Life with kids is often chaotic and overwhelming. And noisy. So very, very noisy. It can be hard to get a minute of peace without someone needing something.
Then in those rare moments when they are all occupied, we usually turn to our to do list – the mountains of washing, the bills to pay, the meals to plan. Not to mention paid work, non-paid work, relationships to attend to and any other commitments we might have.
It’s no wonder then that many of us have trouble zoning out and truly being alone. Often we will resort to music, the TV, social media or games as a distraction when we do have any down time.
But what if we put down the phone, blocked out everything else and just let ourselves be completely silent for 5 minutes? It sounds like an indulgent luxury doesn’t it? Or some may see it as a waste of time.
However, research shows that even small periods of solitude and self-reflection can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression, helping us regain balance. Periods of silence have also been shown to help cardiovascular health and brain function. They are some pretty good reasons to enjoy some quiet time!
While meditation is an ideal way to spend a few quite minutes of mindfulness, it isn’t for everyone. I personally find if I try to meditate I fail miserably and end up thinking about what I am cooking for dinner or the email I forgot to send. Then I feel guilty for failing at meditation, which totally defeats the purpose of the whole exercise.
I find a good way to practice mindfulness is to have something to focus on. Here are some other simple ways to find solitude in your day:
- In the bath (or shower) relax and take deep breaths, focusing on how the water feels against your skin.
- Pop outside in the evening and do 5 minutes of star gazing.
- Pop outside during the day and do 5 minutes of cloud watching.
- Go for a short walk – even if it is just around your garden. Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!
- At night, get in bed a few minutes before your partner or in the morning stay in bed a few minutes longer, take some deep breaths and try to focus on relaxing your muscles.
By starting out with small moments of solitude we get more comfortable in our own space, with our own thoughts. Having quiet time to reflect and process what’s going on for us without the noise and distractions of life is extremely important for our mental, emotional and physical well being.