How to make your meditation habit stick
You know you should give meditation a go, it’s right there on your to-do list. You’ve downloaded the app and even squeezed in a session but, well, life got in the way. Being sleep-deprived (for years) doesn’t make setting the alarm for early morning meditation very appealing and at the end of a long day it doesn’t it just feel easier to flop in the couch and watch some bad TV instead? So, here’s the question: as busy parents who need some meditation in our lives, where do we find the time and how do we make the habit stick? Melissa, a mum of two, yoga and meditation teacher and owner of Big Love Yoga shares 7 helpful tips to make your meditation habit stick.
HOOD MAMA SPECIAL: A 12-minute online guided meditation by Melissa (owner of Big Love Yoga). Download it now and start making meditation a habit.
Created by Melissa of Big Love Yoga.
Get clear on your why
There’s enough information around these days for most of us to know why we should give meditation a go. As parents, improved sleep, better decision-making and the ability to remain cool, calm and collected when the proverbial hits the fan are all compelling reasons to give it a go. The first step in building your meditation habit is to get clear on your motivation. Do you need help winding down before bed or perhaps you want to yell less at your kids? Once you’ve nailed your ‘why’ you’ll find it easier to stay focused. Make sure you track the impact meditation is having on your desired outcome over time - it will be easier to stick to your practice if you take note of how it’s working.
Set yourself a realistic goal
It takes time to build any habit so commit to a set period to lay your foundations. Headspace offers a free 10-day trial and 1 Giant Mind includes a 30-day challenge after the initial 12 sessions to keep you on track. If meditation is new for you, you’ll need this time to familiarise yourself with the basics. Sticking to the same meditation or technique during this initial period is a great way to settle in. Be realistic with your expectations – if ten minutes seems a scary amount of time to sit for, start with two minutes. There’s no magic number and getting started is the most important thing.
Build a routine
Where possible, creating a clear routine is a great idea. Meditating at the same time or place each day can really help. Of course, this often isn’t possible as a new parent when you’re at the mercy of little people and their inconsistencies. In this case, create some cues for yourself that trigger the brain to be ready for meditation whenever you can make it happen; find a nice spot in your home, use some essential oils or play your favourite classical music, whatever floats your boat. Creating ritual around the act of meditating gets your brain into gear and ready to focus.
Break the rules
There’s lots of misinformation out there about how you should meditate. In fact, there are no fixed rules and you can’t do it wrong. You don’t need to sit still, you don’t have to stop thinking and you don’t need to do it every day for a fixed amount of time. For more information on how to meditate without the rules visit bigloveyoga.com.au/break-the-rules.
Treat yo’ self
Your post-meditation glow can be an intrinsic reward but adding an incentive can help you stay at it. You don’t need to pick something big or expensive. Often the simple act of ticking off a calendar can do the trick. It’s not a big deal but marking off each day will still give you a sense of accomplishment that can go a long way. Seeing those days bank up is great motivation to stick with it. After a month or two, go all out and do something nice for yourself.
When you finish a meditation session, set the scene for the next day so it’s easy to do it again. Decide exactly what meditation you’re going to do and have it ready on your phone or computer so when you sit down the next day, there’s less chance of ‘accidentally’ opening Instagram and losing twenty minutes before you’ve even begun.
Cut yourself some slack
There’s going to be days that get away from you. Instead of beating yourself up just jump back in and keep moving. On days that an uninterrupted meditation just isn’t going to happen, use moments throughout the day to check in with yourself by taking ten slow breaths. You can make this easier for yourself by creating triggers through the day; pouring the kettle, closing the front door or even going to the bathroom. Anything you do 2 – 5 times a day is perfect. As parents, sometimes we just have to take what we can get until there’s another window of opportunity.
ABOUT BIG LOVE YOGA
Big Love Yoga supports new parents through yoga and meditation. We offer workshops, private sessions and online resources to give you the tools you need to manage the stress, big emotions and physical demands of parenthood. Our approach is no-fuss and practical. Everyone is welcome and no yoga or meditation experience is required.
Biz owner: Melissa
Favourite café: Piccolo, Williamstown.
Coffee order: Soy piccolo and 2 babycinos
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