It doesn’t, however, work for me. My son makes his way into my bed nightly, and he’s a very light sleeper. If I so much as think about getting up before he’s awake, his spidey sense begins to tingle, and he’s up. It doesn’t matter if it’s 6:30 or 5. If I get up, he’s up. Period. Plus, I’m tired. I want to get all the sleep I can get, and even waking up twenty minutes early feels like I’m robbing myself of precious moments of rest.
So, if you’re like me, it feels like sitting in meditation for twenty minutes (or even five) a day isn’t a realistic practice. But wait! That doesn’t mean you should completely abandon the idea of mindfulness altogether. Meditation is just one way to cultivate a mindfulness practice, and there are many others.
The data show that mindfulness increases contentment and is effective at combating depression. When we’re mindful, we’re more fully present with the people in our lives and more attuned to our own thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness can mean the difference between a knee-jerk reaction and a thoughtful response when our children push our buttons. It can help us recognize when we’re on autopilot and missing important cues from our children. Mindfulness can help us to actually live our lives as they're happening. If you’d like to read more about why mindfulness matters and my own struggle to implement it, you can do so here.
There are myriad methods for weaving mindfulness into activities you already do daily, and they can still have a profound impact on your mental health, relationships, and overall satisfaction. Read on to learn about some of my favorite strategies.
In case you’re interested in trying out my meditation song, you can listen to it here.
If even a weekly class seems out of reach, there are plenty of great resources for an at-home yoga practice. YogaGlo allows you to attend an actual yoga class virtually (don’t worry, no one can see you). Yoga Studio is an app you can use to build your own class or choose from several existing categories. There are also endless YouTube channels offering high quality instruction, including Fightmaster Yoga, Yoga With Tim, and Yoga with Adriene. There’s even a class where you can do yoga with goats. Which leads me to believe there’s a class for literally anyone.
3. Shower or Bath
4. Mindful Playing
And it’s actually a great time to practice being mindful. When I’m practicing mindfulness with my son, I notice things I would otherwise miss: his funny comments, the way his pants are a little too short following his most recent growth spurt, the way he sifts through his legos to find just the right piece, and the way he solves problems creatively without any help from me. I can really enjoy the present moment with him because I’m all there.
Naturally he notices the difference, and he basks in the attention he’s receiving from me. It’s good for both of us, and we feel more connected. There are sweet moments even during the roughest day, and noticing them can make the difference between my frustration with an awful day and my acceptance of a day with high and low points.
Mindfulness isn’t a luxury only afforded to those with disposable incomes and an abundance of free time. It’s not just for Buddhists, and it doesn’t even have to be spiritual. Mindfulness benefits all of us, and it’s possible to practice anytime, anywhere.