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6 ways I found the time to meditate every day* in January

* Well almost every day... in the spirit of making this blog as honest a place as anywhere where I display highly edited pictures of my recently tidied living room can be - I did miss 1 day in the first week, before I'd really set myself this challenge. But reader, some days I actually meditated, wait for it... 2 times, one day 3 times! So I think that makes up for the one hiccup.

I can't even count the number of times I have attempted to meditate every day. Examples: When I first signed up for the headspace app. When I found out I could get a 30 session free trial for a friend if I just kept it up for 10 straight days. When my panic attacks took a turn for the extra crazy, and I did completely fruit loop things like come close to physically stalking my boyfriend to check he was alive (he was), diving behind a van to stop him seeing me, and declared to myself no more of these stupid thoughts ruining stuff. But yet, I've never kept it up, I've always felt that just like with my money, with my time I live a little outside my means. I want more of it than I have to spend, but probably because I flitter it away on things which aren't really that valuable to me. But despite these bad time (and money) habits, I managed to find a little head space every day in January. How?

Well a large part of my determination came from the fact that December had been one of my mind's most out of control months in a while, and the fresh new year gave me the extra self discipline to attempt to kick my intrusive thoughts to the curb once and for all. 

But to be honest, I think for the most part, it was because I was kinder to myself about meditating. I didn't give up the first time my plan for meditation went a bit awol from how I had anticipated it to be:

1. I made more than one routine of meditating

My aim was to meditate just once in a day, but actually I had several times in the day meditation was part of my routine: in the morning, when I got home from work, after yoga (on the days - ok day - when I do it at home) and before going to sleep. 

Before I've always tried to meditate first thing in the morning, as whenever I've read about meditation that seems to always be what people advise. But on the days when I get up late and end up rushing out the door with wet hair, and a bagel hanging out my mouth - days when I actually probably need to take a breather more than ever- I write it off. No point in doing meditation if not in the morning I tell myself. But this month I attempted it in the morning, but if I missed that, I tried to get my brain in the right mindset for a productive and relaxing evening by meditating as soon as I got home from work. (I actually really recommend this time, as meditation can be pretty energising - so when you know you have a life admin to do list as long as your leg, but you have only the energy to slump in front of Netflix, try a 10 minute meditation. It is still allows you to sit down and get a load off as soon as you get in, but somehow gives you the bounce to get off the sofa afterwards, rather than collapsing into it, which Netflix certainly doesn't.) 

Finally if I had missed all my routines through laziness, and the rest of my life getting in the way, I made sure I did a little meditation before sleep, which calmed me down after the hectic day too.

Fyi - this also applies to exercise. Find a class, an hour for a run or something for every day of the week, and I promise you will manage it at least 3 times.

2. In addition to these routines, I meditated whenever I felt like it

Some days, when I got a seat on the tube, I tried my meditation then. Ideally, I like to make a thing out of it, get into the zone with a scented candle and a good posture on a comfy chair or the floor, but if I was away from the aforementioned candle and chair, and I fancied a little meditate, I went for it, even if it wasn't the perfect place and time. Lunch break sauna meditating after a quick swim is all the cat heart eyed emoticons.

3. I found apps that suited me and meditations that I enjoyed

I've mentioned headspace a few times on this blog, heck in this post. It is my go to meditation app, because although it costs a bit more I like that it sounds like Andy has recorded each one individually, and that there are hundreds of them designed to help you with anything and everything. So much better than a computerised voice telling you to breathe in and out. I love browsing through their collections, like shopping for a better me - oo I am going to learn to be kinder next, and then I am going to get better at acceptance. Feels like a self improvement supermarket. 

As well as headspace, I also found another meditation app I love, and I purchased the meditate and yoga package of Madeleine Shaw's Glow Guide app. Madeleine is one of my ultimate woman crushes, and as well as her being a general life and wellness guru her voice is so damn relaxing. Her meditations are affirming and kind, and also super short and sweet, so often even if it was a morning when I left the house with a bagel hanging out my mouth, I could squeeze a glow meditation in (though I am not sure I would recommend that. Note to self, that you feel like you have undone all the meditating zen if it makes you run for a train).

4. I aimed at making my meditations short, and only went for longer meditations when I really felt like it

Like meditating in the morning, in the past I've always been quite tough on myself that I should ideally meditate for 20 mins, but at a stretch 10 -15 minutes. Most days, I did meditate for this long, but only if I felt like it. I used lots of Madeleine's 5 minute meditations, but a bit like when you tell yourself you'll just go for a 15 minute run and manage a 30, once I started, I normally could keep on going.

5. I asked for encouragement

Despite the fact it reduces my desire to the aforementioned physically stalking of him, my boyfriend is not really a fan of meditating, in as much as he thinks it is all a load of "hocus pocus". Because of my loopiness I have spent the past few years asking my boyfriend to make changes - text me more, let me know what he is doing, let me know when he has left work, what time he expects to be home, that he is still alive and breathing etc etc. Although the crazy lady in my head wants this reassurance from him, I know really the more he gives, the more she will demand. So instead, I've asked him to encourage me to do things which I know are good for me - encourage me to exercise, to say yes to evenings out with friends, to meditate. When you're like "errr I've done this every day this week, so I think it is ok to skip one day" it can make a big difference to have someone there to tell you to give it a go, just for 5 minutes.

6. I celebrated a job well done

Every day that I meditated I gave myself a little star on my calendar. I know meditating every day for a month is not going to fix something I've battled with for years, but it gave me hope that I can. Meditating every day felt like I was chipping away at something, and as I started to feel calmer, a little more creative, a little more hopeful , I knew keeping this up could get me somewhere better - even if it is not exactly where I envisage - some day. Plus, I am telling myself, and trying to make a deal with my boyfriend that if I meditate (and tidy up after myself, the trickier bit) every day for 6 months he should reward me with cat. Peace of mind and a kitten? How can I stop now? 

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you are having a good one - maybe a day to trial getting some free head space...

PS. Is it just sitting around doing nothing? And 12 other questions I've answered following my first meditation class.
PPS. Next week's post might not be on the Sunday, as it is going to be Valentine's (well Galentine's) themed.

Picture via pinterest 

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