Once I realized that meditating wasn’t so much about the actual meditation itself and more about the benefits that happen behind the scenes, I knew that I needed to explore it for myself to see if it could help me in my mission to become a mostly calm mom.
It’s been a few years since I began exploring meditation and what I’ve learned in that time is that meditation is pretty awesome. It’s played a key part in calming my mind and has become a tool I turn to whenever I’m faced with the stresses of being a mother, wife, and homemaker (and as a woman in general).
If you’re a mom who has decided that you would like to give meditation a try (as a way to help you become a mostly calm mom, too) this blog post is for you. In this post, I’ll take you step-by-step through the meditation process. I’ll also share with you some things I’ve learned since I first started meditating in 2016 so that you can have a better idea of what to expect from your new meditation practice.
(If you just want to learn more about the benefits moms can get from meditating, check out my blog post about that here.)
I know your time is precious, and you have little time to research how to meditate, so I made sure to include in this post all the information you’ll need to get started, keeping it as short and straight-to-the-point as possible.
Ready? Here we go…
Step 1: Find a calm spot to meditate.
Obviously, you can’t 100% guarantee that your meditation session will be a disruptive free experience. (I mean, you don’t live in a monastery, right?)
But you can try to pick a – mostly – quiet time and place.
Ideally, you would meditate when your kids are asleep (early AM, nap time, bedtime) or your spouse or another person is available to watch them for a little bit. (If you have older kids that can help watch the younger ones, do that! My older two are always helping me with taking care of my youngest (one of the many perks of reaching that pre-teen/teen parenting stage)).
Next, pick a part of your home that is relatively clutter-free. This doesn’t mean you have to clean before you can meditate. All I’m saying is to be mindful of the space that you are going to sit in for this stress-reducing practice (mess can trigger feelings of stress for many of us, especially if you’re highly sensitive like me).
If at all possible, I highly recommend doing your meditation near a sunny window or taking your meditation outdoors (weather permitting). Unless you’ve kicked your family out of the house for some quiet (*smirk*). In that case, then you’ll want to stay inside.
No matter which room in your home you end up, sitting on a yoga mat, comfy floor cushions, or even a chair are all great places for your meditation.
(BONUS TIP: If you own a set of noise-canceling headphones, grab those! They work amazingly at creating a quiet environment by blocking out background noise. Just have regular ear-buds? No worries. Work with what you’ve got, mama!)
Step 2: Pick your meditation.
Guided meditations are perfect for beginners because they help you to focus on someone talking you through the process, making it less likely for your mind to spiral and lose focus.
In a guided meditation, you can expect the person speaking to visually guide you to an open field with a forest backdrop or a beach overlooking the ocean. Some guided meditations include a calm musical soundtrack, while others do not. Others may ask you to simply focus on your breath or ask you to chant a mantra.
(Side note: It will feel awkward at first – okay, maybe forever – to chant when you know other people in your house will probably hear you. I know, I know. Just do the chant anyway. Chanting stimulates the vagus nerve, which activates your parasympathetic nervous system – the one that tells the brain to calm down.)
When I was just starting out, I only used the free guided meditations found in the Calm App. But after a while of using that, my iPhone started getting hot whenever the app was open (probably just an unresolved bug in the program), so I uninstalled the app and relied on YouTube videos instead. Feel free to try downloading the Calm App or any other meditation app in the app store. I tried the Headspace app recently, just to see what it had, and I think it’s perfect for beginners.
To start, select a meditation that is 10 to 15 minutes. Over time, you can increase the meditation timeframe if you’d like, but in the beginning, I strongly discourage starting with anything longer than 15 minutes. For some, sitting for 10 or 15 minutes to meditate feels like an eternity – especially if you’re a mom who has never taken that much time for yourself before. That’s why I suggest starting with a shorter meditation.
However, if you’re not 100% new to meditation and you’ve done at least one 15-minute meditation and you felt like it ended too soon, then perhaps you’re ready to try something longer.
Step 3: Meditate.
Before you begin your first meditation, I want you to forget everything you thought meditation was about. No matter the meditation you pick, the point of meditating is not about stopping your thoughts.
You will not be able to stop thinking. It’s impossible to completely empty your thoughts.
