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3 Ways We’re Bringing Mindfulness Into Our Home

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Though I try not to make sweeping New Year's Resolutions that will be brushed aside by February, when I heard the idea of choosing a word of intention for the new year, I fell in love with it.

And one word kept coming to me over and over again, hitting me upside my overwhelmed head:

Mindfulness.

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By the end of 2014, our home didn't feel very mindful. Toys were scattered everywhere. The kids were watching hours of TV a day. My anxious mind raced even more than usual, skittering from worry to ideas to more worry: The kids are watching way too much TV. We should've baked Christmas cookies this year. Should we go to Disney in February?

Amidst the chaos in my head and home, I kept circling back to the word "mindful."

I looked around our house. I'd meant to declutter and make room for the onslaught of gifts, but I hadn't. It was time.

I decided to start with three ways of bringing more mindfulness into our home in 2015.

1. More yoga and more meditation

Everybody wins—or at least loosens their hamstrings a bit.

Even if it's three minutes each morning spent wrangling my monkey mind back to focusing on my breath, I'm going to make more time to meditate. It works. When I took an eight-week meditation class last summer, I was so much more serene. I don't fully understand why, but when I make time daily for yoga and/or meditation, I'm more present and able to remain calm for longer, even when my kids are freaking out. I'm hyper-aware that my kids are growing up quickly, and I want to be present for as much of the time I have with them as possible.

I'm also signing the kids up for a children's yoga class, which runs concurrently with an adult yoga class at the same studio. Everybody wins—or at least loosens their hamstrings a bit.

2. Decluttering

When we upsized our home a year ago, I forgot about the need for regular purging. It's a necessity for life with young children if I expect to maintain any semblance of order. Kids bring home so much stuff, from art projects and school paperwork to little plastic odds and ends from birthday party goodie bags. It's constant.

I reinvigorated our decluttering process by walking around the house with my 5-year-old, asking him if there were any toys he could pass on or throw away. To my surprise and delight, he allowed me to throw away several toys that no longer worked properly, and to pass on a few pieces of clothing and toys that he'd outgrown. There will be other knick-knacks that I will sneak out of the house while the kids are at school, but I was so proud that my son helped me declutter. I was also happy, after the toy orgy of Christmas, to teach him about passing on items to people who may need them more than we do.

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3. Cutting back on screen time

I'm embarrassed to tell you how much screen time my young children have been getting, but suffice it to say it's been more than the two-hour limit that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

Before having children, I imagined the crunchy little haven I'd create for them, free of sugar, disposable diapers and TV. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. My kids' fingerprints—and breathmarks—are all over my iPad. The other day, I heard the TV yawn from being on so much.

As for me, I'm on my iPhone far too often. Whether it's checking on work-related emails or exchanging texts with friends, I reach for my phone almost as often as I reach for my coffee cup. And that's A LOT. I'll be cutting down on my own screen time, especially while I'm with my kids.

The technology habit we've been allowing in our family is the opposite of mindful; it's mindless. And I can't help but think that whatever peaceful new neural pathways I'm creating with meditation are being cancelled out by my phone addiction.

Mindfulness is my word for 2015. What's yours?

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