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Free your mind, and the rest will follow: Meditation for mums.

When was the last time you had a clear mind? One free of stressful thoughts, never-ending
to do lists and the mummy mental load? When was the last time you spent five minutes with yourself? Not scrolling, or driving, or watching TV. Just sitting in stillness.
 
If your answer is “I can’t remember” then you’re not alone. I’d say it’s a fair bet most of our
MEGA mums have very busy minds – we all have a lot on our plates (understatement of the
year!).
 
For me, it had been a while.
 
Meditation wasn’t something I’d really considered. My own experience of it until recently
had been relaxation at the end of a yoga class, where I would, without fail, drift off to sleep.
I thought meditation was something you had to commit a lot of time to. Something you had
to do while wearing flowing robes and sitting serenely on a mountain top.
 
Turns out – I was wrong. Meditation is accessible and easy, even for busy mums, and the
benefits are huge. Regular meditation has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety,
improve sleep, improve your attention span and even generate kindness 1 .
So, what is meditation?
 
“Meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person.
It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying
to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment.
And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.” - Headspace.com
Is that different to mindfulness?
 
Mindfulness, being present in the moment and fully engaged, can be taught through regular
meditation. You can train yourself to be more aware of the moment, and less distracted.
Being fully engaged and present with our children is something we’d all like to be better at,
another reason meditation for mums makes sense.
 
Where to start?
I did a call out on social media, to see if anyone I know already meditates. Turns out,
mindfulness and meditation are already pretty popular within my own circles. Quite a few
people got in touch, talking about how it’s benefited them and their preferred methods and
tools.
 
(1 - Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation)
 
In this digital age, we are lucky to have amazing resources at our fingertips. Apps, websites,
podcasts, there’s no shortage of digital tools to help with mindfulness.
 
Get some headspace
Quite a few of my buddies recommended the Headspace mindfulness app, so I started
there. As with most things, there is a free version and a premium version. I went with the
free, basic version, and it was really easy to use.
 
The ‘basics’ meditation course is a series of ten guided meditation sessions, and I love that
there are different options for length. I found around 5-minutes per session was ideal for
me. The sessions are easy to follow and the male voice is really easy to listen to.
Other recommended apps were Calm, Insight Timer and Smiling Mind. All of these have
fantastic guided meditations, and Insight Timer and Smiling Mind are FREE (hooray!).
 
A clear head?
Feel like it’s impossible to have a clear head, completely free of stray thoughts? Well, it
probably is, and meditation isn’t about being perfect. Thoughts will come into your head
during meditation… emails you meant to send at work that day, shopping lists, relationship
worries, did I remember to get more milk??
 
It’s OK. Guided meditation teaches that these thoughts are normal, but with practice you’ll
learn to ignore the thoughts and let them pass. Giving your head more space to be quiet
and calm.
 
Find the time
I’d suggest trying to fit in meditation where you can, but forming a habit and making it part
of your routine is best. For me, it’s now the first thing I do when I hop into bed at night. Five
minutes to switch off thoughts, and remove any lingering stress from the day.
Other people love to do it in the morning, but my chaotic household means I can’t even
shower on my own, let alone find a quiet space to meditate.
 
Whatever works for you, try to find a time and stick to it. Most of the apps out there come
with handy reminders, and you can choose the time of day to set these. Headspace sends
me a little note at 9pm every night reminding me it’s almost time for my session.
Music as meditation
 
Meditation doesn’t have to be sitting cross-legged in a quiet place. Anything which helps
you switch-off from the world and your responsibilities is hugely beneficial. For me, music
can be a form of meditation. Not the dancing around the kitchen type (although that is
fun!), but the kind you can lose yourself in.
 
You might like to take a walk while listening to your favourite calming music, or even just
sitting with a cup of tea while listening to a peaceful song (without also
working/cleaning/cooking). These simple acts can deliver big returns for our mental health.
A friend recently recommended The Open Ears podcast and it’s a fantastic way to get some
focus. In each episode, a person talks about their favourite piece of classical music, before
the piece is played in its entirety. Some are people with interesting jobs and experiences,
others are celebrities like Alec Baldwin. Each episode is only about ten minutes long, and all
are beautifully produced and absorbing.
 
Move it
Exercise is another way of clearing your head, and exercise you have to think about can
have similar benefits to your mind. A friend of mine has recently taken up tap dancing, and
she says the focus required to follow the steps is a type of escapism from her busy mum
mind.
 
With this kind of exercise, the thoughts and worries of the day disappear as your mind is
completely absorbed by what you’re doing. Learning a new language, playing a musical
instrument or even colouring-in can have a similar effect.
 
Get the kids involved
Learning to sit quietly with your own thoughts is a life skill, and a great gift to give our kids.
And although we might like to meditate on our own, life sometimes doesn’t give us the
opportunity. So why not try meditating with your kids?
 
Many of the apps and websites out there have guided meditation sessions for children,
designed to be engaging and easy to use. Encourage your kids to sit with you, five minutes is
all you need. It might even become a new activity you can share together as a family. Yoga
for kids and families is another great way of teaching your kids mindfulness and meditation -
our family favourite is Cosmic Kids Yoga.
 
Whatever you decide to try, remember that meditation and mindfulness are skills for life,
and positive habits to build at any age. Even a few minutes every day can have a big impact
on your wellbeing.
 
Best of luck on your meditation journey.
 
Erin Huckle
 
Author bio:
Erin Huckle runs Chuckle Communications in Wollongong, and loves working with her clients
to find the right words for their business. When she’s not working on PR and copywriting
projects, she’s wrangling her three young boys, running, reading or watching a classic
Agatha Christie whodunnit.
 
 
 

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