A day in the life of a mom is not your average 24 hours. As moms, we're constantly optimizing, multitasking and negotiating. We're hardwired for efficiency. We strategically navigate any unforeseen tantrums that arise. Oh, and we do it all in parallel with our personal pursuits. While some days we may feel like a well oiled machine, others can feel like we're in overdrive.
But it's important to make time to give yourself a mental break each day in order to better move through those inevitable bouts of stress and anxiety. That's where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is a meditation practice that gets you to focus on the present, which in turn help combat stress throughout your day. And the more you do it, the easier it is to reap the benefits when you need them most.
Sold? Us too. Which is why we tapped reproductive psychiatrist, Dr. Sarah Oreck, M.D. M.S. to share the mindfulness exercises she teaches in her practice. Ready to add these to your daily routine?
Add mindfulness to your ordinary routine.
"People often think practicing mindfulness requires an advanced meditation practice, but it can happen in small moments throughout the day. The next time you wash your hair, focus on the smell of the shampoo, the sensations of the water against your hands, the texture of your hair, feeling of the water and your fingertips on your scalp and the temperature of the water. You can even do this while taking care of your children, like when you give your baby a bath."
- Focus on your breath.
"Focus in on a place in your body where you feel your breath moving in and out. It can be your nostrils, chest or belly. Bring all of your awareness to this place for ten full breaths. This is a quick way to get you focused on the present moment."
Try a walking meditation either alone or with your kids.
"Pay attention to each step you take. When your mind drifts, just bring it back to your steps. If it's available, you can walk barefoot in grass or sand and also observe the sensations and textures on the soles of your feet."
- Give yourself a body scan.
"You can either find a guided body scan online or simply do one yourself. Check-in with your body starting from the top of your head to your neck and shoulders, chest, belly, pelvis, top of your legs, knees and lower legs, all the way down to the soles of your feet. Notice how each part of your body is feeling without judgment. A big part of cultivating a mindfulness practice is learning to connect with your body."
- Practice letting go.
"Take a couple of minutes to write down or draw a picture of whatever comes to mind. Throw away the page when you're done. It's interesting to see what comes up when there's no pressure to do anything with what you've created."
Try the square breathing technique.
"Square breathing is a wonderful relaxation and stress relief technique that I often teach my patients. It involves breathing in, holding the breath, breathing out and holding it again, all for four counts apiece. Repeat the cycle for several minutes. This breathing exercise promotes relaxation through the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and digest piece of your nervous system) and leads to clearer thoughts, lowered stress levels and helps to reset emotional peaks. If you’re pregnant, the only adjustment is to skip holding the breath and extend the length of your breaths in and out."
Tell us how this goes—join the Perelel community on social to share your experience.This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.