Meditation Tips for Busy Lives
Finding and making time for consistent meditation practice is one of the most common hurdles to overcome. Here are some tips and practices to weave meditation into your busy day; fitting meditation into a busy day can be hard, especially when we feel like there is barely time to come up for air. That right there, that moment when you think “I do not have time”, or “I am too busy to rest” is precisely the moment you should pause, and take AT LEAST three full, delicious breaths. It is your body and mind’s signal that you NEED and will BENEFIT from meditation and a moment to catch up with yourself.
It is also difficult to find or make the time for a regular meditation practice when you don’t enjoy it. Meditation can and should feel natural, supportive, and nourishing, even fun! If your practice feels like a chore, is dry, dull and boring, of course you won’t want to do it. Meditation is a collection of innate skills you already possess, and it is possible to harness them to find delight, wonder and relief in meditation that can then spill out into your busy days.
Here’s 3 key tips for how to weave meditation into your busy days;
Choose frequent, short meditations to refuel you during the day, rather than trying to find one longer chunk of time. You can be refreshed with simply a minute of good quality deep breathing. We all have a minute to spare. 1-5 minutes is all you need.
Meditate at times when natural and consistent transitions already occur in your day. For example; upon waking, before leaving for a busy day, coffee break, or lunch, when you arrive home, or before bed. Particularly before bed can be very helpful if that is the first chance you have to catch up with yourself, it’ll help clear some of the backlog of thoughts, and impressions from the day so that you can have a more restful sleep.
Don’t force yourself to calm down, or stop thinking, be with the sensations in your body. Be with the buzz of excitement, the hum of fatigue, the restlessness of anxiety, and whatever speed your body and mind seem to be going at, start there and let your body naturally settle into a calmer rhythm. What allows you to operate at full capacity is to be celebrated. You want to practice being relaxed with whatever is going on inside as you rest.
Here’s just two of many reasons why you should consider meditation as part of your busy days;
Meditation changes your perception of time, so in a day when you feel like you have no time for yourself, constantly chasing your tail, one minute of deep cleansing breaths or whatever technique you like can give you back your sense of time and space. One minute is all you need, but if you can take 5 minutes, it can feel like an eternity in a busy day! You’ll return to you tasks with a renewed presence.
It’s a tune up for your body and mind. The body-mind system already knows how to heal and what to do to keep you thriving, life is always trying to renew itself, you just have to give your body and mind half the chance to tune up, clear your mental workspace and check in. You’ll find yourself able to function at full capacity for longer, and with more grace and zest. You practice being relaxed while your mind is busy processing and sorting in meditation.
And, here are a few simple techniques you can try at home
Deep Cleansing Breath
Take some deep cleansing breaths by breathing in and sighing out through your mouth when you exhale. Take at least three, but up to as many breaths like this as feels good. Your breath is always with you, you can do it anywhere (even in a meeting) and has a powerful way of refreshing you. When we are rushing and stressed the breath gets shallow and shorter, which signals the body to continue to be stressed, even if we are otherwise feeling relaxed. You cannot rush and be relaxed at the same time. Explore that, next time you are rushing.
You don’t need to get to a class, or be anywhere special to be with your breath. You can do this technique while grocery shopping or sitting on the bus on the way home for example. Even the kids might get involved on school pick up – deep breath in, sigh it out on the exhale! It helps release tension and stress and signals the body’s relaxation response – it’s one of the body’s built in meditations. Think about getting home after a long day, plop yourself on the couch and a spontaneous sighing exhalation happens. You’re simply encouraging this process more often in your day.
Fill Your Cup Meditation
Prepare or purchase your favourite beverage and find somewhere to be with yourself quietly, with minimal interruptions (noise is not an interruption, so you can sit at your desk or in a coffee shop for this one, but somewhere others aren’t asking for your attention for a few minutes).
Begin by asking yourself;
“What do I need to thrive today?”
“What quality of attention do I want to embody?”
Let any impressions arise as images, thoughts, feelings, memories, urges, moods. Let a feeling or word or image develop and spend a few minutes breathing in the feeling. Let your body remember the feeling, let the word repeat in your awareness a few times. Engage all your senses in the process of drinking your favourite beverage, and imagine it is a cup of whatever quality you need that day – joy, patience, peace, enthusiasm, focus, love, etc. Savour the scent, texture, taste and movement of the liquid as you sip, and think about drinking an elixir of vitality – whatever quality you need – drinking a cup of clarity, love, confidence, each sip fills you up. Enjoy for a few minutes or the whole cup if you have the time!
The wonderful thing about this technique is that it is simple, no one knows you’re meditating, so you can do it in a meeting, at work, or while out and about. Only you know you are tuning into yourself with each sip, reconnecting to what you need, and topping yourself back up. You might even find your beverage tastes even better!
Review Your Day Meditation
Eventually we all go to bed and drift off to sleep. If you haven’t yet found the time to meditate in the day, this is your “hail Mary pass”. As you get cosy in bed, take time to reflect on the day, from when you woke up, what emotions you experienced that day, all the things you achieved, forgive anyone and anything, bless your feet that held you up, drift with any sensations of fatigue and any residual energy of the day pulsing and throbbing in you. Don’t resist sleep, but also don’t force yourself to slow down or relax here. This gives you a chance to clear some of the mental backlog from the day before falling into the rich world of sleep and dreams. Remember, in meditation you practice being relaxed with whatever arises.