Self care is important for everyone, but mompreneurs might just need it the most. Taking care of a business and a baby means that you often put yourself in third place.
Working from home can turn 9-5 into awake-asleep, and ignoring your needs can lead to increased stress and, eventually, burn out.
What can you do to change your mindset, relieve stress, and carve out that much needed “you time” each day in order to keep some level of mompreneur sanity?
I’ve been working from home with my daughter since she was 10 weeks old. I worked full-time remote hours until she was nine months old, then struck out on my own and started my business. I was able to downgrade my hours to 3-4 per day while maintaining my client load and increasing my income. This was important to me because I consider myself a full-time mother and part-time freelancer. Of course, it took work to get to this place.
An important part of my day is my morning routine. I wake up 30-60 minutes before my daughter so I can practice self care. My routine includes stretching, journaling, reading something informational or inspirational, and meditation.
I meditate for 10-20 minutes in the morning and another 10-20 minutes in the afternoon during my daughter’s nap. This 20-40 minutes of meditation per day is a big part of how I stay sane, positive, and engaged while working from home with a two-year-old, and it’s made a huge difference both my professional and personal life.
Benefits of meditation
Meditation has many proven benefits. It relieves anxiety and depression, improves concentration, boosts empathy, and increases well-being. It can literally change the structure of your brain.
My meditation practice is the only time during the day that I’m aware of my breathing! It’s my chance to slow down, relax, and pay attention to my body. It quiets my mind and helps me appreciate the moment.
Since I started regularly meditating two years ago, I’ve noticed an increase in patience, an overall feeling of calm in most situations, and a more intense focus on my goals. Meditating helps keep my mind from wandering into dangerous territory.
How to get started
The great thing about meditation is that you don’t need anything to do it. Standard meditation involves sitting in a comfortable position, either on a chair or on the floor, and focusing on your breath going in and out of your body. As you breathe, let thoughts pass through your mind like clouds in the sky.
I prefer guided meditation. In guided meditation, someone walks you through a session. They tell you what to picture and when to breathe in and out. One of favorite meditations involves imagining that I’m sitting on a mountaintop and seeing blue sky all around me.
There are quite a few great apps for meditation. My recommendation is the Stop, Breathe, & Think app. It is free (with purchase options available in the app) and has many different meditations. The app gamifies meditation by rewarding you with stickers when you’re reached certain goals like meditating twice in one day, completing a streak of two days, or trying a new track.
(Editor’s note: We love the Calm app, as well!)
Oprah and Deepak Chopra offer a free, 21-day guided meditation series every few months. These are great series and they are perfect for everyone, no matter your experience level. Each series focuses on a specific topic and can help you make major mental progress in that area.
Making it work
Of course, even if you build the perfect schedule, the best laid plans often don’t work out...especially when a tiny person dictates your schedule. Some days, my daughter gets up at an ungodly hour or I intentionally sleep in and I don’t have time for my morning meditation. Other times, my daughter refuses an afternoon nap and my practice is thwarted yet again.
When this happens, I have my daughter sit with me on the floor and do deep breaths. She is a bit too young to close her eyes and sit quietly for more than 10 seconds, but she does enjoy doing big breaths while lifting her arms above her head. Since she was about 18 months old, I’ve told her to take breaths when she’s been upset or angry. You don’t have to be a child to feel the benefits. Try it, it works!
Meditation has been a huge benefit to me both personally and professionally. As a mompreneur, it’s essential that I show my daughter that I am just as important as my business. I’m proud to demonstrate the importance of taking time for self care. I’m also happy to pass along these coping strategies before her life gets stressful.
My challenge to you: Take five minutes and try meditating today. I bet you’ll notice an immediate difference in the way you feel.
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- How Meditation Helps Maintain My Mompreneur Sanity - December 7, 2016