How many times have you said to yourself, I just don’t have time to meditate, or I can’t find any space to relax right now? As parents, we are constantly bombarded with pressures and responsibilities that keep us moving in constant motion.
A moment’s pause can feel like an opportunity to let the world fall apart around us. What if I told you that you could set aside just 5 minutes of your day to practice some simple techniques that will help you slow down, take deep breaths, and come back into the present moment?
A Mindfulness Practice for Stressed Out Parents
young mother does physical yoga exercises together with her baby, mother and little child holding hands, standing on the yoga mat in white loft yoga studio.
Give yourself time
If you’re like many parents, juggling work and kids often leave you feeling frazzled. As a result, you probably don’t make time to meditate or practice another relaxation technique. But taking just five minutes each day can give your body and mind a much-needed rest.
One of the most effective and consistent ways of self-care is to establish a regular meditation practice.
Don’t be in a rush
Whether you’re a parent or not, feeling stressed is something most of us deal with at some point. And while everyone handles stress differently, it can be helpful to have a few tried-and-true relaxation techniques that work for you.
For example, progressive muscle relaxation can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any equipment—in fact, all you need to do is take a deep breath and focus on what muscle groups are tense in your body. As these muscles relax, so does your mind! It’s also important to note that some people prefer guided meditation; if that sounds more like your cup of tea (or coffee), try out an app such as Headspace.
Focus on your breath
You can use focused breathing to help you relax and even unwind after a long day with your kids. It’s not an easy practice to master, but regular practice can help you unwind and reduce stress and anxiety.
Try sitting up tall in a comfortable position. Inhale through your nose so that your belly expands like a balloon. Then exhale completely until there is no more air left in your lungs, taking as much time as possible to let all of the air out of your body.
Take a few deep breaths in and out. Repeat these steps until you feel relaxed and ready to start on other activities—from taking care of dinner preparations or playing Legos with your kids!
Be Kind to Yourself and Listen to Your Inner Voice
When you listen to your inner voice, you can calm down enough to see where these stresses are coming from. That gives you a sense of control. When we don’t have control over our environment and can’t figure out what needs to be done, we feel anxious.
After all, if we didn’t have an inner voice, we wouldn’t be here; it is what makes us human. So trust in yourself and your inner voice—it knows more than you think it does!
Meditation and other forms of mindfulness practice can help bring your inner voice back into focus so that you can hear its wisdom again—and regain that sense of calm control over your life.
Relax into the feeling of being present
Meditation is an excellent way to relieve stress. Find a quiet place, and put on some soft music. Close your eyes, sit comfortably and relax your muscles one by one—beginning with your toes and slowly moving up through your legs, torso, neck and face. It’s hard to give advice on what kinds of feelings to expect during meditation because everyone is different: Some people get so relaxed they fall asleep; others feel very energized by it. Most find that meditation brings clarity and focus.
For parents who are constantly busy taking care of other people—and there aren’t many out there who don’t fit into that category!—making time for yourself can be tough, but finding relaxation techniques you enjoy makes all the difference in learning how to meditate when you are feeling frazzled or stressed out. The best way to learn how to meditate? Try lots of different things until you find something that works for you!
Top 7 Universal Parenting Worries (Problems)
People often think parenting problems are only relevant to their specific kids and challenges. But, like so many things in life, they’re surprisingly universal. So while your particular hiccups might be unique to you and your kids, there’s a good chance you can find solace in knowing you’re not alone—and that there are common solutions that have worked for parents before you. In fact, one set of university researchers did just that. They recently compiled an enormous list of parenting concerns and worries into ten universal issues faced by moms and dads everywhere.
- The fears we have for our children: Will they be hurt, unloved, or in some way miserably treated by fate or a friend who has betrayed them?
- Anger and frustration: When things do not go according to plan, our best-laid plans slip away, or things do not turn out as we had hoped.
- Overwhelm: It occurs when our children, whether they are young or old, exceed the skills we have managed in the past, or the resources we have at our disposal at a specific moment.
- Loss: When we see our sweet moments fading away in the face of change, development, and a universe of needs other than ours, and when we become saddened by setbacks, failures, and shattered expectations for our children.
- We are all guilty of setting higher standards and not being able to meet them. We also fail to live up to our intentions as parents and possibly cause harm to our children, consciously or unconsciously.
- It is difficult to deal with situations when our usual parenting tools, guidebooks, and rule-of-thumb road maps leave us stranded and vulnerable.
- We fear for ourselves when our needs are not met, our careers are stunted or threatened, our relationships fail, we become addicted, and we become resigned to foreshortened futures as a result of the unending press of the next generation.
