Thursday at 1 a.m... my adorable, hilarious, and curious 20-month old son woke up in the middle of the night screaming bloody murder. He must be teething. (Still? Feels like a lifetime…how many teeth do they get anyway?) I tried patting his belly, rubbing his back, quietly singing songs, rocking, shushing. Finally, he goes back to sleep. SCORE! I tip-toed out the door and CREAAAAAK…Damn those lovely, but old wood floorboards. I froze. SCREAM! Back in again. Rub, pat, rock, sing, shhhh. Repeat 3 times that night. Each time I was jolted awake while my husband slept peacefully.
By the time my alarm rang at 5:30 a.m., it felt I had barely gotten 2 straight hours of sleep. But life couldn’t stop and I wasn’t able to sleep in because I was scheduled to present to my leadership team at work at 9 a.m. I still needed to make myself look semi-professional, take care of the dog, get my toddler ready and drop him at school, get myself to work and run through my presentation before the meeting.
Does any of this sound familiar? Can you relate? This is my real-life right now. It’s crazy beautiful and sometimes messy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some days my meditation and yoga practice is the only thing saving my long locks from being ripped out of my scalp.
I stress the importance of a meditation practice to my friends, family, colleagues and my clients. I would argue it’s especially important for moms. You need to treat yourself with kindness and compassion first, before you can take care of “all the things” for your children, partner and/or employer.
So, how do you go about beginning a meditation practice if you have no time and no experience? Start by committing to just 2 minutes a day and gradually increase the time by 2 minutes each week. Use a timer if you need to. Try not to get caught up in the “how am I supposed to do this?” “am I even doing this right?” chatter that might run through your mind.
Sit comfortably, preferably supported by a cushion or pillow under your sit bones with your legs crossed. If that’s not working for you, start by sitting on a chair with your back supported and feet flat on the floor.
There are many types of meditation practices, a great starting point is with a foundational breath-focused technique. Close your eyes and settle into your space. Bring your focus to your breath as you gently breathe in and out through your nose. Feel the breath moving through your nose, your chest rising and falling, your belly expanding and contracting. Feel and observe without creating any strain. If thoughts cross your mind, simply acknowledge them then let them go. Start with 2 minutes of breath-focused meditation and gradually increase the time from there.
By taking this compassionate step in your own wellness path, you will feel more grounded and patient so you can better take care of those you love!