we created. I hope you find they add to your “mama toolbox” and help you more easily invite mindfulness into each day.
- Breathe – it’s truly the key to it all. Taking a deep breath (whether during a meltdown, tantrum or magical memory in the making) will help you be more present, calm and centered.
- Single task as often as possible. Challenge yourself to stay focused on one thing you are doing for a whole minute.
- Get outside in nature! Enjoy this time with the kids or solo, it can change your day. The positive endorphins from exercise and breathing in fresh air help clear the mind.
- Name what you are feeling. Especially powerful when you’re feeling challenged by your kids and/or life. Taking a moment to identify what you are feeling (out loud is best) helps bring calm to yourself and your kids (and models the permission to feel all we are for our kids).
- Nurture YOU. Do something you loved before becoming a mama – sign up for an art or dance class, go out with friends, or go to a Yoga class, whatever makes your soul sing.
- Create a plan of to-dos and (as boring as it may seem) follow a routine as much possible – breaking the routine then becomes, even more fun!
- Immerse yourself in play with your child(ren).
- Noticing when your mind goes into “judging mode”. Pay attention to when you’re being too critical, or taking things too seriously. Being aware of our thoughts, allows us to change them.
- Tune into your senses. Listen to the wind rustling in the trees, the feeling as you massage shampoo into your hair, the smell of cookies baking. This type of connection brings us right into the present moment.
- Try a guided meditation. Even five minutes can be amazingly beneficial. We love Yoga Nidra (30 minutes, lying down and it’s the equivalent to 3 hours of sleep in terms of the rest and rejuvenation it gives your mind and body).
Whether you practice some of these mindfulness tips already (or not at all), I invite you to commit to taking on one or two of these tips and then perhaps another. Try what resonates with you for a month and see if you begin to notice any differences.
Bio: Catherine Cowan is a yoga teacher, mindfulness guru, healer, coach, optimist, and mama to 3 children (plus a dog). She loves new adventures and wholeheartedly believes in love.