The reason I started the Me Time for Mama campaign, was because feeling stressed, overwhelmed and experiencing multitasking-overload seemed to be a very real thing for us mums.
At any one time, we’re playing the role of nurse, negotiator, cuddle-giver, PA, bum-wiper, cook, cleaner and general giver-of-all-things. And quite frankly, it’s exhausting.
Mindfulness is something that we’ve been hearing more and more about over the last few years. And I’ll admit, when I first heard about it, I dismissed it as a something for zen-like people, with more time on their hands than me, who wanted to connect to their inner spirit-animal guide, whilst running barefoot through a cornfield. And who’s got time for that?!
But the more I looked into it, I realised it’s actually for people exactly like me – a stressed-out mama trying to juggle it all, who is often left feeling overwhelmed and drained at the end of each day. And as I researched further, I found out that there was no barefoot-cornfield-running required – bonus!
So what is mindfulness, exactly?
Put very simply, mindfulness is the art of being present. Of being completely immersed in the moment; not letting your mind wander into tomorrow’s to-do list, or worrying about who is going to pick Oscar up from Beavers, because you’ve got to drop Sarah off for swimming lessons.
Tara Brach, psychologist, author and teacher of meditation, says:
“Mindfulness is a pause — the space between stimulus and response: that’s where choice lies.”
And that spoke volumes to me – so often we’re caught up in the craziness of motherhood and we get stressed. And when we get stressed, we become snappy and less tolerant, and that affects the way we react to our kids, our partners or to situations at work.
Quite often we’ll bottle-up all that stress and overwhelm, trying to be a non-shouty crazy person, and then we step on a Lego brick (which is possibly one of the most painful things known to man) and all hell breaks loose. All the frustrations of the last few days come tumbling out, and you release a tirade of pent-up frustration on the whole house. Even the cat.
So being able to be in-the-moment enough to put a pause between the situation (the ‘stimulus’ – my children acting like loonatics) and my reaction (the ‘response’ – shouty-shouty-crazy-lady) started to seem like a pretty attractive option.
But I don’t have time for that!
Easier said than done, I hear you cry! (Because I said that too) – but like anything, mindfulness can become a habit and even more than that, it’s claimed that it can reduce stress, help you become more focused, and improve your relationships. And I think we could all do with some of that, right?
So what now?
So I a bid to practice what I’m preaching, I’ve download the Headspace app, which lured me in with the promise of helping me ‘stress less, exercise more and sleep better’. And the best thing? It only takes 10 minutes a day! Sounds like a winner to me.
I’ll let you know how I get on…