You’re probably thinking, “Meditation? Really? Why don’t you just find a new way to relax?” Well, this all started in the longest year ever - I’m no scientist, but if my logic serves me right, and according to my completely unfounded calculations, 2020 can be calculated in dog years. I was going through a difficult time - hey, we all were! And my main outlet of de-stressing and clearing my anxious thoughts was to go to spin class, yoga, or even hop from art gallery to gallery, getting my steps in and shifting focus. But when the 3-year-year hit, my routine to take a minute of self-care was upended.
I know. #FirstWorldProblems.
And this year in particular was tough. I started a new job, my personal life had made a shift, my chronic pain was through the roof due to stress and physical therapy offices being closed - and starting a new routine during quarantine outside of TV show binges, was nearly impossible.
Which takes us back to meditation
A (way more) spiritually-attuned friend of mine started sending me meditation quotes and really pushed me to try it. She knew that I’m a naturally anxious person and would lie awake at night with a vicious loop of pain and the pressure to answer every email, ever. I needed to reboot, reprogram my brain. So I hit pause on the TV shows and tried it out.
Making meditation a habit was much easier than I thought it would be. Here’s what worked for me:
I started small
Most people think meditating must take hours of your day if it’s really going to work for you. I started with just 10 minutes, and I made sure to do it in the morning or during a lunch break. Choose a short, realistic goal and go from there. Remember to be gentle with yourself.
I did it anywhere
The beauty of noise-canceling headphones! If you don’t have a pair or if you can’t block out noise naturally, find a quiet place where you can relax.
Here are some of the places I trained my mind since 2020:
- On the floor of my apartment
- Hiding in the bathroom
- Sitting in a car
- On a park bench
- In a crowded subway train
- In hotel rooms in 3 states
- Sitting at the salon
I (try to) keep it up
Try to keep a streak going. Apps like Headspace will help you track and mark your progress, or you can feel free to just journal it each day. The main idea is to start your own positivity loop: meditate, track it, journal it, and take that accomplished confidence moving forward.
I accepted my imperfections
Meditation takes a lot of practice. I mean a lot. So the first few times you think you’re terrible at it because you get distracted, but you’re actually learning to realize the moment you’re distracted. Aha! Learning to master something new is all about making mistakes and recovering.
I have an accountability buddy
Though we don’t always check in, it’s nice to have someone in your life who will support, encourage, inspire, or empower you to meditate often. Something as simple as sharing a meditation you enjoyed or how simply just how you feel after your meditation can remind you to stick to it.
I enjoy the journey
Meditation isn’t a cure, but it’s an amazing tool to slow the mind and discover your thought patterns - and ideally, correct the patterns that no longer serve you. For me, it’s spiraling into anxiety. And while anxiety and stress are natural parts of life, meditation helps me recognize those feelings so I can deal with them in a healthy and constructive way.
I have a lot more learning (and messing up) to do. But I’m enjoying the journey one peaceful, calm, and still moment at a time.
Have you tried meditating? Share your meditation experience and tag us @shapermint to be featured in mindful content.