The second week of my year is complete. I started this second week with a little more of a plan than week 1. I guess the first week I thought, “Oh, breathing and meditation? That’s easy, I’ll remember to take time every day.” Turns out, if you’re not intentional with your time, it’s easy to make excuses.
During week 2 I focused more on meditation than the breath and used this as a tool to ground myself for the day. I took time to meditate every day for a full week! And I feel…about the same. Honestly, I guess thought I would have had some sort of a magical moment of inspiration at some point during the week. But I’m not discouraged, if anything I’m more determined to keep up the practice. Here’s how the week went down:
I chose to take 5 minutes first thing every morning and either sit in silence, listen to nature sounds on my phone (sadly, the sounds around the house in the morning are usually traffic and school buses. Not exactly inspirational) or play a guided meditation on the Stop, Breathe, Think app. Instead of trying to meditate in bed, where I would inevitably fall back asleep, I moved my meditation spot across the hallway to the home office where I have a comfy arm chair. This works perfect because the physical act of getting out of bed wakes me up a bit more, but I’m still in a nice relaxed state from being asleep.
I gave myself the first minute of my time to really get situated. When you tell yourself that you’re going to sit still for 5 minutes, what’s the first thing your body wants to do? Move. I found that if I get all my wiggling out of my system first, I’m much more focused. So I start by stretching my arms above my head, tilting my head from side to side, shrugging my shoulders a few times, popping my knuckles, finding a comfortable seat and planting my feet on the ground. This works a bit like a body scan – starting at the top of my head and scanning all the way down to my feet, I’m prepping my whole body for a few minutes of stillness.
After meditating for a week, physically and mentally I feel about the same, but I have been surprised with the effect it has on my day as a whole. Initially, I thought that sitting quietly first thing in the morning would just make me want to fall back asleep, but actually I found the opposite to be true. Once my 5 minutes are up, I feel a bit more focused and energized. I’m ready to get up, make a cup of coffee and start my day. By the time I get to work, I’m feeling alert and motivated.
I’m also pretty sure you can’t expect that have amazing results after doing only one week of anything, which is why I plan on keeping up the practice as this year progresses. I’m hoping to slowly increase the amount of time as I get better at quieting my mind.
AND I found the perfect thing to help really make this new habit stick. I recently came across an e-course by a woman named Suzanne Heyn. The course is called The Magic of Meditation. The 30-day course is centered around meditation and using it as a tool to connect with deeper with yourself and transform negative emotions into a feeling of freedom and peace. Unfortunately the e-course was not free, but I decided that this was an investment in myself I was willing to make. And for the amount you get in the course, I thought the price was fair. I’m excited to see how this course helps and transforms my new meditation practice and I hope it ends up being a great opportunity for growth.
One final resource I wanted to share was another new app I found. Pacifica is an app that contains daily tools to help manage stress, anxiety, and depression. The app prompts you at a chosen time of day to answer the question “How are you doing/feeling?” You can choose between “great” and “awful” then pinpoint specific emotions that you are experiencing. Based on your answer, the app then gives you a couple of actions you can take to help with those feelings. For example, sometimes it offers a meditation, or another action like taking a walk. You can also set goals or track your thought cycles that you feel stuck in. I like this app a lot because it gives a lot of helpful options and it prompts me to take a minute to really think about how I’m feeling each day. If I’m not feeling awesome, it allows me to acknowledge that and then try to let go of the negative and find a more constructive route.
And there you have it! Tune in next week for an intro on what Weeks 3 and 4 will be all about!
Side note: Since this post was a bit word heavy, here’s a couple pictures of my dogs. They like to come and sit with me whenever I take my laptop out to work on a blog post.
And it’s adorable.