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Practical Mindfulness for Busy Moms

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Most moms I know have a lot on their plate, especially around the holidays. We want the holidays to be a special time for sharing love, fun, delicious food, and for making wonderful memories. Holiday preparations can create a lot of work for moms that are already super busy—the planning, shopping, cleaning, cooking, gifts, traditions, and all the extra touches. It can be really easy to find ourselves caught up in all the stress of our To Do lists, while forgetting to enjoy the experience.

We want to be more mindful, more present, more in the moment—but we are too busy just trying to get it all done! There is little time to simply ‘be,’ to enjoy these significant moments, to celebrate, to give thanks, to come together, and to connect with friends and loved ones. Instead, the holiday season often leaves us stressed, tired, and somewhat disconnected from the wonder, joy, and beauty of these festive times.

Practical mindfulness is an opportunity to tap in, be present, and reconnect with life in easy and effective ways that take little time. These practices are useful at all times in our life, and especially during the hectic holidays. Opportunities to be mindful are present and available at any moment. Performing these mindfulness tips throughout your day will create greater relaxation and a heightened experience of the richness of life.

1. Breathing. From time to time throughout your day, take a moment to simply breathe. I find it helpful to do this each time I get into my car, before turning the ignition. As few as 3-5 deep focused breathes can help you come to center and recharge. Find a comfortable position, allow your body to relax, and focus on your breath. If you notice thoughts popping into your head, label them ‘thinking’ and let them go.

2. Walking. While walking from place to place count your steps. Count up to 5 steps, then start over and count to 6 steps, and so on. Continue until you get to 10 steps, then start over with 5. If you find your mind has wandered and you’ve lost count, simply start over at 5. I count my steps as I run errands, walk my daughter to school, and take my baby for a walk in the stroller.

3. Listening. Throughout your day take a moment to stop and listen. Simply bring your attention to the sounds that are always happening all around you. The birds chirping, dogs barking, traffic and people moving about, whir of electronics, and gentle rhythms of the wind blowing through the trees. Simply focus on the sounds and bask in the richness of life that is happening all around you at every moment. I use the time when I am waiting in a line, at a red light, etc. to practice listening.

4. Eating. When sitting for a meal experience the first few bites mindfully. Really notice your food—how it looks, smells, the temperature. Take a moment to give thanks and to anticipate how it will taste. Slowly take a bite and really taste your food. Take the time to chew thoroughly, noticing the taste, texture, how the food feels in your mouth and notice the point at which your body feels ready to swallow. Eating mindfully can also help to decrease cravings and lessen the amount you eat. You are more likely to notice when you are feeling full.

5. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving isn’t just about eating lots of turkey. Often we find ourselves focusing our time and energy on what is not working in our lives. The practice of thanksgiving, or gratitude, reminds us of all we have to be thankful for. Upon waking in the morning, take a few moments to reflect on what is wonderful in your life. It could be as simple as your cozy bed, a good night’s sleep, a warm cup of coffee, or a hot shower. Taking time to be present with all the good in our life at the start of our day puts us on a positive path towards experiencing a great day!

Practicing these mindfulness tips throughout the holiday season and beyond. After a few weeks, notice whether you feel differently—more spacious, relaxed, present, and at peace in the world. Developing mindfulness will also help you to be more present for your children, partner, friends, co-workers and all those that you connect with.

Tara Harkins of Working Mother Coaching is a certified professional coach helping busy moms to create more balance and peace in their lives.

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