So you've heard about mindfulness meditation and the many ways it can help you in your daily life. You want to get started, but you just can't find the time. You have a million things to do, and if you had any spare time, you'd use it to get through your never-ending to-do list.
Mindfulness meditation does sound great, but where exactly are you supposed to find the time to meditate?
I hear you.
Because I find myself in the same boat as you.
So let's find out together.
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Have an honest look at your daily schedule
You're busy, I know. Your day is jam-packed with activities and things to do. You're actually rushing from one thing to the next, with no breathers. You're fully aware that you don't have any spare time, so there's no chance that you can fit a meditation session in.
I believe you.
Because my days were exactly the same. Up until a few months ago, I used to work three days outside the home, and I felt like that. And the days at home with my children weren't any different. I even felt like that on weekends sometimes!
But now I have filled my time with other things. Some of it is still 'general busyness' that cannot be helped, but other things are new, better habits that I wanted to develop for myself.
How did I find the time around the children?
I looked at my daily routines, and I shaved some time off here and there. For example, I try and wake up about 15 minutes before they do, or I go to bed 15 minutes after I used to. I often use this time for some guided meditation that helps with sleep, and as a result I have a better rest, and I don't miss the half an hour I used to spend in bed trying to sleep or to wake up from a restless night.
Really, honestly, look at your day. When can you grab 10-15 minutes alone and away from other tasks? I know it seems impossible, but if you look for it, I know you can find a couple of slots.
Work on your mindset
So you've found the slot. Now you need to make sure you don't use all that time up browsing social media on your phone or doing an extra load of washing.
You need to really think of this time as time for you. This is your investment in yourself.
You owe it to yourself.
You deserve it.
You need it.
So please make it count. Make it non-negotiable. And don't allow yourself to fill this time with anything else (unless of course it's an emergency!)
Meditate, meditate and meditate some more
I'll be honest with you - I've been so sporadic in my formal mindfulness meditation practice that I still haven't experienced this first hand. But I've read it in pretty much every book on mindfulness that I've picked up in the last year or so.
When you meditate, you have more time to meditate.
It seems counterintuitive, when you're always very busy, to choose to spend time 'doing nothing' instead. But everyone who regularly meditates will tell you that the time you spend meditating pays off, as you find yourself being more efficient, productive, focused and creative afterwards. And in turn, you create more time for that next meditation session.
It sounds pretty good, right?
Take advantage of the natural breaks in your day
There are natural breaks in your day. As short as they might be, they do exist! You may not be alone at these times, and you may not be able to sit down for a full meditation session, but there are other ways you can reap the benefits of mindfulness practices.
Sometimes all you need to make a difference to how you experience your day is to grab those few minutes of stillness that you have when your child has just sat down, busy with their lunch, or when you finished a call with a client 3 minute earlier, and you don't have enough time to start another work task before your next call.
Make a conscious effort to start noticing these times. And just breathe - take 3 deep breaths and allow yourself to be present in that particular moment. Do it often, and you'll see that this will start working for you - you'll find it easier to respond to situations rather than react to them.
Bring mindfulness into your every day tasks
Mindfulness is all about being aware of the present moment. Try and make a conscious effort of turning the auto-pilot off when you carry out some of your every day tasks. Like brushing your teeth, eating or walking to the office or the school.
Did you know that you can use your lunch as an opportunity for a quick mindfulness practice? Try and really taste what you're eating - focus on the texture of the food that you've just put in your mouth. Pretend it's the first time you're trying it, and focus on how that feels for you.
Or try and walk mindfully, instead of being on your phone or thinking about the next thing on your to-d0 list. Focus your attention on how walking feels for you - on how your feet, legs and whole body move to allow you to walk.
You're not actually taking time away from anything else by trying this. But you're giving your mind a break.
And you'll really thank yourself for it.
Do you have any other tips to find time to meditate?