On fitting meditation into your busy schedule
On Friday, I posted my interview with Barbara Wilkinson, a renowned mindfulness meditation practitioner and teacher. I asked a number of questions about the practice of mindfulness and Barbara’s personal journey with the practice. This experience allowed me to gain an even deeper understanding of mindfulness, which I will be forever grateful for.
Yet, even though I firmly believe in the practice, I still find it difficult to fit it in. Trying to meditate in the early morning is nice, but garnering the motivation to get out of bed or staying awake remain to be the greatest challenges.
Making time after work can also be difficult. If you have children, this time is likely impossible unless you leave work early and/or close your office door around 4 o’clock to squeeze in a 30 minute meditation. Neither the former or the latter will work if you have a prickly boss. You could sell it to the higher-ups as a necessary and useful break to help you regain focus and energy for work assignments. And you wouldn’t be lying – meditation truly does help to refocus and realign (I can send you the research, just ask). Or you could use your lunch break to squeeze in a 15 minute session. But, I totally understand how giving up your lunch or taking time away from work can be somewhat impossible. Maybe just give it a shot for a week and see what happens.
Nighttime seems to be the best time for most individuals, but again, there are some challenges (e.g. staying awake). While meditation will help you relax and thus, sleep better, this is not its purpose. In fact, it is quite the opposite; the main focus of the practice is to become more “awake” to the present moment. Not in the literal sense, as you are likely already awake, but in the metaphorical.
It seems that there is no perfect time of day to meditate. And there really isn’t. There is always going to be something that gets in the way and steers you away from taking 15 or 30 minutes for yourself. And I must be honest, I am guilty of finding another and “better” task to fill my time. Yes, another task. Like most others, I am always trying to get something accomplished – a blog post, a book, dinner, cleaning, grocery shopping, coffee drinking, showering, running, zumba-ing. I seem to always find the perfect excuse as to why I cannot meditate. And guess what, I’m getting more and more stressed out. My skin is acting up, my blood pressure is up, and I am not sleeping as well. Go figure.
So over the next week (small steps), I am going to meditate everyday. I am going to make a point of getting up early, or finding a quiet room at lunch, or finding an hour in the evening for myself. My goal is to do a body scan each day, but I will forgive myself (no judgement, remember) if I can only fit in a 20 minute Mountain meditation. I will record how I am feeling pre- and post-meditation and report back. Perhaps you could do the same?