Yesterday I wrote that although the term “self-care” wasn’t in my childhood or teenage vocabulary, it’s become something I’ve learned is crucial, from listening to wonderful podcasts and reading great blogs on “lifestyle design”, mental health issues, and figuring out how to live and breathe in today’s changing world.
For the next week or so, I’m going to share some of the best things I do to give myself a little space, even when I’m so busy or anxious I barely have time to pause. Today, meditation.
Meditation through the Headspace app
Sometimes it feels like everyone knows about this app – sometimes seen as THE meditation app for your phone, featuring guided meditation packages from former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe. There is a free 10-day introductory version, but you can pay annually for the full-on package, with 30-day routines, quick-fire “SOS” guides, and generally everything you need to maintain a daily meditation practice. No sitting in the lotus position going “om” required.
I do this every day on my commute, which isn’t ideal – Puddicombe recommends a quiet room – but when I asked, Headspace informed me over Twitter that meditating on a train is better than meditating nowhere, never. I have been doing this on and off for about two years now, and it’s still a challenge, but I’m getting better. Slowly but surely, it helps.
And sometimes, I even forget how much it helps until I actually do it, if that makes sense. It’s like persuading yourself to go to the gym under the pretence that you’ll only stay for 10 minutes. Once you’re there, you’ll invariably realise you feel better and you stay longer (usually *cough*).
Honestly, I used to think that I was a bit crap at meditating and that I didn’t focus on the guiding voice enough and it was all a bit useless, until last week I just sort of didn’t do it one morning, I carried on listening to a podcast instead.
And I felt jittery and like I’d forgotten something behind all day.
I’ve found that a 15-minute meditation is the perfect way to check in with yourself, see how you’re really feeling, and chill the fuck out before the day. Even if you are on a train.
My self-care series
Self-care: 1. Meditation on a train