Category Archives: Mindfulness

Mindfulness for Busy Moms

Mindfulness for Busy MomsLife with kids is hectic, to say the least. If you’re lucky enough to get one down for a nap, the others will inevitably require your immediate undivided attention, the third snack for the day or your taxi skills to get to another activity. Moms are on the move! They typically don’t get the luxury of scheduled breaks or the end of their shift.

Which is exactly why mindfulness for busy moms is essential! When you think about it, being a mom is all about balance. Whether you work outside the home or are a stay-at-home mom, you’ve got a ton of things to accomplish on any given day with a mental checklist and any number of screaming kids in the background offering constant distraction.

Mindfulness for Self-help

Somehow, you pull it all together and make everything happen for everyone else, but what about you? To keep balance you’ve got to find a way to take care of yourself because if mama falls apart, the whole operation falls apart!

Mindfulness has become such a popular method for lowering stress levels and helping with all sorts of medical and mental health issues. But mindfulness for busy moms might just be the real jackpot here. Sometimes finding a yoga class matching our skill level seems just as impossible as allotting the time to get away and show up for the class itself.

The same applies to running out to a spa for a massage, not to mention massages aren’t exactly budget friendly these days. And forget about a weekend getaway or even a girls’ night out; that’s entirely too much planning and don’t we already do enough planning for our own crew?

Mindfulness Can Fit Your Schedule

The best part about mindfulness, other than the obvious and immediate release of tension, is you can do it first thing in the morning, smack dab in the middle of the day, the end of the day and at night. You can practice mindfulness once a day or find mindfulness moments for busy moms all throughout the day.

Yes, mindfulness can be just that simple. It’s all about being in the present moment and being aware of what’s happening right now. You take a moment to embrace the moment and allow it to happen, without pondering how it should or could be different.

Here are a few ways to incorporate mindfulness activities into everyday life any time of the day:

  • Deep, cleansing breaths. Ok, this one seems pretty obvious and probably at the top of all the lists. It’s easy, quick and can be performed all throughout the day. But for busy moms, this one is particularly helpful first thing in the morning before you’ve even gotten out from under the covers.
  • Here’s why: Your mind is already processing the days’ activities before you even get out of bed. Take three or four deep breaths, count the seconds of each inhale and slowly count out the exhale. Even if you hear the kid’s pitter-pattering down the hall or fighting over the bathroom, take this couple of minutes no matter what. Allow yourself to exist, without worry or contemplation, fear or anticipation. Just breathe and be.
  • Bring on the java! Maybe coffee isn’t your thing, but whatever is, take a moment to sit down and enjoy it. Here’s how to do it mindfully; find a quiet space and don’t dive right in. Maybe while everyone is busy getting ready for school or maybe during snack time when all the littles have their mouths full of all those healthful snacks.
  • Get your cup of goodness, sit down and take a mindful approach. Smell the aroma, notice how you feel before you’ve taken the first sip, take care to appreciate the first sip in all its splendor and how it feels going down. How does it taste? Is the cup warming your hands? These simple measures to keep focused on this exact couple of minutes, without distraction, is exactly what mindfulness is all about.
  • Hide. It sounds ridiculous but it might just save everyone’s sanity that day. If you’ve ever gotten to the point of breaking, before you scream and yell and later regret it, go hide. Run to your favorite closet (consider the pantry, there are probably cookies in there) and just be with yourself.
  • No little people begging for your attention or squealing on each other. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Take in your surroundings. After a couple minutes of solitude, you are more likely to respond rather than react to the situation.
  • The world isn’t going to fall apart if you appear to disappear for a few minutes during the day, but your state of mind surely could crumble if you don’t make time for yourself. These are just a few suggestions to help you get started and more comfortable with the concept of mindfulness.

You could also incorporate meditation, prayer, journaling, or a brisk walk (even if it’s just the perimeter of the backyard). Maybe coloring or spending a few minutes crocheting is more your style. The point is to find the mindfulness approach that’s most effective for you as a busy mom.

