6 Tips to Mindfulness in Family Activities
Mindfulness is a wonderful practice and a buzzword that is bandied around constantly at the moment. And yes It is easy to find mindful moments while out for a walk, or sitting still, or on your yoga mat. But what about those times when you are in the midst of activity and surrounded by people you may not often feel mindful in the company of? I am talking about your family. Have you just found yourself spending more time at home with your partner/spouse/children and how do you be mindful during normal everyday, sometimes noisy, family activities? Is it possible for family activities such as cooking, playing, cleaning or homework to be peaceful, happy and mindful moments in your day?
Here are 6 tips to assist you with bringing mindfulness into your everyday family activities. 1. Take your time and cultivate patience. Rushing any activity will always lead to stress, arguments and (in my case) usually a breakage/clumsy drop or forgetting something. Be aware of how much time you have and use all of that time. It is a fact that the more you rush, the less you get done. So if you are preparing tea, baking with your children, take time. Allow a little extra tim; usually about 50% more of the expected time is about right. I promise you, more will get done, in the same amount of time. By allowing for time, your patience will not be tested and you can accept little hiccups that may occur. So take your time and cultivate patience. 2. Be Playful. Play is the ultimate source of creativity. I taught my son how to change a duvet cover. He (obviously) climbed inside and played as a ghost. If you are abiding by tip number 1, you will have time for these gorgeous playful moments. It is in these moments that memories are made and you are present and mindful of your time together. When teaching your family to do mundane household chores, it needs to be fun, otherwise they will not want to do the chores again. Who wants to do boring jobs?? No one! Be playful, find the fun, it is all there for you. Be led by your children. Which takes us to…
3. Think Outside the Box. Doing things differently is FUN. Mindfulness within family activities is always going to be tested if you do things the same way over and over again. You will just go into autopilot. Again, be led by your children and family to do things differently. Find new ways. Allow your children and partner to express themselves freely within the family environment. 4. Breathe The Yogi inside of you can easily be tested during family activities, and when the self expression, playfulness and patience are wearing thin, the easiest way to bring you back into the present moment and a feeling of peace is to breathe. Five deep breaths, in and out through the nose, will be enough to stimulate the Vagus Nerve and have you feeling calmer. Remember, if you are not OK, your family won’t be, so look after your own peace of mind and health first. Self care is invaluable at times of stress, take that bubble bath, go for that walk, meditate but above all BREATHE. 5. Don’t worry about perfection There is no such thing. Routine, diet, screen time, blah blah. These are words constantly thrown about, with judgements piled on each. None of that matters. Every family finds their own way, their own routines. When my son’s school closed, I became concerned about routine, and trying to get him to stick to the timetable as much as possible. Then I realised that I am not meant to be his school teacher. He doesn’t see me as his school teacher. His home is not his school. He is currently dealing with other issues such as being cut off from friends and family, why add to his stresses by trying to be his teacher. And so we found our own timetable, it is much more fun and relaxed and we still get school work done. Find what works for you, not what someone else does, 6. Talk and Be Silent Yes they both matter. Keep communication open. To be mindful of each other and how you are feeling is only possible with open communication. Whether an activity is enjoyable, or could be done differently all needs to be discussed, and therefore talk. Talk about worries, as well as joyful things. Equally give each other space and respect each other's need for silence. Whilst out on a walk, you may chat, or fall into silence. Both are perfect. The Value of Family Time However you spend your time together, as a family, these are some of the most precious moments you will EVER have. Your children are young for such a small amount of time and moments together, no matter how small, need to be valued, loved and respected. To be mindful during these activities will cement them to the memory bank and ‘slow down’ time. I send you love. ‘What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.’ - Mother Teresa