How to Fit Meditation into Your Hectic Schedule

When life is crazy, use these six tips to try slowing it down rather than speeding it up.

It’s tough to slow down. Even thinking about adding one more thing to your long list of things to do is tiring.

However, incorporating meditation into your life can actually help you feel less hectic and more charged to go about your day. Below are a few tips you can use to incorporate meditation easily into your life.

Right When You Get Up

This one is pretty easy. When you feel like you have no time during the day to meditate and relax the mind, why not do it right when you wake up, before your day has even started? You can literally just sit up in bed, so you don’t have to go buy a yoga mat or a block to sit on. Just make sure not to fall back asleep—you don’t want to associate sleep with meditation, which is why mediating right before sleep isn’t always a good thing.

Setting the tone for your day at a relaxed pace will put you in the mindset of a peaceful koala or sloth; you’ll be moving slower, but accomplishing more, and that hectic life won’t be so fast paced anymore. Think the word active rather than hectic—you’re being active doing meditation.

Daily Activities

Ever heard of a warm shower? Hell yes, you can absolutely mediate while taking a shower, and mediating while having warm water fall on you is very practical, since most people take showers every day. Learn to take deep breaths and close your eyes as you wash the suds out of your hair. Plus, consider the benefits of meditating in the shower—with your eyes closed, you won’t have to worry about getting soap in those pretty peepers.

Image via Greatist

Another daily activity to do while meditating are chores. Good ol’ chores, the classic staple of stress for many people. So, add some relaxing breaths, and maybe a few chants if you’re into that kind of thing (om, anyone?), to a boring and anxiety-inducing activity to spice things up. One way to meditate while doing chores is to count your breaths as you perform a repeated action, so breathe in and out every time you put a dish in the washer or every time you fold a piece of clothing until you leave your body and become more centered in your mind. Voila—you’re mediating.

Use walking as another daily activity to put to your advantage and gain some more meditation time. It’s not like you have to go on a designated walk with your hiking boots and canteen; you can meditate as you walk while moving to your car or meandering to your class.

Do It as a Family

If you have kids or really demanding parents that expect you to spend time with them every minute, then spend some of that time meditating together. Meditating can help the antsy youngsters calm down before going to sleep or help wake them up for school; this way, you can spend time with your children as well as spend time on your own mind, i.e., your sanity. If you love doing things with your parents but you, Mom and Dad aren’t active enough to want to exert a lot of physical energy, then just focus on mental energy.

If you like to exercise, then incorporating it with meditation can be even better and is something you can also do as a family. Yoga is a great type of exercise to fuse with meditation since yoga is all about centering the mind with the body. Ya’ll will be finding your inner om in no time.

Join a Workshop

Many yoga studios will have the occasional class or workshop where meditation is the focus rather than physical activity. It can be challenging to attend a meditation class every day, so picking a time to go on a special occasion, like New Year’s—you make all your resolutions to actually do some damn meditation—can be more encouraging since you know it is a onetime deal.

Image via The Art of Living Foundation

This way, if you’re iffy about meditating, then you can get exposure to the relaxing practice in a class with a professional who can guide you; after the class, you’ll know if you want to attend another one or practice by yourself.

Meditation Apps

Trying to squeeze meditation into your life can be a real pain, but with the use of meditation apps, you have a platform to practice the routine in the comfort of your own home or at work and school. Headspace is a great app for people learning how to meditate, as they offer sessions ranging from ten minutes to twenty minutes which can be easily applied to daily life. They also map your progress to keep you more motivated. Another app is Calm, which offers sessions ranging from three to twenty-five minutes. The apps are designed to give practical guided meditations for people on the go.

If apps aren’t really your thing, you can also use a sound cue for meditation. Pick a sound you hear every day and decide to meditate for a few minutes every time you hear it. Of course, don’t pick a sound you hear when you’re right in the middle of a class discussion or a work meeting. Meditation is great to infuse in your life, but there is still a time and place for it, and zoning out during class isn’t very practical.

The sound could be the noise of the coffee maker brewing in the morning or the sound of your phone dinging with an incoming text message. If a particular sound isn’t to your liking, you can always choose a specific song that you love to listen to every day. You can decide how many sounds you want to choose to ease you into a meditative state.

Take It Slow

If apps and meditation classes seem too much, then just start with slowing your breath down for a minute each day; the next day, add another minute and then another for the following day until you can easily meditate for five minutes and so on. It takes effort to get started, so if you feel like picking a specific time and date on a calendar isn’t working because every time you sit down to meditate, the kids come asking questions or the dog starts barking, then don’t make excuses and start meditating wherever you’re standing or sitting. If you say, “I want to start meditating,” then go do it, because otherwise you never will.

Meditation can be really tough until you get started, but once you do, you’ll reap all the amazing benefits of it and your crazy, hectic life won’t be so crazy and hectic anymore.

Megan Schnese, University of Alaska, Anchorage

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Megan Schnese

University of Alaska, Anchorage

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