“I have no time to meditate!”
“I’m too busy for that!”
“Who wants to sit around chanting all day?”
Sound familiar? What excuses do you make when it comes to meditation? We can all find the time if we want. Each of us has exactly the same number of hours in a day as the next person. It is what we choose to do with those 24 hours in a day that matters.
Let me ask you a question – is washing yourself every day important to you? Of course it is. I bet you don’t ever get up in the morning and say “Oh I don’t have time to get washed or brush my teeth today.” You make time for that morning ritual because it is important.
Meditation should be just as important. Meditation gives you a chance to start your day from a calm and centred perspective. There are many ways you can fit it into your day – and you don’t even have to sit and chant!
As a working mum I know how difficult it can be to find the time. Here are 10 ways you can fit it into your hectic schedule. Meditation takes all forms – these ideas will help you get started and in time you can then bring in a more formal practice.
1. Meditate in the shower
Instead of mentally running through your to-do list in the shower, take the time to be mindful. Be fully present. Notice how the water feels. Notice the smell of the soap and shampoo. Allow yourself to be nourished and visualise any worries disappearing down the plughole as you shower.
2. Mindfully do your morning routine
As you get dressed be fully present. Notice what you are doing as you put on your clothes. Look at yourself in the mirror and appreciate how wonderful it is to be alive. Be grateful as you get ready in the morning and allow yourself to dress and prepare for the day in a mindful manner.
3. Taste your food
Whether you eat or not first thing, take the time when you do have your first meal to notice how the food tastes. We often eat on the run and are not aware of what we are putting into our bodies. Look at the food. Smell the coffee. Notice how your mouth waters in anticipation. Relish how it feels as you eat and drink. Have a sense of gratitude as you nourish your body.
4. Notice your journey
How often do you get to work or do the school run without even noticing the journey? The car is often on automatic pilot and you just arrive. Perhaps you fall asleep on the bus or train on your way in and miss the entire thing. Make a point of looking around you. Notice your surroundings. What can you see? What can you hear? How do you feel?
5. Become aware of your breath
We breathe all day every day. It is an essential part of living. Take 60 seconds and just notice how it feels to breathe. Surely you can spare 1 minute? Don’t try and change how you are breathing – just notice it. Feel the breath enter your nose and move into your body. How does it feel? Is it warm or cool? Are you breathing deeply or is it shallow?
6. Set an alarm or trigger on your smart phone
Point 5 above is the first step when learning to meditate. Why not set yourself an alarm or reminder for 3 times a day. When you hear the alarm take 60 seconds to notice your breath. Notice what is going on around you. This is called being mindful. Use these few moments each day to create a sense of clarity and calmness in your life.
7. Go for a short walk
Take some time every day to walk in a mindful manner – even if it is raining outside! You can walk indoors around the building you are in and if it is dry outside (or you don’t mind getting wet) then go outdoors and walk in the fresh air. Notice how it feels as your feet connect with the ground. Notice how it feels to just simply walk. Feel the air on your skin as you move. Swing your arms and be aware of how that feels. Allow yourself to just “be” as you walk.
8. Listen to other people
How often do you find yourself already thinking of your response when someone is talking to you? We are all guilty of that. We rarely actually take the time to listen to what is being said. Make a point this week of noticing when you do that and then pause. Allow yourself to listen to what is being said and how it is being said. Give yourself a moment to evaluate the words and then respond. This habit of noticing, pausing and responding is invaluable when it comes to reducing stress in your life – meditation helps with this.
9. Write a journal
Take a few minutes every evening to write down the events of the day. How is this meditation? The act of sitting and recording your thoughts and feelings about the day that has passed is an excellent pre-cursor to getting into the habit of noticing your thought patterns. It also helps you to get things out of your head and therefore brings about restful sleep which is why I suggest doing it at night. Your journal is for your eyes only – you can put whatever you want in there with no censorship. Over time you will find that it is very therapeutic and gives you the time and space you need to evaluate what is going on in your life.
10. Spend ten minutes before bed in relaxation
End your day with a formal relaxation process. You can do this lying down and it will help you drift off into a peaceful sleep. Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Take a moment to focus on your breathing and notice your abdomen rise and fall. Start at your toes and work your way up your body to your head. Notice each part of your body as you breathe. You may wish to tense each part for a count of 3 and then relax it. This gradual relaxation process will help you prepare for restful sleep. If you find this difficult to do alone then follow a guided meditation – there are many to choose from or I can provide one to you if you contact me.
These 10 ideas will help you start to become more mindful each day. As you commit to doing these things you will naturally find that you become more centred and calm. You will then perhaps be willing to take the next step and love yourself enough to set aside 15-20 minutes per day for a more formal practice.
I’d love to hear your comments or your own tips for bringing meditation into your life. Please feel free to leave a comment or share this with your friends.