Self-care is the buzzword of the moment. Influencers are telling us to take time for ourselves. But lighting some candles and taking a bubble bath may not be the self-care you need when your workday seems endless, your family needs attention 24/7, and life’s woes are weighing heavily on your mind. While meditation is a technique that has been around for more than 3,000 years, it is just now becoming a recognized part of a healthy lifestyle. Mental workouts are becoming just as popular as the daily 30 minutes at the gym, and for good reason. Practicing meditation for even a minute a day is proven to combat stress and anxiety, provide grounding for emotional stability, promote self-awareness, and much more. Interested in getting started? Well, there are many ways to get into the zone, whether with an app, a group class, or a few minutes of solo practice a day.
Did you know there are just as many mental health apps as there are fitness apps? Headspace is one app dedicated to helping you take up guided meditation. The free version of the app gives newbies 10-minute introductory guided meditation sessions as well as a personalized progress page, reminders, and a tracking system that helps you and a buddy stay on track.
Meditation classes are now just as convenient to access as your spin class. New York magazine recommends MNDFL, a studio with locations in NYC and Brooklyn where beginners can book a spot in a quick 30-minute class. Choose a class that fits your needs and your schedule online. A single session is $18, perfect for someone who would simply like to give meditation a try. Many such boutique mediation companies exist, check out the list at https://grb.st/2rX9Kmn.
If scheduling a class is too stressful, start at home! Even closing your office door for five minutes is enough time to practice meditating. Set a timer for one minute and pick a focus area. You might want to close your eyes and identify every sound you hear, or focus on taking deep breaths, or repeating the word “breathe” over and over for 60 seconds. If it seems difficult to let go of your thoughts for a minute, that’s OK! A minute a day is still practice for a healthier tomorrow. After seven sessions, you may be ready to tackle two minutes.
Plenty of introductory deals for classes can be found on Groupon or LivingSocial. A Facebook or Meetup group in your area might know a great public spot for finding your center. Just remember that all it takes is a few minutes a day set your mind on a good track.
Meditation shouldn’t feel like a chore. If it’s hard to focus or you don’t feel like you are particularly “good” at meditation, that’s normal! Like anything new, it takes practice. But unlike most things on your to-do list, it only takes a few minutes that are 100% for you.