It’s a word I’d heard bandied around lots in recent years and, to be honest, I was an eye-rolling sceptic.
But as a mum of two lovely young children who works full time, I find my mind is often a buzzing list of to dos from paying for school dinners to keeping up to speed in a job that is fast-paced to writing out our weekly meal planner.
And of course the worry that I’m perhaps not quite good enough at juggling it all.
Earlier this year, this to do list meant I was a regular member of the 3am club. Everyone in the house would be asleep and I’d be wide awake mulling over the things to be done. By the time I’d get back to sleep, it would be 5.30am and the children would be wide awake and the day would begin.
This meant that by late April, I was run down and poorly with a chest infection that was so bad my GP thought I had pneumonia (I didn’t, thankfully).
It was a wake up call that I needed something to change. About 18 months ago I’d tried the Headspace app. I got to two days and fell off the wagon. I didn’t have time for 10 minutes a day between washing uniforms, ironing and doing the food shop.
But after getting so run down I decided to make time. I sat down and committed to those 10 minutes. It wasn’t easy, but I prioritised it.
And something funny happened. Every weekday when I’m working I go for a walk at lunchtime to get moving after a morning at my desk. I walk the same route and have done so for well over a year.
But on day four, I started noticing things. The trees that dotted the route. The beautiful gardens I walk past. And the roses in these gardens.
That’s the biggest shift for me – noticing. Noticing the children’s smiles, soaking up their giggles and how peaceful they look when they sleep.
Noticing when my mind is wandering to start to do lists when I should be paying more attention to what’s happening now. And noticing the little things we can miss when caught up in our busyness.
I’m not going to pretend that I do the 10 minutes every day. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. But the strategies from mindfulness are there every day to remind me to pause and pay attention.
My mindful list
1. The Headspace app. I’ve found this an easy way to introduce mindfulness into my day.
2. Ruby Wax’s Frazzled book is an excellent insight into her experience of mindfulness and the science behind it. It convinced my cynical side to give mindfulness a go.
3. Mindfulness for mums by Yvette Jane. I bought this lovely book in a gorgeous independent book shop in Cowbridge one Sunday. Lots of lovely phrases to help you be a more mindful mum.
Have you tried mindfulness or are you planning to try it soon? I’d love to hear from you.