Mindfulness is a trendy catchphrase right now. It feels like everyone is focusing on finding mindfulness, or practicing it. If you’re not already in the know, mindfulness is the act of slowing down, managing your stress, and focusing on actually enjoying the moment. The idea is to pay attention to the present moment with acceptance and free from judgment.
With so many American leading busier and busier lives, it’s not hard to understand why this is a popular trend. With hundreds of thousands touting the benefits of mindfulness, here are three quick, simple and enriching mindfulness activities for parents.
1. SNAP out of it
Have you ever come home from work feeling entirely overwhelmed and unable to manage one more stressor? Maybe it has led to you lose your temper unexpectedly with your partner or children? Maybe you need to SNAP out of it.
A mindfulness technique standing for Stop, Notice, Accept, and Pay Attention, this is meant as a 30-minute break for yourself. Step away from life for a brief moment, try to find a quiet place away from people, and notice your body. What are your emotions? Are they related to your current surroundings, or something else? Notice your physical condition, too. Are you tense? Is your jaw clenched? If you’re not relaxed in body, accept it. It’s where you’re at right now, but not where you need to stay.
Take time to manage a few deep breaths. Pay attention to how they’re relaxing you and changing your mood. As your mind tries to wander back to the daily stressors in your life, pay attention. Stop those thoughts and refocus on just your breathing. Once you’re calm, feel free to rejoin your regular activities.
2. Mindful Media
If we’re being honest, we’ll probably all admit to spending more time on social media than we really should. It’s part of our culture. But what if all that scrolling could help you center your emotions?
Some experts say that you can use your social media stream to practice mindfulness. They suggest that you take some time in a quiet place to really read your friends’ posts. Don’t just hit “like” and keep scrolling. Really read each post, considering where your friends are at in their own lives. It could make you a better friend, and will certainly help you clear your mind of the stressors that were bothering you in the first place. After a predetermined amount of time, put the phone away and return to your normal life.
3. Wake Up Early
Mornings are manic for parents. Getting yourself ready for work while also getting the kids ready for school (while also ensuring that everyone eats and wears matching socks) is a full-time job. A bit of mindfulness before the chaos of the morning can really help to get your day started on the right foot.
In this exercise, set your alarm for about 30 minutes earlier than you really need to be awake. Make yourself a cup of coffee or hot tea, and sit quietly while you drink it. Focus on the aroma of your beverage, the heat of the mug in your hands, and the way the hot liquid feels as it moves from your lips to your mouth, and eventually, into your body. This brief moment of quiet reflection can help you feel empowered to take on the day, as opposed to rushed to just get out the door on time.
Keep in mind that mindfulness is not about being zen. You don’t have to be chill and happy all of the time. We are human, and we have human emotions. Rather, mindfulness is about accepting where you’re at and accepting it. This process typically brings with it a sense of calm and clarity, which can help you move forward with less stress.
Ready to give it a try? We’d love to hear about your adventures in mindfulness! Share them here, or with us on social media. Just don’t forget to tag us so that we see it!