This year, I told myself I would take time out for me, in particular my mental health. With a lifestyle that is always on the go, I knew that in order to be successful, I had to carve out time for my own well being, every. single. day. And so I have.
Between yoga classes and meditation at home, I ensure I have at least 10 minutes (75 when it’s a yoga session) each day to devote to calmness. And it has made all the difference in my overall productivity. I find myself busier than ever, but my mind has become so incredibly calm and collected that the feeling of “stressed out” rarely occurs. I am aware of all that needs to be done, but no longer stressing in a manner that was neither helpful to getting things done faster, nor helpful for the inner spirits of my mind and body.
I find that being in tune with my body, and giving it what it needs most was something I was actively ignoring before. Those aches and pains I was constantly feeling were my body’s way of calling out for help, and I spent years not listening to it.
Although I have a long way to go, I have seen such tremendous change in me in just 2 months, that I thought I would share my thoughts on the subject with all of you. Perhaps you’re struggling to find time to meditate? or you’ve found time but can’t sit still for 10 minutes at a time? or perhaps you are unsure of the whole idea of meditation?
Create a Calming Environment
Candles. Candles. Candles.
I light candles during just about every regular activity (cooking, reading, working, blogging, cleaning, you name it), so it’s no surprise that I light up candles during my meditation sessions. The aroma of a fragrant candle & its warmth can add to the overall calming effect.
Certain essential oils, such as lavender, eucalyptus or sweet orange are known to calm the mind, bodily sensations, and nerves – I use lavender during the restorative part of my yoga sessions and it really helps me feel rejuvenated. However, there are plenty of other essential oils that are target specific, if you do a quick search, you’re bound to find the one that would be best suited for your needs.
Spotify Piano Playlist
I’ve been obsessed with listening to the Piano playlist on Spotify. The sweet, powerful but soft melody relaxes my mind during meditation (but also other daily tasks). If piano is not your thing, perhaps classical music, sounds of nature, or other music might be more helpful to you. Spotify is free, so give it a whirl to find the one that benefits you.
I didn’t give diffusers much thought until towards the end of last year and when I was gifted not one but TWO diffusers for my birthday, I was thrilled! The one pictured above, I use at home, and I have another from Saje Natural Wellness that I keep at work; everyone knows work can be stressful and a diffuser with essential oils help bring serenity to my atmosphere. A diffuser, therefore, is a perfect compliment to a meditation session.
Types of Meditation
I go to yoga two to three times a week, for 75 minutes each session. The type of yoga I do is generally gentle, restorative and geared towards beginners. Since, I’m just starting back up with yoga regularly after many years, I wanted to start from the beginning and work my way up to more intermediate and hopefully advance level. Yoga for me is a powerful thing. As a dance teacher, being flexible is really important to me and yoga allows me the opportunity to focus on my flexibility in a devoted way that I can’t really do when I’m teaching. In addition, yoga helps me tap into positivity on a more focused way, without the outside world as a distraction; and I love that! I know many people turn away from the concept of yoga thinking it’s going to be boring, or the more popular, it’s just for women. It. Is. NOT.
Don’t knock it till you try it, that’s all I’ll say.
On days I don’t go to yoga, I use the Daily Calm or Headspace apps to mediate for 10 minutes only. Ten minutes can sound like nothing to some and an insane amount of time to others. The truth is, it is both. It is not much to schedule into your day, yet when you first begin, 10 minutes of stillness and trying to tell your mind to NOT THINK feels like a lifetime. Then there are days where I am so busy, exhausted or have had the longest day (nights when I come home close to midnight) that I just can’t etch out 10 minutes for meditation, instead I just go straight to sleep. It’s not often I allow myself to skip the daily meditation, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that it does happen.
The reason I use the apps is for two reasons: a. I am not disciplined enough to meditate without guidance, and b. on the rare occasion I don’t want to be vocally guided, the apps have calming music (of all sorts) to play that can help with focusing the mind. The apps are a bit different and each offer different types of meditation program (for relaxation, anxiety, sleep, unwinding, restoring to name a few), so you are bound to find one (or more) that resonate with you. I switch out my programs all the time depending on my mood or the type of day I’ve had.
Note: the apps have paid programs as well as free options, I only use the free options so don’t feel like you have to pay to get the most out of it, unless of course, you want to.
Ever since I began meditating regularly, I have been able to focus my time, energy and efforts more effectively. I am alert, I get things done and I feel positive even in the face of those total chaotic days. This has been such a blessing to me; I work two jobs and run my own business, so being productive consistently is the only way I can be successful. And I know I owe that subtle but important change in my life to the art of meditation.
I hope this was helpful for some of you and for anyone who’s been putting off meditation/yoga/calmness/mental break, remember what they say, there is no time like the present!
Thanks for reading and Happy Meditation!