By Fredrica Syren:
With my two first kids, I practiced meditation daily. I really depended on going inside myself to find stillness that would help me cope with the ups and downs of my day-to-day life. I don’t know what happened, but around a year ago, when I was expecting our third child, I gave up the practice because I felt I was too busy with my kids and work. It was a huge mistake and, a few months later, I found myself getting stressed very easily and also noticed my breath was shallow, especially during stressful times. I realized that practicing meditation is very beneficial to both my mental and physical health. I also decided that all I really needed to commit to was just a few minutes a day, which would be much better than nothing.
Meditation helps to calm and quiet the mind, and can be much harder than people might think. The purpose is to train yourself to became more aware of thoughts and feelings, to let go, and to become more focused and calm. Meditation can really benefit parents by removing us from the craziness of our days, and helping us renew our mind and body. It recharges the battery, so to speak. I find that regular practice helps me deal with the stress of parenthood, the worries and anxiety.
It’s hard to imagine finding time to meditate because, when you have kids, finding time just for a shower or a meal is a juggle. The good news is that meditation does not require hours or even 20-30 minutes. You can easily perform a good meditation in 5-10 minutes. All it takes is the flexibility to adapt to each day and to be determined.
Just five minutes of uninterrupted quiet time without kids or spouses can be enough to restore balance and reduce stress.
Meditation practice for beginners:
- Find a small space away from distraction and noises. Tell your family it’s your quiet time and to leave you alone until you come back.
- Leave the phone away from the space and turn it to silent, if possible.
- You can sit up against a wall, if you wish, to make it more comfortable. You do not have to sit crossed legged. Use a few pillows if that will help.
- Set the mood with candles or soothing music.
- Close your eyes and begin breathing. This is what it’s really all about. Concentrate on breathing deeply into the belly for a full body breath, but not so much that it’s uncomfortable. Follow the breath in and out through the nose. Breathing helps keep the mind clear.
- If your mind keeps filling with “must,” “should” and “have to,” it’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Clearing your mind takes time, so be kind to yourself. Remember it’s a process. My first meditation after my third child was born was a comical show. I had a conversation with myself inside my head that went something like this:
- “Hey, this great”.
- “Oh,come on. I really think we should go and have coffee instead.”
- “I said, ‘Shhhhhh!’ Ommmmmm.
- After a while and much patience, my mind settled down, and bliss and silence replaced the chatter.
- I find that using a mantra can help, and my mantra is “I’m calm, I’m free.”
I know that starting a meditation practice can feel overwhelming but, believe me, it will be so helpful. Taking time out for a some well deserved quiet time will make you a better mom. So find your time and your space. Your soul will thank you.