Life can get overwhelming, especially when you’re in the building stage of life, whether that’s building careers, growing a family, or trying to save for a home, (or doing them all at once!) things can get really busy, really fast.
Practicing mindfulness at home is an essential part of finding joy in the tough times of life.
You know, those times when you think, “this is awful! How can I keep doing this?”
This is where I am right now. I feel like I have zero time to do anything. I feel like I’m barely getting by with doing the bare minimum of what I need to.
Pure survival mode.
And whenever I’m in survival mode it becomes really hard to be mindful, to live in the present and to stop looking ahead to bedtime, the weekend -whatever time or event is supposed to be better than the here and now. But the thing is–this is life, this is it! and I don’t want to miss it.
Benefits of mindfulness at home
Studies show that mindfulness can improve your overall wellbeing and happiness. Mindfulness exercises have also been shown to:
- Decrease stress
- Decrease rumination
- Improve memory and focus
- Improve relationships
- Enhance, self insight, morality, intuition
One aspect of homesteading that I really love is that life happens through chores, tending to animals, cooking from scratch, etc. Homesteading can be the ultimate mindfulness practice but even homesteaders can use some reminders to stay in the present and stop rushing through things. Here are my tips for practicing mindfulness at home (and on the homestead!).
There have been times when I feel like- How can I keep going like this? Exhausted, overworked, frustrated. Something has to give right? But I can’t stop working. I can’t stop parenting. I can’t stop eating (using dishes). I can’t stop wearing clothing (laundry).
What can I cut out from life to make it easier? I don’t have time or money to take care of some of these things. But I do have a few seconds, even minutes, here and there to notice that I’m STILL BREATHING. In…Out…In…Out…
Taking just those few seconds to focus on my breathing, I was able to see that despite my struggles I still have the most important thing that a human being could want, and that is breath. Breathing means I’m still alive and that’s something to be grateful for!
How to do it
- Sit in a quiet place (I use the floor outside OG’s room when she’s falling asleep) and become aware of your in-breath and out-breath.
- Become mindful that your in-breath is in-breath and your out-breath is out-breath.
- When you focus on your breathing in this way the thoughts, worries, past, and future slip away and you can be 100% in the present moment. You can start to feel the joy that is in that very moment.
- Practice whenever you have a few moments of quiet time.
Mindful daily chores
There is a list of chores that we each have to do each day or week that are not the most fun, however, they aren’t all that bad either. It’s a matter of perspective.
Now, I know there are some people who would rather pay someone else to do these things for them (and that’s ok, to each his own) but I prefer to find the joy in my daily activities, really connect with them and realize that life is in these small moments. So how can you find joy in doing laundry? Become mindful!
How to do it
- Connect with the physical repetitive motion of washing dishes, sweep the floor, folding clothes, etc.
- Observe your breathing and your body.
- Notice how the dishwater feels, how the broom sounds on the floor, how the laundry smells.
Many of us eat while doing other things, whether it’s watching TV, answering a preschoolers questions, or writing a to-do list. It can seem boring or like wasted time to focus entirely on eating and not try to squeeze in other activities at the same time, but eating mindfully is the only way we can appreciate our food, truly taste it, and really feel nourished.
It’s not easy for most of us, especially if you have kids but it’s a good skill to develop and pass along. Mindful eating is an excellent way to staying healthy too. Being aware of what food tastes like, feels like, and how our bodies feel in response, we are more likely to make good choices and not feel deprived.
How to do it
- Make meal time family time and put away your phone, laptop, newspaper, etc.
- Choose delicious, healthy, fresh foods that are worth savoring!
- Focus on each bite, how it tastes, feels, smells. Tune into your body and how the food makes you feel.
- Focus on being grateful for your food.
I was watching something on TV about a family with a 6 month old, very adorable, and I found myself longing for a cute little baby to cuddle. Just then QC turned to me, climbed on my lap and said “Mommeeee!” and I realized that I already have a cute baby (well, toddler) and that I’m missing these moments longing for other moments that aren’t even mine!
It was a good reminder to turn off the TV (I shouldn’t be watching it with kids around anyway!) and be more mindful of where I am right now, and of the joy that I have in my life.
How to do it
- Turn off distractions, like the TV.
- When you’re with your kids be with them, and when you’re doing other things (working, housework, etc) do those things. Your whole attention part of the time is better than part of your attention all of the time.
- Realize that when someone is having a hard time (tantrums, crying, etc), that’s a sign that you need to drop what you’re doing and help the child through their emotions. This isn’t always easy or possible, like when dinner is cooking, but it’s something to strive for!
- Teach mindfulness to your kids with books like Peaceful Piggy, which teaches kids how to become more self aware and find peace and joy by slowing down.
Mindfulness at Home: Is it possible with kids?
Yes, though it’s not easy. When you have kids, especially small ones, your days tend to be filled with more noise than quiet. It’s hard to find the time to become mindful when you’re cooking dinner and the kids are screaming and there are messes everywhere.
It’s tough but it’s not impossible. There are some huge benefits to practicing mindfulness at home with your kids too. If mindfulness can help you become a more calm, happy person your kids will see that and benefit from it. They will have a calm happy parent and they will learn how to become calm and happy themselves.