Why is being present, in the moment such a hard thing to accomplish?
I think mindfulness is an especially difficult thing to achieve when you’re a parent because you’re not just thinking for yourself, but for the other lives you’re responsible for. It can be incredibly draining, MENTALLY.
For me, my attention always seems like it’s being pulled in ten different directions at once. Each day seems to start something like this: I’m cooking breakfast while doing dishes and throwing in a load of laundry, one of kids is crying, my phone buzzes, the tea kettle screeches, the dog is barking, the other kid starts to cry, my husband is talking over the noise, phone buzzes again, and so on…all simultaneously. And for someone with anxiety, somedays the constant noise coming from every direction makes me feel like I’m taking crazy pills. And even without those things physically happening around me, my mind does not stop…ever! So, in the midst of the chaos I’m also over here agonizing about ridiculous things like when to send my Fall baby to kindergarten (FYI, she’s not even 1 yet). Seriously, who thinks like this?! Please tell me I’m not the only one.
Whether you’re a parent or not, life doesn’t stop and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times. So, it’s important to realize when you’re feeling like this and adopt some strategies to help you deal. It’s essential to take a minute to reset, so that you can be your best self. I’ve adopted several strategies for when I need to take a step back from it all and breath…
Here are 5 ways that you can turn off your mind and enjoy the moment
Step away from the electronics! It can be easy to turn to your phone when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Getting sucked into Facebook for a few minutes may feel like a mini-escape, but ultimately, it’s not going to help you. I don’t know about you, but having my phone glued to my side makes me totally anxious (although, not having it also makes me stressed, what if there’s an emergency? What if I fall down the stairs and need to call 911? Here we go down the rabbit hole of overthinking again). On days when I’m feeling tempted to pick up my phone and zone out while scrolling through Instagram, I let the battery totally drain. Sometimes, I even try to hide it from myself, by charging it in another room and since my kids have destroyed by brain power and I basically have no short-term memory anymore, it totally works. As a stay at home mom I remind myself that being present with my kiddos is what matters, not just physically there.
Practice Mindfulness Exercises
One of my favorite exercises was shared with me by a therapist and helps me to be more aware of the moment. I honestly can’t remember what the name of it is, so we’ll call it, What do I see?…This technique allows you to take a step back and really observe what is going on around you. You’re basically giving yourself a play-by-play of the moment (think of yourself as a sportscaster). You let your eyes and your mind guide you, by simply observing what you’re experiencing and saying it to yourself- not necessarily aloud, though I’m sure that would work too. For example, if you’re sitting in a chair outside describe what is before you; tall maple tree, long brown branches, wind rustling green leaves, blue bird flying by, etc. Observe colors, textures, sizes. When doing this exercise, you state only facts, don’t allow any judgements (or your to-do list!) to creep in (i.e.: ugly shutters, why would my neighbor paint their house that color?). This exercise can be done with each of your senses. When I can’t sleep in the middle of the night What do I hear? always helps me fall right back asleep.
Hit the Road
Get out of town or just out of the house for the day, leave your phone at home! I’ve always been a fan of a long car ride, I don’t care where I’m going. Go get a coffee by yourself, go for a hike or take a day trip with the whole family. There is something about not being at home and looking at dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and everything else that needs to be done that can just help you feel a little freer. For me, it’s like hitting ‘pause’ on the stress, and being able to enjoy the day. Getting out for a while always helps me feel a little more centered when I return. If leaving home isn’t an option or maybe you’re not an outdoorsy type of gal like me, have a glass of wine outside. I love a side of fresh air with my vino.
As someone who suffers from anxiety, exercise really is essential for my well-being. Not only do I physically feel great after, but my mind feels so much clearer when I’m done. If you can’t make it to the gym, take your dog for a walk, or do an exercise video at home. I do Popsugar Fitness video all of the time. They’re a great way to work out at home and they are NOT easy! You can find them on their website, YouTube or download the Popsugar Active app!
Take a Bath
Not just any bath, do it right! Here’s how I turn my bathroom into a relaxing DIY spa retreat (no demolition required!). I’m telling you, after I do this, I fee like a new woman.
These strategies help me when I’m feeling like a total lunatic. What are some ways that you recharge your batteries when you need a break from life?How can you turn off your mind and really enjoy the moment? Here's 5 tips for you. Click To Tweet