When you think about the holidays, there are probably an abundance of good things that enter your mind. Food, family, festivities, decorations, Nat King Cole crooning tunes smoother than the ribbons hugging your wrapped presents. It’s a warm and fuzzy time of year, and you can feel the excited energy on the city streets. Unfortunately, there’s another common side effect of this beautifully busy time of year.
Stress. Ever heard of it? Yeah, me too.
With the increase in plans and parties comes an increase in the length of your to-do list. Whether you’re a mom or not, I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of overwhelm that accompanies the season.
Now there may not be a way to cut down on your obligations, but there are definitely approaches to finding some calm in the chaos. I find that meditating each morning works wonders for my mindset throughout the day. This is something I’ve started doing throughout the year, but it becomes especially crucial during periods of increased stress.
Benefits of Meditation
Increased productivity throughout the day
Decreased stress levels
Increased feelings of happiness
Higher levels of self-awareness
Promotes a healthy lifestyle
….all good things!
If you’ve been interested in trying out meditation but haven’t been sure how to go about it, you’re in the right place. Here are some of my top tips for getting started with meditation.
If you’re brand new to meditation, I recommend starting out with a small amount of time and working your way up. Set a timer on your phone or an alarm clock for just five minutes and do your best to ignore all distractions for those five minutes. It will be hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become. Once you feel comfortable, you can work up to seven minutes, and then 10, and so on.
Build a Routine
The best way to build a habit is to create consistency! Choosing a time, place, and pose for your daily meditation is a great way to lay the foundation for your new practice. You can essentially meditate from anywhere, but I find it helpful to designate a specific space. It helps me get in the zone and avoid distractions. I like to set up a yoga mat on my bedroom floor, sit cross-legged, and close my eyes. If you prefer, you can sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor, or even lay down. Make sure you choose a pose that allows you to be conscious and alert but also comfortable. It may take some trial and error to find the place and pose that works for you.
Make It Non-negotiable
It’s so easy to hit snooze, to say “I don’t have time,” to push things back to tomorrow. But it’s a vicious cycle that leads to more stress in the long-run. If you want to really change your life, you’ve got to be all in. Make your meditation routine as non-negotiable as bathing regularly, eating dinner, or paying your bills. It may seem like a chore at first, but by just sitting, breathing, and clearing your mind, you’re becoming more in tune with yourself. In time, you’ll be able to think more clearly and understand your true desires.
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Be Present
Yep, those three things are all you have to do. The surprising thing about doing nothing is that it’s actually a lot harder than it sounds. In a digital age, even if we may be more conscious, our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. While you’re sitting there, focus on your breathing. Let yourself simply focus on breathing in and breathing out. Try your best to clear your mind, pushing thoughts of work tasks or what to eat for lunch aside. Your thoughts will inevitably wander, but when it happens, simply find your way back to focusing on your breath. Some people like to focus on a word such as “Om” or “calm” and repeat it over and over in their mind.
Try A Guided Meditation App
If you can’t seem to focus, or still feel a little shaky about the whole connecting thing, you might want to try a guided meditation app. These apps can help guide your focus, send reminders to meditate, provide themed meditations on topics based on your preferences, etc. Headspace, Buddifhy, and The Mindfulness App, are a few of my favorites.
I hope these tips help you begin your own journey to a less stressful, more peaceful mindset. No matter what life throws at you, it’s up to you how to react. Happy meditating everyone!