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As we all know Christmas time is a very busy time, presents, end of year school parties, functions, planning school holidays, visits from family and in-laws and much more.

Although it is a time for fun, it can often feel chaotic and rushed, especially for you – the mum!

The challenges are not going to disappear by magic, but you can take some steps towards creating your own internal and blissful self.

Here’s how; I am a teacher of mindfulness and meditation and I will share with you some of the latest mindfulness training ideas, but first, let’s answer one crucial question.

What is true mindfulness?

Mindfulness is not just a series of granular tools or techniques to calm the mind so we can de-stress.

Mindfulness is learning the art of staying present in every moment so that our right brains (creative minds) can freely give 100% attention to any given task; as opposed to our left brains (logical minds) trying to juggle 50 ideas and doing none of them very well.

Mindfulness training therefore is about creative focus and how we can oscillate appropriately between our right and left brains to live a rich, balanced and happy life.

Here are my top 5 mindfulness training ideas to help you get into the zone:

  1. Spend time meditating. 5 mins a day is ALL you need to start. You need to train your mind to focus on a landscape (I prefer creative visualisation meditations), a word, a theme, a mantra or your breath. This idea is to coach your mind to keep coming back to visual/feeling you are meditating on – even if you wander off a zillion times that’s ok and part of the practice – so eventually you can stay focussed for a long period of time. Meditating is critical for mindfulness.
  2. Creative hobbies. Do this when your children are doing theirs! Creative tasks like playing music, dancing, painting, cooking, gardening and so forth require your 100% attention and it’s hard to think about the future schedule when you are cracking out a tune on the guitar and keeping in rhythm with lyrics. Creative hobbies engage your mind and they need to be enjoyable and fun. Don’t paint if you don’t like it!
  3. The Filing Cabinet. A great little technique to tell that crazy brain to shut down for the day! Your left brain will think about life, work, challenges or admin long after you want it to. I did a recent mindfulness training Sydney class whereby I asked clients to draw their most creative version of a kick ass filing cabinet and at the end of their day – stuff all of their “to do” items in it – lock it up (metaphorically) and pocket the key. Knowing that you can always open it up again the next day and pick up where you left off. It’s a great way of clearing out your head.
  4. Engage your physical senses. A big part of mindfulness training is to stay present in your body; that means to feel all of your physical senses connected to sight, sound, smells, touch and taste. You would be surprised how this exercise can suddenly bring you back from a panic attack or a stressed space. Try massaging your feet or slowly chewing your food. Stop and sense the wind on your face, the sun on your head and the sounds you can hear. This is probably the quickest way you can “ground” yourself which means to come back into your body and be mindful of everything going on around you
  5. Take deep breaths. Your rate of breathing controls how calm and balanced you are (hence how mindful you can possibly be). Shallow quick breathing sends messages to the body and brain that you are under stress. Of course it is a mind body loop because when you are stressed the first thing you tend to do is take shorter and quicker breaths! Practice slow and deep breathing regularly so you feel what it is like to have this flowing even life force. Maybe try to do this in peaceful times so that when you do feel stressed, you can easily apply the technique to bring you back to a mindful state.

Want more ways to implement mindfulness? Click here for more information.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Wonderful tips to think about – thanks heaps!

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  • That sounds difficult, to become mindful. I’ve tried meditation and no matter how hard i try I can’t sit do nothing and think nothing. If I get a quiet moment, I find myself thinking of what to have fir tea tonight or what I need to add to the shopping list :/

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  • Getting creative is great for exercising the brain too.

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  • I’m trying to ‘live in the moment’ and gauge how I’m really feeling rather than doing everything by rote.

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  • I think creativity helps to unlock our souls in a way other activities can’t. I love crafting though so I could be biased!

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  • I also love christmas as i do not see enough of my family during the year, that is my meditation over christmas.

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  • Also trust yourself and follow your own intuition. Allowing yourself to do this connects you with your senses.

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  • I DO YOGA AND MEDITATION EVERY DAY AND IT TRUELY WORKS

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  • i had a great christmas. this is a great article

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  • great tips

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  • Christmas is what you make it, I always went overboard, however ill health with both my husband and myself put a stop to this, we now have a very simple lunch with just my Husband and my 2 adult single sons, we have all he trimmings but just what we want, gifts to the grandchildren are cards with money, which as they are all primary age they love and actually budget for, we do this for their birthdays and easter as well and they have come to expect their money 3 times a year. We do not buy gifts for each other, this year we have had our roof capping on our home redone and we are having some ceiling fans installed, we do things for us!! Our christmas’s are so much less stressful, we do it at our own pace and we actually enjoy it, we see people we love and spend time with each other and our furchildren, I think that we put to much pressure on ourselves to perform and provide an over the top Christmas when it is not needed and a fun, enjoyable christmas can be had by just enjoying the company of loved ones.

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  • Arr with a deep breath …thanks for the tips. and Seasons Greetings!

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  • Whilst my yoga has finished up for the year, I’m still mindful of the need for me to have some quiet me time. I will opt for reading a book in a quiet place, or practicing some yoga in my own space.

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  • Any tips for a less chaotic festive season are ALWAYS welcome!!

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  • Strange really, how as women we pride ourselves in our ability to multi-task
    Unlike or men-folk who strategize by saying “do one thing at a time is all I ask”
    Mindfulness, centres me, and I can attain a sense of achievement and calm
    The sounds of nature distress me, like a warming, sensible balm.

    Reply

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