Did you know that there are ideal times of the day for meditation?
While meditation is a good way to invoke a sense of calm, it is not about relaxing to the point of sleepiness. In fact, one of the many benefits of meditation is feeling energized, clear-headed and refreshed after meditating. This is why meditating right before bed is not a good idea as this burst of energy can interfere with your ability to sleep. You also don’t want to meditate after a meal, when your body needs to focus on digestion. The optimal times are first thing upon waking, or just prior to lunch or dinner.
My favorite time to meditate is at happy hour, the time between work and personal time, and prior to dinner. This allows for a pause at the end of the day and helps to switch your focus from work to home. If you feel you don’t have time to pause between your work and home responsibilities, consider that a happy hour meditation – even just ten minutes – can provide a second wind, giving you more energy and focus for the evening ahead.
A happy hour meditation is a lot healthier than typical happy hour fare, which usually involves double-shot cocktails and fried finger-food. Sure, those things feel good at the time, but there is a price to pay that goes beyond your bar tab. And if you love that healthy glass of red wine at the end of a busy day, that’s okay too. Meditate first, then indulge. You’ll find that you appreciate that vino even more with your senses enlivened from meditation.
Here are some tips for a successful happy hour meditation:
- Commit to your happy hour meditation no matter what. Even if your commute is longer than expected or you feel “too tired to meditate” once you get home. Even a brief happy hour meditation – just ten minutes – can erase the frustration of a long commute and give you a burst of energy.
- Have everything you need for your happy hour meditation ready in advance, including the spot you’ll sit in and a timer for your meditation.
- Feel free to get comfortable by changing clothes before meditation. There is no special clothing required for meditation. The only requirement is that you are comfortable in whatever you are wearing.
- Resist the urge to eat or drink alcohol as soon as you get home. You may be hungry (or really craving that glass of wine) but it’s worth it to delay these urges to post-meditation. You’ll find you binge less and appreciate your food and drink more if you indulge after meditating.
I’ve been meditating at happy hour for several years now and it has made a huge difference in my life, especially in the way I experience time in the evenings. The grumpiness from a difficult day dissipates, my mind is clear, and I’m powered by a second wind that provides creativity and energy for personal projects and family time. I encourage you to try it, especially if you often feel tired or frustrated at the end of your workday. Cheers!
Photo credit: istock.com/microgen