Simple Steps to Stay Centered Amidst the Chaos

Sh*t your yoga teacher says, “Begin to clear your mind….”

With end-of-year school parties, your own “getting ready for summer” - whatever that means, and maybe planning some sort of vacation - this time of year is BUSY. Finding time for yourself to drink your coffee in peace, or if you’ve got a full house maybe even finding time to pee can be a huge challenge. 

With ALL OF THAT going on, finding time for mindfulness can seem like another task on your to-do list and that particular item seems to always end up at the bottom of the list and becoming a “to-don’t.” Mindfulness isn’t a task, it’s about creating a practice that truly enhances your everyday life - and it’s good for you..ya know because science!!!!

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and engaged in the moment, it’s about being aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment. While meditation is a very popular mindfulness practice, it’s not the only one or the only way. You can create mindfulness through journaling, walking, eating, or even while you’re sitting at your work desk. The key here is consistency. You don’t need to meditate for 100 minutes to practice mindfulness. Try putting your phone away or actually eating at a table and not at your desk for lunch, so you can just focus on your lunch. Take a 10-minute afternoon walk or walk before you start the work day and get grounded, maybe even listen to one of those things called birds…they tweet…. 

Research shows that regular mindfulness practice has significant health benefits. According to a study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, mindfulness meditation has been found to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, neuroscientific research using MRI scans has demonstrated that mindfulness practices can lead to structural changes in the brain, particularly in areas associated with attention, emotional regulation, and self-awareness.

Once again, no one is asking you to sit for an hour and meditate, or better yet, “Clear your thoughts….”

The best way to practice integrating mindfulness into your daily schedule is to habit stack (check out James Clear’s Atomic Habits.) 

When I was dropping both kiddos off at school at the same time before going into the yoga studio I would:

  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier
  • Wash my face & put on a sheet mask/face mask and little under-eye patches
  • Grab my robe from my closet, sit down, and meditate for 10 minutes
  • Then head downstairs to start the chaos…

Since I now have two school drops and I’m not teaching at the studio in the mornings, I’ve been able to switch up my schedule to not wake up earlier, but I’ve added what I call “The Golden 25 Minutes”

  • I still wake up and do the whole face wash and mask thing, but now I wear my eye mask and face mask while I’m making breakfast and lunches
  • Get ready, then drop off 1 kid
  • For the next 25 minutes I:
    • Read 1 page or 1 day of an intention-based book
    • Mediate for 5 minutes
    • Use the remaining time to journal 
    • (If I have trouble or meditation doesn’t seem like a great idea for me that day, I skip it and use the extra time to brain dump.)
    • Take 2nd kid to school, get home, and then I can start working or workout

While yes, coming to the studio and practicing yoga is also a great way to practice mindfulness, practicing mindfulness when you aren’t feeling stressed or anxious is a great way to already have the habit in place for when times of stress and “busyness” are looming. By stacking habits, you already have the trigger to start the new habit (by using the habit you already have) and the reward of feeling great, clear, grounded, grateful, or whatever mindful term you want to use. 

I know since there will be no dropoffs during the summer (except for camps here and there) my schedule will have to change AGAIN, and when it does it’s important to not get frustrated but continue to incorporate my mindful practice with stacking habits and by doing what works. 

As summer approaches and routines inevitably shift, it's not about clinging tightly to a fixed practice but rather about continuing to integrate mindfulness in new ways that actually work with your schedule. The challenge is not in finding the perfect time for mindfulness but in recognizing and utilizing the opportunities and the possibilities within each day.

Try things like:

  • Floating in your pool for 10 minutes when your kids are at camp
  • No cell phones during mealtimes
  • Take a cold shower
  • Read 5 to 10 pages in a book
  • Journal when you have time
  • Here’s a good one: PLAY, adding the element of fun is also a great way to add some stress relief to your day! Maybe just spray your kids with the hose - both of you will have fun!

So, as you adjust to the summer's pace, keep mindfulness on your adapted schedule, not as a task, but as a vital part of your lifestyle. Remember, the goal is not to clear your mind completely but to create a space where mindfulness can grow, thrive, and sustain you through both the chaos and the calm. 

Be busy, but be mindful. 

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