Today is a hard day. I’ve gotten very little sleep. My wrists hurt from typing all day long. Nerves in my hips are causing me pain, making it hard to sit. My knee aches, which is why I didn’t go to my yoga class, so now the rest of my body is paying for it.
Also I’m in school full-time. My classes are all online, which means more typing, more hurting wrists, and achy hips from sitting too much. My body feels like that of someone my grandmother’s age–not thirty-something. Oh, and I’m a mom too.
To say my life is crazy busy would be the understatement of the century. On the outside my friends and family think, “Wow, you are amazing. You make it look easy.” Their thoughts couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t have it all together and the stress of school/work/motherhood/life threatens to take me out EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Some days I fall apart. Most days I come close. And a few days far in between, I think, “Damn, girl, you are one tough mama. Look it you handling life like a boss.” Those are the days that help me get through the rest of the train-wreck-waiting-to-happen days.
But when I do fall apart, when depression pulls me under, and the train comes to an explosive halt, there is one thing that helps me pick-up the wreckage, put the cars back on the track, and keep going, squeaky wheels and all. Meditation.
Now, I know some of you are thinking, “Please, like I have time for that.” I know. I used to say that too, until postpartum depression and rage threatened to destroy everything I held dear to my heart. My midwife encouraged me to take a few moments to go within every day and anytime I felt like I was going to lose it.
Meditation doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out experience. Anyone of any faith or background can practice meditation anywhere and anytime. Countless studies have shown the benefits of meditation for the mind, body, and spirit. I can attest to those benefits.
Meditation helps me stay calm when anxiety and rage bubble up inside me. It helps me relax so I can sleep at night. It starts my day on the right note, and keeps me going when I’ve had very little sleep. When I meditate in the morning my day seems to go smoother, and no matter what kind of disasters occur throughout the day, I handle them with a much calmer spirit then I normally would. Taking a few moments to go within is one of my strongest tools that has gotten me thus far in my crazy working/student mama days.
All you need is a few minutes. Here are some meditations I use frequently:
- Counting heartbeats. Place your hand over your heart or fingers on your wrist pulse and count the beats up to 100, taking deep breaths. Focus only on your heartbeat and the miracle of life it rings.
- Counting breaths. Take a deep breath counting to 4. Hold for 4 seconds. Exhale for 4 seconds. Hold for 4 seconds. Repeat for 5-10 rounds or until you feel relaxed.
- “The Beach.” My favorite place for peace and solitude is the beach. So when I need to “get away” for a few minutes I close my eyes and imagine I’m walking on my favorite beach, Cannon Beach, near Haystack Rock. I hear the waves; I feel the water at my ankles; I breath in the salty air, and I let the sun warm my body up as I take deep breaths. Two to five minutes at my beach is enough to get me calm and focused again.
- “The Forest.” My second favorite place is the forest, especially after a rain fall and everything sparkles in the defused light. I close my eyes and see the twinkling raindrops on the foliage around me as I make my way to the babbling brook nearby. I breathe in the earthy forest air; I feel the gentle wind on my skin, and I feel the firm earth beneath my feet. As I reach the water, I step into the flow and allow the creek to wash away all the stress, anxiety, or rage I’m feeling.
Here are some resources for quick guided meditations I enjoy:
21-day Meditation Experience with Deepak Chopra and Oprah. Free on the website during scheduled “experience” dates.
Gabrielle Bernstein, also known as the Spirit Junkie, has dozens of tips and free meditations on her Youtube channel and website.
Hay House Youtube Channel on their Monday Meditations playlist also has tons of guided meditations from their authors.
Take a moment and give yourself the gift of peace, love, and happiness by going within and finding that quite space all mamas crave.
For other, great stress-reducing tips for moms, check out the rest of the posts in Mel’s Stress Buster Series