As a mum, I feel like I'm in a state of permanent guilt. My baby is sleeping too much, not enough or at the wrong time. She has too much of a routine, then too little. I'm feeding her too much or the wrong stuff. I'm using disposable nappies instead of cloth. I don't space breastfeeds out enough. The guilt list goes on and on until I've forgotten that I have a healthy, happy little baby. Feeling guilty is almost addictive, like I'm not a 'real' mum without it. How to chill out?
I realised during my meditation yesterday that although I have been meditating on and off for a few years, I have never really just OBSERVED my breath. I have been controlling it. So I sat down with the true aim of just watching it - and it worked! As I watched the breath I said to myself, 'let's see what it does now', then, 'let's see where it goes now'. It was ridiculously simple, yet so relaxing. It turns out that the breath is naturally really peaceful if you leave it alone to do its thing. I am now practicing this technique on a minute by minute basis to combat my anxiety. When I feel a tightening in my chest or hear my mind yelling about all the things I'm doing wrong, I try to notice my breath (much different from breathing deeply or controlling the breath). This is working a treat.
I am also hammering this affirmation: I am doing my best and my best is good enough.
There's no point worrying when you are doing your best. So, two experiments for managing imperfection anxiety and pointless guilt: 1. Notice how peaceful your breath is. 2. Chant 'I am doing my best and my best is good enough' (mentally or verbally). Hope this helps someone as much as it helped me.