Let’s be honest, life can get pretty busy… you might have a day-job to do, children to look after, pets to care for, a home to run, maybe even a business project on the side… and that’s before you’ve squeezed in a work-out, meeting friends and family and perhaps, maybe a little time to yourself?
No wonder most people’s first reaction to the idea of regular meditation is:
“I don’t have time for that!”
But here’s the thing, regular meditation can offer SO many benefits. It can help combat stress, improve physical health, ease chronic pain, help you sleep better, lift your mood and enable you to feel more peaceful and present in the moment. AND contrary to all that stuff you’ve probably read about 20 minute, 40 minute or even hour long meditations being the norm, there’s no limit, upper or lower on how long you need to meditate for. Just five minutes a day can make a difference.
So, if you’re keen to meditate, but struggle to make time for me-time, here are five ways to squeeze meditation into your busy day.
1. Start seeing meditation as a treat rather than a chore
Rather than treating meditation as another thing to cross off your to-do list, try and view it as a special treat… something just for you. ‘Fitting something in’ feels like a chore, whereas ‘planning a treat’ is something to look forward to. This simple mindset shift will help you to feel much more protective over your meditation time. You can make meditation a real treat by creating positive environment in which to practice, set aside a little space in your home and filling with things that give you pleasure: candles, incense or perhaps fresh flowers.
2. Set aside a specific time each day (IF that works for you)
When well-being website Well + Good asked seven busy women how they managed to fit meditation into their day, most of them revealed that they set aside time first thing in the morning or last thing at night to meditate. “I begin and end each day with it—for 11 minutes—whether it’s on a yoga mat or my bed, when I first wake up or just before I go to sleep,” said Denise Mari, Founder of Organic Avenue. Of course, that might not work for you, and if you prefer to be more flexible then…
3. Look for pockets of free-time
If you take a close look at your day, you’re bound to find a few small pockets of time that you can use to meditate, or simply sit quietly. Those first few minutes after you awake, the bus or metro ride to work, the walk during your lunch hour, even the first five minutes after you kiss your children goodnight and put them to bed. Close your eyes and enjoy a few moments of well-deserved me-time.
4. Start small
Learning how to quiet your mind and meditate deeply takes time and practice, so don’t put yourself under pressure to get it right straight away. Start small, sitting quietly for a few minutes, focusing on your breath as your chest rises and falls. As you get more comfortable, slowly extend your focus. One of my favourite meditations is a meditation of the senses, where you run through each of the senses in turn really tuning into each. It’s super simple to do and a great way to build up your meditation time without even trying. Here’s a min version of it for you to try…
5. Join a meditation group
If you really struggle to set aside time, try joining a local or online meditation group. Committing to a group practice will give you a set time and place for your meditation practice making it easier to schedule in to your busy day. You’ll have the benefit of support and advice from other group members as you begin your meditation journey and you might even make some amazing new friends too!
6. Download a free meditation app
Whilst in many cases our smartphones tend to steal time rather than give it back using a meditation app can be a great way to get started. Guided meditations take away the hard work, all you need to do is find a comfy spot and listen in! Plus many of the apps have extras such as calming nature noises, therapeutic music and even bedtime stories for grown ups! It’s a great way to get in a little healthy screen time. A few of my favourites are: Headspace. Calm, Insight Timer and Balance.