You want to start a meditation practice … but … you’re just too busy?
There are plenty of excuses for why you can’t meditate. These excuses are all valid because you have a busy life. But guess what? You still have time to meditate.
Everyone can find time to meditate. In fact the more you meditate the more time you feel like you have. Life becomes more expansive and less stressful.
Here are 13 ways you can squeeze a 15 minute meditation into your day, no matter how packed it is with to-dos. You can substitute with 10 minutes or five minutes if that’s all you have. Even one or two minutes of meditation each day can make a world of difference to your emotional and psychological wellbeing.
You may continue to think of another excuse, but there aren’t any good ones when you’re given permission to simplify and adjust meditation to your busy life.
Before you even get out of bed you can spend 15 minutes meditating, just breathing and being aware of the sounds around you. I used to listen to Louise Hayes tape (yes that’s how old I am) when I first woke in the mornings before getting out of bed. The focus was on being thankful for the day ahead. If you can get up and go to the loo and then sit for 15 minutes even better.
In the shower
Meditation for me doesn’t have to be a formal sitting type of meditation. Practicing mindfulness during daily activities is also a form of meditation. When in the shower you can really focus on the sensations of the water on your skin, the smell of the soap. Notice if you tend to lean on one leg more than the other and alternate your leaning leg. Close your eyes and really allow the experience to take hold. Letting all other thoughts of the day ahead stay on the periphery of your awareness.
On your commute to work
If you are lucky enough to catch a train or bus to work, close your eyes and pop in your headphones and listen to a guided meditation. Time the meditation so it fits with you finishing a few minutes before you arrive at your stop, that way you can totally relax.
Get an App
There are some cool smart phone apps out there that help schedule your meditations and keep you on track. Here are a few recommended apps for meditation on-the-go:
Spend your lunch break outside
If you can find a green patch of grass or a bit of blue sky you are blessed. See how many connections to nature you can see. You can do this whilst eating your lunch. Bring your whole present awareness to seeking out the sounds and sights of nature. When you are finished eating just sit for a few quiet minutes and absorb it all. Try not to be distracted by the pull of other people or traffic. Try not to label sounds as pleasant or unpleasant.
Take five Minutes, Three Times a Day
Still don’t think you have 15 minutes? I bet you have 5. If you sit for 5 minute (you can even set a timer so you don’t lose track of time) and focus on your breath: deep inhales and slow exhales, you will calm your mind and create a more peaceful state. Try to schedule three 5-minute windows throughout your day.
On the Loo
I’m not joking, depending on what you are doing of course. Sometimes if you work in a busy environment just going to sit on the loo when you don’t even have to go can give you some much needed time out, make the loo your sanctuary (Don’t eat lunch in there, always wash your hands, hee hee)
Put a post it note on your computer or work station somewhere that says, “remember to breathe”. Every time you look at this post it take 5 deep slow breathes and then resume work. Over a day that will definitely add up to 15 minutes and when you breathe deep and slow it activates the parasympathetic nervous system, rest and digest response, very soothing.
Mindful afternoon Tea
Taking the time to mindfully drink a cup of tea or warm glass of water with lemon is very therapeutic. Feel the warmth of the cup in your hand, smell the aroma, feel the cup against your lips noticing what’s happening in your mouth at the suggestion of drinking, then following as far as you can the warm liquid as you swallow, repeat.
During an afternoon walk
Walking has many benefits, whilst you are walking though watch your thoughts. Try not to engage with any thoughts, just allow them to come and go. You might like to try noting or labelling. So you might notice sounds, thoughts or emotions arising and you can say to yourself, car passing, thinking, sadness, happiness etc. Don’t add anything to the thought and don’t take anything away. Just allow them to be. You might like to picture leaving the thoughts behind on the ground or floating away like mist as you walk.
Whilst waiting to pick the kids up from school in the car
We all know you have to get there early to get a good park. Take these few minutes to focus on making your breathing smooth and deep. See if you can take all of the edges off the breath and make it a fluid movement. You may also be able to notice the breathe moving around your torso and into your back as you lean against the car seat. Deep, Slow, Breathing. Just one breathe and at a time, here, now, breathing. Then notice the interactions you have with your children after this practice.
Try to get the Family or Flatmates involved
When everyone gets home from work or school see if you can encourage people to lie down on the lounge room floor or outside if the weather permits for 15 minutes. No talking, just lying quietly. If you could do this just one day a week wouldn’t it be magic! (Good luck you’ll need it)
Listening to a progressive relaxation or yoga nidra is a beautiful way to prepare your body and mind for sleep. Releasing tension before you go to sleep ensures a deeper more restful slumber.
We can all relate to not having enough time in life, but the crazy thing is, we actually find we have more time when we meditate because we’re more productive. We live in a culture where we are constantly “running out of time,” or we are forced to “multi task”.
Don’t believe it, you have plenty of time as you can see to squeeze meditation into your busy schedule.
If you have some ideas on how to incorporate meditation into your daily life we’d love to hear them. You can add your comments below.
If you want to kick start your meditation practice join our Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism Retreat