Regardless of whether your meditation practices focus inwardly or outwardly, children will still benefit because you will be better equipped to show them loving self-kindness in return.
Family Meditation Practice-Parent and Child Meditation
15 minutes of mindfulness with your children can help them cope with stress and lower their own levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Taking some time to relax together in quiet meditation will also improve family relationships, which are an important part of happiness.
If you have young children, try sitting or lying on a blanket together and having them rest their heads on your chest or stomach.
A great way to learn how to relax is by practicing during daily activities—like walking, standing in line at a store, cooking meals at home—and being more mindful about what we’re doing (instead of thinking about what’s coming next).
Giving yourself 15 minutes every day to focus on each moment you’re living through as it happens is just as important as making sure you’re getting proper nutrition and regular exercise.
Meditation for New Mothers
As any new parent can tell you, babies don’t come with an instruction manual. No matter how long you spend trying to conceive (and wait and wait and wait…), nothing prepares you for what really happens. If things are rough in those first few months or even years, maybe it’s time to try a guided meditation.
There are plenty of apps and classes out there that help new parents learn how to meditate, so now is as good a time as any to give it a try.
A mindfulness practice will not only help your mind slow down and relax, but also help you learn about yourself again after pregnancy changes every aspect of your body and mind. And if anybody deserves some peace of mind in parenthood, it’s parents!
Relaxation Techniques for Parents
Kids, Work, and a long to-do list: What do all of these things have in common? They’re bound to stress you out.
And while we don’t want to trivialize anyone’s individual problems, we can all agree that life is tough when you’re constantly running from one thing to another. If you want some tools that will help relax your mind and body so you can cope with it all better (and who doesn’t?), try using these relaxation techniques for parents whenever you need a little break.
Not only will it make your day easier on you but research has shown mindfulness practices like meditation can actually increase serotonin levels—the brain chemical associated with calmness and happiness—in our bodies.
So practice some self-care today, deactivate your to-do list, and focus on each breath as we go through five easy ways to relax right now.
1) Deep Breathing
Deep breathing isn’t just good for calming us down; it’s also been scientifically proven to improve concentration. That means whether you are trying to get ready for a big presentation or simply unwind after a stressful day at work, deep breathing helps both your physical and mental health.
To start doing it correctly, simply sit up straight with your eyes closed and take slow breaths through your nose slowly filling up each part of your lungs before exhaling completely through pursed lips as if whistling. Repeat ten times.
2) Focus on Your Feet, Take-Two Minutes!
Stress is often caused by our thoughts running in circles in our head that keep replaying over and over again (we know what you mean…). That’s why meditation experts suggest thinking about something other than whatever has got you stressed out—something concrete like your body parts which will help bring awareness to what’s happening now instead of ruminating on things that aren’t within your control.
Try focusing on every detail from your toes all the way up to your head as you do another set of deep breaths. When your mind inevitably wanders, just bring it back to your breathing and slowly focus on one area at a time. You’ll be amazed at how much more relaxed you feel when its over!
3) You Think Too Much! Get It Out!
Sometimes we have a lot going on in our minds but don’t always know how to process it, leaving us stuck with all these racing thoughts without any solution. Writing them down can help us figure it out or even give us some clarity if there isn’t an easy fix right away—it might sound counterintuitive but research shows journaling actually boosts creativity too!
As you sit down at your computer (or grab a pen and paper) just think about writing whatever comes to mind. It doesn’t need to be pretty or make sense because you won’t be reading it later; just write as fast as you can to get those feelings onto paper where they will hopefully make more sense than before.
Try taking five minutes every morning before work and again before bed after dinner: You might find that within days you feel calmer and more centered with things better processed internally while also keeping your worries from building up so much overtime that they become unmanageable!
4) Color Your Stress Away
We all know coloring is a great way to take out the stress and relax which is why several studies say doing it regularly can lower blood pressure levels, reduce anxiety and even boost self-esteem. Nowadays, there are tons of books featuring designs like mandalas, landscapes, and animals geared towards adults who want to add something new into their lives.
If buying something new isn’t feasible right now why not turn back pages of old books or magazines? Not only is recycling easier on your wallet but adult coloring may allow you to tap into creative parts of yourself you didn’t even realize existed while also relieving stress!
You may feel selfish taking time to yourself when you have small children to take care of, but remember, the healthier and happier you are, the healthier and happier everyone around you will be and that’s just one reason to meditate.
Get your kids involved in their practice if you can’t make time. You can let them learn with you, or you can let them play games, or they can watch meditation videos. Everyone in your household can meditate, and it’ll keep you all connected