Mindfulness for ADHD

Mindfulness for ADHDOne can argue mindfulness for ADHD is a bunch of hooey just as easily as they can deny ADHD even exists, but when Dr. Lidia Zylowska and her team blew the minds of disbelievers with a 2008 study, many doubters had to reassess their position. Over recent years mindfulness has caused quite a stir in just about every life aspect, but mindfulness in ADHD deserves a special look. Here’s why!

In Dr. Zylowska’s 2008 study “Mindfulness Meditation Training in Adults and Adolescents”, 78% of participants who practiced mindfulness awareness reported a reduction in ADHD symptoms. That is an incredible statistic!

Mindfulness Avoids Regretful Ruminations

First, let’s go over the mindfulness concept as a whole. This approach, which uses meditation as one of its tools, encourages an individual to pay special attention to here-and-now moments without judgment. In practice, this means to avoid thinking back and pondering what could have been, and don’t freak out over the future, just be here. Right now.

That’s not to say mindfulness is suggesting we ignore past or future events in total, but dwelling on them will rob us of time, and time is something we can never get back. There is certainly no problem with learning from mistakes if it leads to a better outcome.

However, there is no value in bemoaning what could have been, or holding on to bitterness and regret. This is especially so where events or actions were beyond our control, whether they were enacted by others, Acts of God, or natural events. Beware of “if only” statements.

To employ mindfulness to its best advantage, if non-productive past and future thoughts intrude, allow the thought, replace it, and move on. With purpose.

Mindfulness for ADHD, as one could imagine, is a dream come true for many. There are parents refusing to medicate children for fear of side-effects, and adults trying to find a natural way to cope with ADHD to avoid being addicted or dependent on yet another prescription. Stimulants are the first prescribed line defense for ADHD, and yet they don’t work for everyone. Sure, Omega-3 and Omega-6 are great, but is that going to fully fix the problem? Probably not in most cases. Managing ADHD symptoms is challenging at best.

The researchers in Dr. Zylowska’s study knew what they were doing. You can’t put ADHD participants on a rigid schedule and expect them to stick to it. They made special adaptations to the study so it would be successful:

  • Started with shorter mindful meditation practices and gradually increased.
  • Incorporated visual imagery as ADHD folks is typically very visual learners.
  • Helped combat ADHD negative self-talk.
  • Emphasized mindful awareness with right-here-right-now, non-judgmental practices.

Distraction and focus. Those are the key components of both ADHD and mindfulness, oddly enough. Although they are working at opposite ends of the spectrum and fighting for different causes, so to speak, they both primarily juggle the same tenpins.

In mindfulness for ADHD, the idea is to push your thoughts back to the present moment and regain focus on the task at hand. ADHD sufferers are constantly challenged by intrusive thoughts pulling their attention in one direction or another and they often lose sight of what is happening right now.

Beginning another task, completely unrelated to the first task, is par for the course in ADHD patients. By the days’ end, they’ve got multiple unfinished tasks, have spoken a plethora of self-deprecating comments, and are left feeling discouraged and defeated.

We all have goals, right? That’s the object in our day-to-day life efforts, and long-term, to obtain or attain our goals. However, not everyone has the ability to keep their nose to the grindstone and hammer out results one after the other.

Mindfulness with ADHD helps strengthen attention span, it helps manage emotional surges and it helps in achieving goals. Of course, the person with ADHD will be resistant to focusing and consider this approach quite a workout. Studies, including the milestone one mentioned above, have proven that with time, patience and practice, the ability to immediately redirect themselves can become second nature.

When focus is mindful and redirected back to the present, tasks get done. When tasks get done, jobs are kept and paychecks keep coming. Homework gets done and GPAs stay good. Chores are finished before parents get home and nobody gets grounded. Laundry gets done, folded and even put away!

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when distraction gets beat down by focus through the use of mindfulness by those suffering from ADHD. It may mean little to those who aren’t directly affected, but to someone with ADHD, or maybe even more so, the parent of a child with ADHD, this gives incredible hope for dealing with the condition.