Spa gift certificates, flowers, chocolates, jewelry, or a special brunch - these are the gifts we traditionally buy to express gratitude on Mother's Day. It is the holiday that reminds us to stop once out of an entire year and appreciate the world's toughest job.
When I work with mothers, often the toughest part of their job is not the juggling acts they must perform. The toughest part is that they often do their jobs without recognition, gratitude, or a well deserved break. So how can we continue showing them our gratitude through the rest of the year? By honoring our mothers mindfully.
Mindfulness is paying attention and being fully present in the current moment. Taking mindfulness into our daily lives is mindful living. When we place our sense of happiness on external circumstances, it can create temporary feelings of joy. Mindfulness helps us to look within to connect to a place of joy, rather than just counting on happiness from external circumstances.
How can we mindfully acknowledge Mom and help mothers feel appreciated throughout the year?
1. Compassion for Self
I repeat this discussion daily with my clients struggling with seeking balance in raising children and working. Self-care is not selfish, it is essential. When we give of ourselves from an empty vessel, we share only our anxieties and fears. When we give of ourselves from a full heart, we can share love, compassion, and hope. Self-care does not need to involve spending money or completely escaping our daily duties. In as little as 20 minutes daily, self-care entails engaging in activities that relax the senses: sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. This not only brings us to the present moment, but also reduces stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. By reducing stress hormone levels, mood and energy levels improve. Give Mom the gift of a 20 minute break for her to relax in the bathtub, listen to calming music while drinking tea, or spend alone time in the garden.
Like our vinyasa flow sequences on the yoga mat, we can try to take this flow into our daily lives with our families. How? By stopping to breathe and allowing whatever is going to unfold to occur. When we flow from a place of grace, we allow our schedules to unfold during the day. This helps to calm the feeling that our schedules are controlling us. Close your eyes, inhale deeply, exhale deeply, and repeat this 10 times. By shifting our breath, we can shift our mindset to be in the present moment and focus on the task at hand. Continue to flow through each moment of the day, one breath at a time instead of worrying about the day ahead. This will not only help to reduce our stress levels, but also help to refocus on the task at hand creating a better sense of time management.
3. Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude
When we stop to focus on what we are grateful for, our blessings multiply. Thankful people are not only happier, but are also healthier. Extend the gestures of gratitude beyond Mother's Day by creating a daily gratitude ritual in the home. It can be sharing a grateful moment in the car on the way to school, over the dinner table, or in gratitude journals before bedtime. Gratitude strengthens the bonds of families not only in good times, but also in the challenging times of crisis.
4. Disconnect to Reconnect
We often find ourselves rushing home from work to spend quality time with family, only to find that everyone is in their own corner of the home mindlessly staring at televisions, video games, or smartphones. Create a period of disconnecting from electronics in the home at least one hour before bedtime. It will not only provide quality time to connect with one another, but also improve the quality of everyone's sleep.
5. How Can I Be of Service?
Find the time once a day or even once a week to ask Mom, "how can I be of service?" Then listen with an open heart. When we ask this from an open heart, it helps to strengthen the bonds of a relationship by allowing Mom to know that we are also acknowledging her presence. It will reduce the feeling of Mom's nagging falling on deaf ears, and open an honest and loving communication to create more harmony in the household. Being of service may be as simple as sharing in chores in the household, making Mom her favorite cup of tea, or sharing a hug.
Romila "Dr. Romie" Mushtaq, MD is a traditionally trained neurologist with expertise in the field of mind-body medicine -- a branch of medicine that promotes the science behind mindfulness based techniques. Dr. Romie helps clients connect to inner peace despite life's external chaos as a physician, professional speaker and certified life coach with her Mindful Living Program.
Dr. Romie writes at www.brainbodybeauty.com, where you can sign up to join her mindful living community and learn how to conquer stress and boost brainpower. You can follow Dr. Romie on Twitter, Facebook and connect with her on LinkedIn. Her guided meditation CD, "Connect To Joy: Guided Meditation to Quiet the Mind" is now available on iTunes.