by Taryn Lagonigro
Almost 6 years ago now, I was a mom to then just two little girls. I was (and still am!) working full time and both girls were enrolled in daycare. EVERYTHING felt chaotic then. The mornings, the evenings, and everything in between. I felt like I was just going through the motions of life, not living them. I basically hit the pillow every night feeling like I failed everyone. This turned into a months-long bout of anxiety and depression, until one day, I started taking small steps to taking time for myself. Ironically, the thing I had been avoiding because of “mom guilt” was the thing that changed everything.
It started with a weekly yoga class. I figured out that it was the one place where I could quiet down my overactive mind. This turned into a lifestyle that incorporated yoga and meditation, and it fundamentally changed the mom that I am. It wasn’t always fancy – sometimes just five minutes of breathing does the trick – but taking those little moments made me a happier mom, which led to happier kids and an overall happier household.
Do we have our moments? ABSOLUTELY! But having these tools and teaching them to my kids means that we can usually snap out of those bad days. I plan on sharing more of this journey as we spend time on this blog, but today let’s talk meditation!
Often it’s thought that meditation means that you have to sit in a sound proof room for an hour in total silence with a perfectly clear mind. Let’s be real – I’m sure NONE of our lives are conducive to that! Meditation doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective…it’s more important to find some consistency to it. For example, taking five minutes to meditate every morning would be better that taking one hour to meditation once a week. I love taking a few moments to meditate in the shower – noticing the scents and warmth of the water can bring you into the present moment and out of your overactive mind.
So why should we meditate? Benefits of meditation can include reduced stress, better control of anxiety and depression, more quality sleep, greater focus and enhanced self-awareness, among other things. When we meditate, we are literally changing the brain and telling your whole body to relax.
Here are some tips if you want to get started with a home meditation practice:
• Set up your space – add some candles or incense and find a quiet space if possible – but know that you can still meditate anywhere!
• Set a timer so you aren’t distracted with how long you’ve been meditating.
• Stretch & loosen the body – some simple shoulder and neck rolls are great!
• Establish a relaxing breath, just by taking some nice, long inhales and exhales.
• Soften your body, observe any tightness
• Practice silent or guided meditation – there are plenty of resources available online, and many studios offer virtual sessions now!
• Be curious & open to what comes up – don’t have expectations for a meditation, sometimes our mind wanders and that’s ok!
• Journal about your experience – jot down anything that comes up and also how it made you feel…it’s nice to look back on this as you continue on in your journey.
Once you learn a little more about how to meditate, you'll find that you can create these little moments anytime and anywhere - even a few deep breaths when your toddler is melting down will make all the difference!
P.S. I'm always here to help with yoga and/or meditation tips and questions! Message me here or @mindfullytaryn