Read this explanation I gave a woman who said she was discouraged with her own meditation experience:
Meditation does help with stress management, but not in the way people traditionally believe. Meditation isn’t about clearing your mind of thoughts. It’s about training your brain to focus and redirect attention away from the things we stress about to the present moment. The first few times, it will feel like nothing is working. But it is. If you’re willing to try again, just remember that if your mind wanders, don’t judge yourself for wandering. Just think “thank you for that” and return to the breath. The more often you do it, the less often your mind will wander BUT the benefits are mostly seen when you aren’t meditating because you’ll slowly find yourself reacting slower to stressful events and bouncing back faster.”
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that you might not feel anything happen during your meditation sessions and you might not feel any different immediately after.
And that’s totally okay! It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong or that meditation doesn’t work for you.
Meditation is about physical changes that happen in your mind and inside your body, things you cannot see and might not feel. (I say “might not feel” because I’ve done some meditations where I’ve literally felt sensations, such as twitching. If you experience them, too, just know that it’s normal and I’ve been told that it’s our body’s way of releasing unnecessary energy.)
Your nervous system is calming down during meditation and you may or may not notice, depending on if you’re someone sensitive enough to tell when you’re nerves are fried (I can totally tell). But, little by little, with each meditation practice you complete, you’ll get closer and closer to becoming a (mostly) calm mom.
And that’s it, mama! Meditation isn’t all that complicated.
- Step 1: Find a calm spot to meditate.
- Step 2: Pick your meditation.
- Step 3: Meditate.
The toughest part really is getting yourself to commit to actually practicing it.
How Often Should You Meditate?
I have yet to establish a daily meditation practice (that’s my goal for March), however, there have been plenty of stressful times in my life when I’ve practiced regularly.
As with most things, the more consistent you are, the sooner you’ll notice results. I’ve gone through periods where I’d practice meditation every day, not because I set out to do it every day, but because I felt like I needed it to help me cope with what I was dealing with emotionally. As soon as I felt like my emotional well-being was in a healthier state, I backed away from meditating, knowing full well that it is always there for me when I feel like I need it again.
But like I said before, I’m challenging myself this month to meditate every day, for at least 10 minutes.
The reason I’ve decided to try this is that I want to establish a habit of using meditation as a proactive tool rather than one I only turn to when I feel like I really need it.
Taking on this challenge is part of my overall goal for 2021, which is to keep my stress levels stable (versus having them fluctuate wildly throughout the year). So far, in order to achieve this, I’ve established a habit of daily yoga and journaling. And I’m holding myself accountable by tracking my habits.
If you’d like to take a 30-day meditation challenge, too, send me a DM on Instagram and let me know! I’ll check in with you from time to time to see how your meditation progress is going. And I’m always available to answer any other questions you might have about meditation that I might not have answered here.
Meditation Resources for Beginners
Before I send you off on your own to start meditating, I wanted to give you a few other resources for finding meditations that I didn’t mention earlier:
This is the app that I’m currently using for my 30-day meditation challenge. It has a 14-day free trial and then it’s $9.99 per month or you can pay for an annual subscription. I’ve gotten a head start on my meditation challenge (I started on Feb 25) so I’m still within my 14-day trial. I’ll likely continue with this program for my entire 30 days. So far, I’ve found the female voices in the meditations to be calming (it doesn’t sound like the same woman doing each meditation). There isn’t a musical soundtrack, but this app also includes a ton of other features like gratitude journaling, daily affirmations, yoga nidra (a deeply healing meditation practice), and community perks. I haven’t looked into everything within the app, but I will be digging around before my trial ends. I found out about them through their Instagram account here.
His YouTube channel has lots of guided sleep meditations with a musical soundtrack. This one is a great one I like using before bed when I’m feeling stressed: Guided Meditation For Anxiety & Stress Even though it’s a 30-minute video, it doesn’t feel like a traditional meditation since I’m laying down in bed, preparing to fall asleep when I do it. Give this one a try after you’ve completed a few shorter meditations first.
This app has lots of guided meditations by a wide range of different experts. Their meditations don’t have a musical soundtrack. I paid for their annual subscription because I participated in a 21-day challenge they had a few months back. I enjoyed the information they had in the app about stress. However, I’m not a big fan of meditations without musical soundtracks and I don’t find the voices of the experts to be calming enough.
Get your meditation on!
Alrighty, mama. That’s all I’ve got for you today. I hope this post helped you feel less anxious about trying meditation and that you now feel more prepared to give it a try. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or send me a DM over on Instagram.