The good news is that you don’t need much to get started with a meditation practice. Just you, your mind, and maybe a little bit of quiet. But even with this seeming simplicity, it can present a problem for a lot of people – especially parents.
Your “me time”? It could easily be nearly nonexistent. Quiet? That could be in short supply. And mind? Oh, yeah, the place where you’re adding to an endless to-do list and reminding yourself to order more diapers and musing over what you can scrape together for dinner? That space?
Parenting is definitely not for the fainthearted. But even if you can work with these challenges – and you can – your time may be in short supply. When, you might ask, would you even find the time to meditate?
We know that most parents don’t have a lot of extra free time. And we don’t want you to feel like this is just one more thing to add to your to-do list. But if you think meditation is something that could be worth your time – and goodness knows all the benefits certainly suggest that it could be – one of the best ways to make it work is to incorporate just a bit of it into your day in a way that works for you and doesn’t feel like a burden.
Take advantage of little moments alone, and don’t be afraid to get some help
You don’t need to clear your schedule (as if that was even a possibility), you don’t need a ton of time. Sometimes all you need is a few minutes to carve out time to meditate. Maybe you take advantage of the times when you are alone – like maybe after your kids are asleep, during naptime, or on your lunch break – and use this as an opportunity to practice. Some people even find it helpful to even set a reminder alarm on their phone or put an appointment in their calendar. And many people also find it helpful to use guided meditations or mostly-silent timed sessions – like the sort found in apps or on YouTube – as a way to get started when they’re busy. This little bit of guidance and structure can help people carve out the necessary headspace and get into a focused mindset quickly – and you know just how long it will last.
Make it a normal part of your day, and over time build a ritual
Connecting a meditation practice to other normal parts of your day can also be immensely helpful, especially for folks who feel particularly pressed for time. This might mean spending a few minutes focusing on your breath at the end of your morning shower or focusing on a mantra each time you brush your teeth. It might mean taking five minutes to engage in mindfulness meditation while sitting in your car before you walk into work for the day, or listening to a guided meditation during your evening commute home. Lunch break, naptime, after climbing into bed. Finding these moments in the day where you can fold a meditation practice into your other routines and rituals can quickly make meditation a regular part of your life, and you probably won’t feel like it’s making you’re any busier than you were before. In fact, it’s highly likely that some of the benefits of meditation will start kicking in, and you’ll actually feel a whole lot calmer, a lot less stressed.
- So much love, so much stress: How meditation can help parents
- Seven strategies for getting started with a meditation practice
- Alice Boyes.“5 Meditation Tips for Beginners.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, March 18 2013. Retrieved February 5 2019. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201303/5-meditation-tips-beginners.
- Jennifer Kogan. “Mindful meditation practices for parents? Research shows increase in resiliency, wellbeing for those who practice.” The Washington Post. The Washington Post, July 17 2012. Retrieved February 5 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-parenting/post/parents-can-meditate-too/2012/07/16/gJQAZcQCpW_blog.html.
- Lea Waters. “The Relationship between Child Stress, Child Mindfulness and Parent Mindfulness.” Psychology. 7(1): 40-51. January 2016. Retrieved February 5 2019. https://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=62741
- “Meditation for beginners.” Headspace. Headspace Inc. Retrieved February 5 2019. https://www.headspace.com/meditation/
- “Meditation: In Depth.” National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, January 02 2019. Retrieved February 5 2019. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/meditation/overview.htm.
- “Raising Kids and Running a Household: How Working Parents Share the Load.” Pew Research Center. Pew Research Center, November 4 2015. Retrieved February 5 2019. http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/11/04/raising-kids-and-running-a-household-how-working-parents-share-the-load/.