Have you ever considered practicing mindfulness as a parent? The idea of finding your zen when you are a parent may feel like an impossible task. Finding yourself constantly on the go, it may seem like there’s never even a mere moment of silence with which to collect your thoughts.
But when there is chaos constantly surrounding you, it is of the utmost importance that you are able to carve out a path toward your own personal inner peace. Of course, practicing mindfulness as a parent can be immensely difficult – it may feel nigh impossible, at the very least. But attaining this inner peace is actually a simpler and more intuitive process than you may think.
Utilise the following tips to help you calm your body and your mind, connecting with yourself amidst all the chaos of parenthood.
Practicing Mindfulness As A Parent
#1: Schedule some ‘me time’
Whilst it may seem counterintuitive to try to schedule in your mindfulness, it can be the most productive method for some of us when it comes to introducing the concept to your daily life. You can begin simply – buy a 2024 diary, and start plotting in time for yourself every week. This ‘me’ time can be a great opportunity for connecting with your own concept of mindfulness and identifying the mindful practices that work best for you.
For many, the subconscious response is that we simply do not have time to practice mindfulness. So carving out dedicated time to do so every week can help bust that internal bias. Begin to practice dedicating time to yourself just as you dedicate time to your children, date night and housekeeping tasks. The simplest inroad for you may be to treat your ‘me’ time as if it’s another task, effectively tricking your brain into relaxing because it is ‘something I need to get done’.
#2: Check in with your five senses
A simple way to ground oneself can be to check in with each of your five senses. This is a common method for mindfulness that’s heavily advocated by mental health professionals.
Take a moment to remove yourself from the tumultuous quality of an internal anxiety and reconnect with your physical self and its connection to the outside world. Try using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique: take a moment and acknowledge 5 things you see, 4 things you feel (physically), 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you taste.
This practice – and other similar exercises for encouraging bodily awareness and presence – can automatically help you feel more grounded and less like you’re being whisked through your day from chore to chore.
#3: Connect with nature
It may seem like an obvious tip and one that many of us swiftly brush past, but don’t deny the healing power of simply connecting with nature. Taking a break for a 10–15-minute walk through somewhere green is a swift way to not only sneak in a bit of exercise, but it also carries with it a slew of other benefits. Going for a walk is even something you could do with the family. Find a reason to take the kids to the local park and get some fresh air for yourself at the same time.
Consider even bringing nature to you. When decorating your home, there is no better option than indoor plants. They’ll liven up your space and naturally increase the air quality of your home. The ritual and simplicity that will come with maintaining these plants will also bring unique benefits that relate to mindfulness and staying present.
#4: Identify your emotions
You may have begun utilising the naming of emotions with your children, but it can be surprising to realise how many of us lose grasp of this even as adults. The simplicity of pulling all else away and simply identifying what our negative (and positive) emotions are, where they may be coming from and how they might be causing us to act is invaluable. Once you have begun with the baseline of identifying your emotions and allowing yourself to fully feel them, only then can you continue with the steps of resolving them or even just indulging them productively.
When it comes to your kids especially, having a grasp on your emotions is a great way to lead by example. Young children themselves are building a vocabulary when it comes to articulating their feelings and thinking critically about their emotions. If your kids are toddlers or even under the age of 5, they very literally do not have the words to honour their emotions, at least to begin with. With this in mind, practicing naming your emotions works double-duty for parents – showing the little ones the best practice in processing their own emotions whilst also giving yourself the space to process your own.
#5: Focus in, multitask less
Multitasking may seem like a vital tool as a parent and method of helping you stay on top of your never ending to-do list. But truth be told, multitasking can also be contributing greatly to unnecessary emotional clutter.
Habitually, we’re often planning the next task whilst we’re still on the current one – never quite focusing on what’s actually right in front of us. In this way, multitasking can actually be one of our greatest barriers to practicing mindfulness.
So the next time you’re ticking off a long list of chores, try being mindful and engaged with each task as you’re doing it. It can begin as simply as naming what it is you’re doing in each instance – I am folding the towels. Then from there, continuing to shift back into thinking about the task each time your mind kicks up a gear and tries to flit elsewhere. All that matters as you fold the towels is that you’re folding the towels. Feel the fluffy fabrics, watch your fingers make the folds, and take in how you’ve stacked your towels and other laundry when it’s all done.
It isn’t easy to practice mindfulness as a parent who is seemingly always busy. Good emotional health is not about being free of busyness, however, but maintaining a clear mind even in the face of outside turmoil. Try and wrangle the ways in which you respond to the outside stimulus and what of it you allow yourself to internalise. A clear mind does not necessarily need to be hand in hand with a clear schedule.