You know this dilemma well – you’ve heard the amazing benefits of meditation and you really want to get started. The only problem is…you have zero time! With work commitments, family responsibilities, and just doing those everyday things like laundry, you probably wonder, how does anyone really find the time to sit still and do absolutely nothing? You may think you don’t time to meditate, but listed below are some helpful hints that have worked well for me to incorporate a more meditative lifestyle into my daily routine:
1 | Mindfully drink your tea/coffee in the morning
If you drink your morning drink in the car on the way to work, this one may not work for you! But if you do have time to sit and savor a warm beverage in the morning, it is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness. Notice the heat of the mug, the sensation of the warm liquid going down your throat and the aromas and tastes of the drink.
2 | Download the Insight Timer app
The Insight Timer app is awesome because it uses a very peaceful sounding bell to begin and end your meditation. The best part? You can set a timer for as short as a one minute meditation! Simply find a comfortable upright position, close or eyes or soften your gaze and focus on your breathing for 60 seconds. No matter how busy one is, I don’t think anyone can say they don’t have one minute to spare for their mental health!
3 | Read "One Moment Meditation"
If you don’t believe the positive effects of one minute of meditation, please read “One Moment Meditation.” This book is a game-changer! If I’m noticing stress or anxiety start to creep up but I’m short on time, I’ll find solitude in my car or in my office and do a very short meditation (using the techniques recommended in this book) and I feel notably more relaxed. Try it out!
4 | Use your lunch-break wisely
One day a week, commit to bringing your lunch outside with you and take a “mindfulness break.” Notice the sensations you are experiencing (i.e. the temperature and humidity of the air, ambient sounds, the taste and texture of your food, etc.) See if you can do this in complete silence. If you have time after eating, see if you can talk a “mindful walk,” focusing on the way the ground feels on your feet and how your body feels moving through space.
5 | Listen to Dharma talks
These talks can be listened to podcast-style in the car, while cooking, or during any other activity where you can divert some of your attention to what’s being said. Dharma talks will inspire you to incorporate a meditative mindset into your life, work and relationships.
6 | Play guided meditations before bed
Another way to gain the benefits of meditation without spending the extra time is to play guided meditations on YouTube while falling asleep. You will be lulled into a blissful state of relaxation just before drifting off to sleep. I find it a lovely way to turn off the ruminative thoughts of the day and focus on your much-needed rest and relaxation. My favorite meditation channels are The Honest Guys and Jason Stephenson.
7 | Bring the kids!
You may think that having children precludes you from living a meditative lifestyle. That is simply not the case! If you live in Los Angeles or Southern California, there are places like Deer Park Monastery, Shambhala Meditation Center and Wi Spa where you can get your meditation on in a kid-friendly environment. No more excuses! :)
I hope these tips are helpful to you! Getting started with meditation when you have a busy schedule and a never-ending to-do list can be daunting. Take it slow and be easy on yourself. Building a meditation practice takes time and there’s no “right” or “wrong” way of developing the habit. If you have any ideas of how to meditate while short on time, please leave your ideas in the comments below. Thank you!
about the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.