Simple Mindfulness Exercises for Busy Parents
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The first day of the new year was a beautiful sunny, but frigid, day here in Wisconsin.
With it being so cold, it's prime time for my introverted self to hibernate, read, reflect, and plan for the year ahead. Husband gifted me this great book The Art of Stopping Time for Christmas. It's written by Pedram Shojai (The Urban Monk), and I'm finding it to be the perfect way to kickstart 2018.
So many of us feel we're racing against the clock. There aren't enough hours in the day. Our children grow up too quickly. It's no secret we feel like we need more time.
Especially in modern family life, mental health maintenance tools are essential. Mindfulness techniques offer practical and simple stress-management solutions.
Over the next 100 days, I'll be documenting my journey with Pedram Shojai's book. I'll share the techniques I'm currently working on and my thoughts about the exercises he provides for readers.
Of course, I encourage you to go ahead and get the book and dive into your own mindfulness practices as what I'll offer here are just my experiences with the exercises. I'm excited to get started and share!
Evaluate Priorities with a Mindfulness Garden
I loved this reflection exercise! The idea is to evaluate the areas of our lives where we spend most of our time and energy. This mindful awareness allows us to align our "water supply" (time and energy) spent with what we value most. As we grow, shift, and change, we can prune our gardens by cutting back on that which makes us feel we're stretching ourselves too thin. We can also cultivate gratitude when we're aware of the activities in our lives that bring value and joy.
Here's how my garden grew.
As I drew, I separated the plants and flowers into "buckets" of my life. Then I took some time to break it down further into the tasks or responsibilities those categories require of me.
Here's what that looks like as I try to accomplish this "work/life balance" thing.
House and Home
- Meal planning and prepping
- Future plans
- Planned activities
- Out and about
- Cooking and baking
- Showing affection
- Spending Time
- Reading books
- Mindfulness and Ayurveda courses
- UU church
- Rise Sister Rise Sisterhood
- Putting together gift boxes
- Decorating the house
- Playroom strews
- Bringing treats
- Sending texts
- Gluten-free and dairy-free eating
- Teaching Sunday school
So everyone's garden is going to look different. Right? But that's the beauty of this. The care we devote to our gardens and how we distribute it is up to each individual. As I gave it some thought I realized that so many of my categories overlap. Understanding this helps me carry my awareness and give gratitude for the times I notice a hybrid activity. Instead of feeling like I never have time for self-care and yoga, for example, I can appreciate that I can use yoga as time with my kids AND taking care of myself, both of which are important to me.
If you try this reflection, tell me about it in a comment or connect with me on Instagram where I'll be sharing photos of my reflections and activities!