Fighting the 5 p.m. Drain
I wonder what would happen if I decided to meditate at 5 p.m. instead of having a glass of wine? What am I really needing at this time of day? These were the questions I began to ask myself when I was getting ready to transition to the last part of my day. The part of my day I dreaded, yet, the part of my day that was actually the most important as a mom.
As a mom, 5 p.m. was the time I needed to be present, have energy, and be engaged. It was the time of day for family, fun, reconnection with my children, helping them make sense of their day and recharging. However, despite how I desperately wanted to be present, I was so tired of pushing, just going through the motions. I began to feel drained, depleted and shutdown around 5 p.m. each day, no matter what kind of day I was having before 5 p.m., and I was not aware of the real reason why. I was struggling to get through the end of the day to get in bed so I could read my book and relax my mind. I know this time is difficult for all the obvious reasons, but I just couldn’t shake this inner feeling that kept coming up all the time.
Meditation vs Glass of Wine
I’ve meditated off and on for years. I was a “dabbler” of sorts. Trying to meditate at different times of the day. Trying a few different kinds of meditation practices like heart-based meditation, guided meditation, and mindfulness meditation. So on a particularly “bad” day I decided to try meditating at 5 p.m. to see if I could figure out what was making me feel so drained and depleted. I bought myself a pretty pink pillow to sit on to encourage me to take some time to myself, to reconnect.
As I sat on this pillow trying “not to think”, I began to feel. It was this subtle feeling I could only describe as” jitters” or “butterflies in the stomach” as if I was nervous. I began to notice that I would crave my glass of wine. I wanted to get up, do anything but sit there and feel this feeling! But I just continued to breathe. Focus on your breath Kristi. Focus on your breath. With time I started to identify this feeling as “incapable.” That was the word that came to me in the quiet stillness meditation offered me… I was feeling incapable. Then all the pieces started to fall into place.
I was very capable of doing mom tasks like getting kids ready for school, organizing lunches, schedules, activities etc.. But when my kids came home from school they would tell me everything that happened in their day. I got a download of the good, bad, and awful. I unconsciously took on their day and tried to problem solve it so it would stop happening. I gave them advice so they could learn how to manage themselves better. On and on this went, yet nothing really changed. My kids still came home and told me about their whole day, and I felt “incapable” of fixing it, doing anything to change their experience, and this unseen feeling was the culprit in my dread, depletion, disconnection. Sitting in silence, giving myself a 15 minute or so “time-out” on my pretty pink cushion allowed me to get in touch with the reason why. Something that glass of wine never did!
I Am Incapable
Here’s what I learned… we, as moms, can take on too much responsibility for our children’s well-being. We think we can solve their problems, make life easier for them, tell them what to do etc.. But really we can’t… we are incapable. That is not to say we do nothing. No, what we do instead is listen, ask questions, engage with them at their emotional level, and try and understand what life is like for them, not for us. We let them know we heard them, and we are here to be with them as they struggle or are challenged. We let them know we believe in them, and trust they will solve their own problems.
Who knew that sitting on my pretty pink cushion for 15 minutes at 5 p.m. was going to help me get in touch with a part of myself! I never would have guessed what was causing me to feel depleted and defeated. I never would have said, “I am incapable.” This realization was freeing for me as a mom. My presence returned, and now 5 p.m. felt peaceful, engaging and restorative.
Meaningful meditation recipe
I offer this reconnection meditation as a gift. A gift that may help you get in touch with an unknown feeling so you can keep on giving your loving presence to yourself, your children, and your life. You may not need it a 5 p.m., but I’m positive you need it at sometime in your day. Take this “recipe” and make it meaningful to you, make it your own. Here’s how:
- Find a quiet place in your house, someplace you won’t be disturbed, with no distractions.
- Find a fun cushion to remind you to take time for you, something you love.
- Set a time, start small; 15 – 20 minutes
- Sit, breathe, relax, release, let go, notice how you feel, no right or wrong here, just be present.
- One thing I learned, meditation isn’t about doing it right, it’s about surrender and learning to be.
- Be patient, our minds are trained to be busy and going non-stop, it will take time to settle it down so that another part of you, your wise-self, can be heard.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat… don’t give up on yourself and finding freedom within, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Consistency is key.
- Try an app like Calm, Headspace or Waking Up to help you and educate you on the benefits.
- Check out a book on meditation. One of my favorites is Stillness Speaks by Eckhart Tolle.
- Breathe love in, Breathe love out. You’ve got this!
Each time I take the time to reconnect to myself I am a more present me, a more present mom, a more loving person. During this 5 p.m. meditation, I was able to identify what was causing me to feel so depleted and disconnected. Most importantly I learned a valuable mom lesson… I am only capable of taking care of myself and solving my own problems, and I don’t have to solve my children’s problems, just listen and support their experience. I can just be me now, and that is all my children need… a present, centered, engaged mom.
P.S. For inquiring minds… I did this 5 o’clock meditation for 8 weeks to be able to really reset my thinking and give my body time to make this new feeling of joy become my default instead of dread. That glass of wine I used to crave? Isn’t needed anymore. Now I enjoy a glass of champagne when I want to celebrate my wins, not have a glass of wine to cope.😊