You want to start a meditation practice, but you’re too busy. Perhaps you work full time, or your children need to get to day-care, you need to make breakfast (and dinner!), you are always running late, and you ALREADY have too much to do in the morning. All your excuses are valid because you have a busy life. I’ll bet you have other excuses I haven’t even mentioned yet. But the truth is, you still have time to meditate.
The first hurdle is, of course, to make it a priority. You would be surprised to learn how many very successful (and busy) people make time to meditate every day (I read that Oprah Winfrey sits in stillness 20 minutes twice a day). Sometimes, to hear “If they can do it, so can you” sounds almost shaming, so reframe any such thoughts to be reassuring. It really can be done, and it really does not have to feel overwhelming.
The best time for a busy person to meditate is as soon as you wake up. You may already have to wake up earlier than you want to but chances are you will not even notice getting up 5 or 10 minutes earlier and these few minutes will belong to you. Here’s all you need to do to get started, after you open your eyes:
- Get out of bed
- Take care of your bodily functions (pee, have a drink of water…)
Don’t even think about these steps; just do it. Get up, take care of your physical needs, sit down to meditate for 10 minutes. Five if you are an absolute beginner. Buy a kitchen timer, set it for the allotted time, and be with yourself for these first few minutes of the day. Once you feel good about it and it is part of your routine, you can increase the time.
You can also sneak in meditation breaks throughout your day.
Lunchtime can be a good time, either a few minutes before you eat or a few minutes after. It can be nourishing to eat your lunch slowly, quietly, and mindfully as part of a mindful exercise, and it is helpful to have something so concrete to focus on, such as chewing mindfully and being aware of the taste of your food. Try it for even a couple of minutes the next time you find yourself eating alone. You may discover that you are really tasting your food in a way that just isn’t possible when you are trying to eat, talk, text, or otherwise multi-tasking.
Immediately after work when you first get home can be a good time, and a lovely transition between work and home life. The key is consistency, even if it is only for a few minutes.
Actually scheduling a 10 minute meditation on your calendar can be the key for some people. If you meditate in the middle of your day, there are some wonderful aps to support you with this. They can be helpful is you need a little more focus. To name just a few:
- The Mindfulness App
- Insight Timer
With your marvellous creative mind, you can probably think of other moments when you can squeeze in a few minutes of meditation. We can all relate to the feeling of not having enough time, but meditation actually helps us to become more productive so is worth the small time commitment. We all face countless distraction all day long (I don’t have to list them!) and slowly building a meditation practice will increase your ability to focus on priorities and minimise these distractions. Please don’t worry about whether you are “doing it right”. Just do it.
(Please see Meditation page of this website, and/or previous posts on Meditation for more information).