How busy parents can practice mindfulness throughout the day?
Whether you’re a fan of musicals or not, almost everyone has heard the song “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof. For parents, it’s a song that tends to resonate deeply with the idea of your children growing up and slipping through your fingers in the blink of an eye. Sometimes, it seems like you turn around and they’re another year older or accomplishing something new – without your help.
Getting misty-eyed, yet?
The problem so many parents face is being so busy that everything seems to pass by so quickly. Throughout the pandemic, one study found that 9.8 million working mothers were suffering from burnout. When parents have to balance the stress of work, childcare, extracurricular activities, sports, their own relationships, and social life, it can feel like your daily schedule doesn’t leave time for appreciating little moments.
That’s where mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness gets thrown around a lot like a “buzzword” these days, but it’s the practice of hitting “pause” in your life and focusing on the present. So, how can you be more mindful as a parent each day?
Combine self-care and mindfulness
Stress is often a big problem for parents. It can negatively impact your physical health and your behaviors. Some of the symptoms associated with it include:
- Muscle tension/pain
- Upset stomach
- Sleep issues
Stress can also cause you to become distracted in nearly every area of your life. If work is stressing you out, you’re more likely to focus on that than your kids. If a busy family schedule is overwhelming you, you’re less likely to experience joy in those moments.
That’s why self-care is so important for parents. Finding something to do every day that promotes your well-being will reduce your stress levels and make it easier to practice mindful meditation.
That looks different for everyone. Your time of self-care could include journaling, exercising, or even gardening. All of these activities are great for staying in the moment and focusing on the present. Just make sure, no matter what you’re doing, you’re taking the proper precautions to stay safe. For example, if you’re new to gardening, protect yourself from harmful substances like vermiculite. If you’re exercising, stay hydrated and get enough rest. When you make your well-being a priority, you’re more likely to find time to be mindful.
Check-in with your career
According to the American Institute of Stress, 80% of workers feel stress on the job. It’s not uncommon for a career to take up most of your focus, especially if you can’t let go of the stress of the day when you get home to your family.
Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to practice mindfulness at work, including:
- Being present in each moment
- Learning how to make your work meaningful
- Setting intentions each day
- Taking breaks to meditate
- Focusing on one task at a time
Since so many people are stressed in the workplace, it’s also worth it to talk to your employer about ways they can promote mindfulness and support their employees, especially those with children. That could include things like more flexible options, remote possibilities, and the promotion of a better work-life balance. By bringing these needs to light, you could make a big difference in the overall culture and environment of your workplace. As a result, everyone – especially parents – will benefit.
Make it a family activity
One of the best ways to practice mindfulness regularly is to get your whole family involved. Teaching your kids about mindfulness can help them to form healthy habits as they get older, and it will allow everyone in your family to learn the importance of being in the present.
Depending on the ages of your kids, you can find different ways to be mindful. Some kids respond well when it’s turned into a game. Others benefit from things like guided meditation. That’s something that can actually be beneficial in a classroom setting, too. Consider talking with your children’s teacher about introducing mindfulness in the classroom through meditation, journaling, and listening. Mindfulness has been shown to improve attention and focus and can even improve behavior – something kids will benefit from in school and at home.
If you want to be more mindful throughout the day, the best thing you can do is to make time for it. Mindfulness is easy to practice when you get the hang of it. There really is no one “right” or “wrong” way to do it, as long as you’re focusing on the present and how your body feels.
But, as a busy parent, your biggest struggle might be blocking out the time to do it. Keep these tips in mind to practice mindfulness throughout the day, no matter where you are. In doing so, you’ll feel more present with your family and can experience all of the wonderful little moments of your children growing up.