As a busy mom, a business owner, and a yoga and meditation instructor, I find that I am always aware that I could and should be more present with my kids and family. Juggling parenthood and owning a business, I find that I am often thinking about the next thing that needs to be done or trying to multitask instead of being present in this moment.
This moment is all we have. The past is in the past and the future is not guaranteed.
I also know that being more present makes you a happier person. So I decided that being present more often was something I really needed to start practicing.
Take note that being present is just that, it is a practice.
It is never perfect. There is no total balance and some days will be more focused on business or work and some days will be more kids and family focused. That is normal and just part of life.
We should also never be hard on ourselves when we think we did poorly on being present. When we practice something often, we will get better at it.
Just being aware that you mentally checkout is great, because you have an awareness of it and tomorrow you can strive to be better. Simply, notice the pitfalls you fell into today and try to make tomorrow a little better.
Working toward being present is not something that we should ever feel guilty about if we have an off day. We definitely do not need another thing to feel guilty for not doing.
Benefits of being present:
- Clarity and increased ability to focus
- Ability to not let things that do not really matter get to you
- Reduced anxiety
- Deeper connection to others
- Increased satisfaction and happiness
There are 3 things that I have shifted and practice regularly to ensure that I am more present in my life. They are small, but so far they have created big shifts and had a big impact on both how I feel and how my children respond to me. I feel like it has strengthened our relationships.
#1 Move more
Making movement a priority is a big part of being more present. When we take time to move, we release endorphins, we feel better about ourselves, and it increases our ability to focus. Actually taking time out of your schedule to move your body will make you more productive and focused! That means by making movement a priority you are able to actually get more done in a timely manner. It helps take some stress off your plate that way AND it also literally makes you less stressed.
When we do not have that extra stress on our shoulders we are less likely to snap at our kids, we are more focused, and can therefore be more present.
So schedule time in your day to move your body.
Even just 15-20 minutes can make a big difference. As can something as simple as getting outside and taking a walk. A bonus here is that we are also setting good examples for our tiny humans. Teach them that movement is important and that it can help you feel your best.
#2 Reduce screen time and distractions
This one is huge and also really hard for me. I am pretty sure I am addicted to my phone. Our kids see us on our phones far too much. I don’t want my kids to be on their media very much, so I also have to not be on mine very much. Lead by example right? Easier said than done.
These hacks have worked pretty well for me so far:
Setting timers in my phone settings for social media. Meaning after I hit my 30 minutes that I have allotted myself, my phone will block all social media apps. When I open them I will have the option of adding 5 more minutes, closing the app or turning off the reminder all together.
This feature is a good way to keep you in check. These apps were made to ensure you spend the most amount of time on them as possible. And we all know how easy it is to mindless scroll and find that 20 minutes has passed.
Looking at weekly insights on phone usages. Your phone can track and tell you what your weekly and daily screen time is. And honestly, if we end up with 2 hours of screen time a day, think of what else you could have done with all that time!
Put my phone away. I leave my phone in the other room as much as possible. Yes, I have an Apple Watch so I can see texts come through and get phone calls so I don’t have to worry that I am missing anything important. But it helps keep it out of my hands and keep me more present.
#3 Create a schedule
For business and for life, schedules can be really helpful. I try to create a weekly schedule where I batch tasks. For example I know every Thursday I record content for my business and every Friday I make a list of what I accomplished this week and what my to do’s and goals are for the upcoming week. This also helps me know what Monday looks like for me.
So by the time it is time for me to be with my kids I have cleared some space in my brain and am not worried that I missed something at work, or that I still have emails to respond to. Therefore, I can be more present.
What does being more present look like?
I heard a story from a client and she said her daughter was telling her a story and while her daughter was talking, she was multitasking and doing some work stuff on her phone. When her daughter was done speaking she looked up from her phone and smiled at her daughter, she had actually been smiling the whole time. Her daughter looked at her distraught and said,
“Mom, why are you smiling? That was not a happy story.”
My client felt terrible when she realized she was not even listening. By multitasking, she was not doing anything well (and just a side note, studies show that multitasking is actually counterproductive and we literally do not do anything well when we multitask). She then made huge efforts to stop multitasking and improve her skills at being more present.
Being present is truly listening, and being in this moment.
It connects you on a deeper level to your kids, your family, and yourself. Being present increases your quality of life. It will make you, and those close to you, happier. What mama does not want that?
I hope that you begin your practice toward living more in this present moment, the only moments we really have.