How to Fit a Meditation Practice Into Your Already Packed Schedule

With headlines praising the benefits of meditation, you may be inspired to get your own practice going. But between the full-time job, the family and the household of responsibilities, how does anyone fit in 5 extra minutes to just sit there? And who wants to wake up at 5 a.m. to do this?

Well, you can fit it in, and you don’t have to wake up earlier to do so. With a little extra planning, you can squeeze in your moment to meditate without cramping your schedule at all.

5 Easy Options for Finding Time to Meditate

1. Instead of social media scrolling. We’ve all been there — flipping through our social feeds, mindlessly looking for anything to keep our attention. This is the perfect time to meditate! First, download Insight Timer on your phone. This free meditation app has both a timer and guided meditations that you can select based on your availability. So the next time you find yourself reaching for Facebook, click into Insight Timer instead, and immediately start your meditation. The trick here is not to hesitate. It takes only a split second to derail from the plan, sending you back into Facebook, and it’s a stream of silly cat memes.

2. While cooking dinner. A pot of water won’t start boiling for at least 15 minutes, and a chicken needs about 30 minutes to bake, making both these waiting times excellent opportunities to meditate. As soon as you turn the stove or oven on, go sit on your couch, and set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes. Remember, it takes practice to meditate so stick with it until the timer goes off. Then try again tomorrow.

3. Create a group sit. Similar to a book club where you gather with friends to discuss a book, why not start a meditation group to practice meditating? Once everyone arrives, you could begin by watching this Ted Talk on mindful meditation to get everyone on the same page. Have someone be in charge of the time, and make sure to go around the room afterwards to share your experiences. This not only brings accountability to your practice, but you also get to enjoy spending time with your friends!

4. On your dog walk. Who says you have to stay seated to meditate? Moving meditation, or walking meditation, is a full fledged thing — it works! Don’t worry so much about the time when you head out. Focus more on being present with your body and breath. You could also follow the lead of your dog. Animals live in the present 100 percent of the time.

5. After your workout. Since you’ve already scheduled in that time to exercise, how about extending it for 5 or 10 minutes? If that’s not do-able, then cut your workout a little short. A fit mind is just as important as a fit body.

When can you squeeze in time to meditate? Which one of these suggestions works with your life? —Elysha

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