It took many years and being the busiest I've ever been to say "I think I'm just going to sit and do nothing for 15 minutes at least once a day, every day."
I started to meditate because I'd noticed I was more stressed, easier to anger, overwhelmed, scatter-brained and hard on myself. Ehhem... doesn't this sound like every parent ever?
No matter what you have going on, I'm sure you've felt the above feelings and most likely spiraled into cycles of these negative vibes that have left you wrung out, tired, eating poorly and unhappy.
I'm not trying to be super new age, but meditation yanked me out of this spiral and helped me get back in touch with the awesome things in my life and in me.
Carving out a little time each day made it easier for me reconnect with myself, think about all I am grateful for and get the much-needed me time I was craving.
I've noticed I'm much slower to anger, I have much more energy, I make smarter choices during the day, feel more creative and less cloudy, all because I took time to start my day with a blank slate.
All of the wonderful benefits of meditation not only made me happier, but it made me a better parent and partner. Who do you think was benefitting from my patience and increased energy? The people around me, especially my husband and daughter.
So how do you get started? There are so many ways to build your own meditation practice, but here's some tips on how I started mine.
Make it Routine
If you're going to commit, actually commit. Set aside 15 minutes of your day, at the same time every day to meditate.
Get your family on board. Let your partner and children know that during that small window of time each day, you're busy.
When you tell other people of your intentions, it makes it more likely you'll stick to your plan.
I meditate first thing in the morning after I've washed up. My husband and daughter both know I'll be available to them when I'm done.
Get Some Help
Starting off meditating can be really tricky, so try using guided meditation to start your practice.
You can find a lot of wonderful guided imagery videos online. I really love using the app Calm. There are several free series, including a 7-day introduction to meditation for beginners. I sprang for the subscription and am so happy I did.
If listening to guided meditation isn't your thing, at least set a timer for yourself. It will be much easier to clear your mind and focus on your breath if you aren't constantly wondering if it's been 15 minutes already?
Be Kind to Yourself
You are not going to be perfect right away or maybe ever! Your mind will wander thousands of times and that's okay! The point is that you're taking time to check in with yourself.
Focus on your in and out breath. Let thoughts cross your mind, think them, then let them go. Try again.
Nobody will ever be perfect, but it does require daily practice to get better.
Even if you feel today's meditation was a hot mess, just thank yourself for showing up and taking time for you.