Mindfulness shmindfulness. I don’t have time for all that hippy dippy stuff. I have humans to raise! Washing to do! Three-day old Weetbix to scrape off the floorboards!
Then, a friend actually explained mindfulness to me and I realised it was fairly simple. It’s all about becoming fully present in the moment, and experiencing each moment as it happens.
So what is it?
Being more mindful can have benefits on the mind (duh), body and soul. Taking the time to be more present, and to accept things for how they are with no judgement can help you:
- Blow out the cobwes and clear your head
- Cope with stress
Practicing mindfulness doesn’t require you to sit in the lotus position, be in a quiet house or wear funky workout gear. It’s all about focusing on your breathing and the sensations you feel in your body.
Here are 6 simple mindfulness activities that you can do anytime and anywhere, no matter how many screaming children are around.
Yes, you’ve probably read your child’s favourite book aloud at least one million times. Tonight, when that old familiar story falls into your hands at bedtime, take the time to really pay attention. Look closely at the pictures, inject some personality into the words you are reading, put yourself into the shoes of the characters and focus on the lesson behind the story. You might surprise yourself by discovering something new… even though we all know he becomes a beautiful butterfly in the end.
Get in touch with your body, and take the time to assess your posture every now and then. Whether you’re sitting at a desk, breastfeeding on the couch, driving for long periods of time or carrying a toddler in your arms. Sitting upright, straightening your shoulders and holding your head high can do wonders for your body, and also your mind. You’ll instantly feel more engaged and alert, and you might save yourself some money on physio appointments too!
Nobody loves doing housework. That’s just a fact of life. But it’s actually a great excuse to practice a bit of mindfulness (mostly because as soon as the vacuum comes out, you can guarantee the kids will leave you alone!). Rather than going through the motions, really take the time to pay attention to every aspect of the chore. If you are sweeping, tune into your body and feel the muscles in your arms; notice the position of your feet as you dance across the floor. If you’re scrubbing dishes, allow yourself to fall into a comfortable rhythm. Discover new ways to engage with these everyday tasks.
With young kids around, we can easily fall into the habit of shovelling down their leftovers at the end of a meal, or snacking on the run. Whether it’s a meal, a cup of coffee or a mid-morning snack at work, why not take the time to really experience the moment. What can you feel/touch/taste/smell? Where do you think the produce came from? How did it come to be in your possession? What noises do you hear as you bite into it? Crunching and munching? Slurping and sipping? Share these thoughts with your kids as you eat, and get them into the practice as well.
Scroll through your playlist, or flick through your CD collection (oh that makes me feel old) and find a song you haven’t listened to in a while. It might be something you absolutely love, or it might be a song you consistently skip past. It doesn’t matter, because the aim is to allow yourself to get completely lost in the music. Close your eyes and take a 3-minute journey. If you approach the activity with no preconceived notions about the artist, genre or lyrics then you will start to hear things you never imagined.
Feature image: Living Life’s Moments