If you live with depression you live in the past.
If you have anxiety you live in the future.
Somewhere in the middle is the present and to keep yourself here is easier said than done.
These crazy days of being at home with our ever-present loved ones are very precious indeed. They are also are the days when you’re likely to be frazzled and they instinctively know how to dry-hump your last remaining nerve. The only mantra you can muster is, “Let mummy drink her coffee!”
Right now is a time we should be looking after our own mental health, but more likely we are busy being the provider of snacks, performing the role of a reluctant (and questionable) teacher, appearing fascinated when regaled with tales of YouTuber’s latest antics and generally taking care of everyone around us as best we can.
The art of taking time for yourself is often way down on the list of priorities. These moments where you aren’t daughter, mum, wife or friend and you’re just you, can recharge and reset you and its not optional, its vital.
Ideally, you’d get the nanny to watch the children as you head out, yoga mat in hand to some picturesque mountain top where you can have some alone time. Realistically, sticking Netflix on (assuming you’ve not already turned it on) and throwing them a Dairylea Dunker as you slink into the garden or bathroom for five minutes peace is probably more achievable.
I used to think meditation was a thing that other people did. A mysterious and ethereal practice for people who had trained in the art of self-awareness, had a centred understanding of their own psyche and washboard abs. No! Well, yes it is for those irritating people, but meditation is for everyone and we all do it daily to greater and lesser extents.
I went to a meditation class with my friend recently and we were both eager to finally discover the secrets of this ancient spiritual state. Turns out its just sitting still. Being quiet and sitting still is a massive portion of what it takes to meditate.
I must admit, there is much more to it, I’m being flippant. Bowls that make lovely noises and have healing vibrations. Places that guided meditation can take you can feel emotionally overwhelming and with someone’s voice to focus on it does stop the intrusive thoughts of bills you need to pay and shopping lists from creeping into your happy place.
Winding down to fall asleep is a lot like meditation and most people do this instinctively throughout the day too in snatched moments of calm. It’s all about re-cantering our thoughts and the way we meditate looks different for everyone.
For me, it is about taking a pause. If I feel overwhelmed, ratty or generally wound up I know I have to put my phone down and maybe take the dog out for a walk.
We bumble through life suppressing lots of things, batting away the less important things that can wait as we are plate-spinning and trying to get everything done that feels more important.
Take a pause. Just a little one. Be in the present.
Hear the birds singing or the washer humming. Take deep breaths in and feel your chest expand as you take in the smell of the grass. Close your eyes. Let your shoulders drop and release the tension you probably didn’t realise you were holding onto. It’s about connecting with your senses again and noticing the little things. The little things that are always there, calmly making up the background of our world that we can easily overlook. Feel things and notice things, paying them closer attention because they’re beautiful.
We maybe don’t have a spare hour or two to sit on an ornate rug (some days, a wee in peace is impossible, I hear ya) but we can all stop what we are doing once in a while to spend a few minutes with ourselves to recharge our awesome with Micro Mama Meditation.
Footnote - i thought you may enjoy a shot of me doing my daily yoga practice... firmly rooted in reality with zero chill. Me, in the kitchen with the washing machine going, the kids laughing and the dog trying to convince someone she hasn’t already been fed. Namaste, bitches!