Finding Time to Meditate

In our busy lives, it’s hard to remember to stop and take a breather. With work, family, and other responsibilities it’s far too easy to ride the momentum and not take a break. Since I started working as an ESL teacher, I’ve been working, working, and working. In fact, I even got two other part-time jobs on the side, which are my own businesses, but it adds up. I usually work until my body and my mind are so worked up that I feel like I’m going to have a mental breakdown unless I take a vacation. I’ve been that way even before I started working! It all started back in university while studying for exams. I wouldn’t eat lunch until I was finished studying up to a certain point. By that time, it was already dinner or way past dinner. I still manage to do the same thing now, especially on the weekends. It’s a really bad habit that I’ve had a hard time quitting!

Last year I bought a fitness tracker called the Leaf by Bellabeat. A fitness tracker that looks like a piece of jewelry and the nice thing about it is that you can set timers on the app, especially to tell you when you’re not being active enough. The Leaf will vibrate or pulse every hour or every few hours, depending on what you set it to. When I’m at the computer busy with editing or writing, I tend to forget the time and so I rely heavily on my Leaf to notify me when I haven’t been active for two hours. This reminds me to take a break, get up and stretch, and get away from the computer. Depending on what time it is, it also reminds me to eat!

This tracker has helped me in so many ways, including meditating. The accompanying app has a section for meditations that have varying times, usually within the three-five minute range. (See my review) I’ve used a couple of the guided meditations, but the app that I love the most is called Insight Timer. This app has thousands of meditations for you to choose from and the best part is that it’s ALL FREE! I found one woman that I listen to every single day and her name is Bethany Auriel-Hagan. She has a really gentle and soothing voice, which helps calm me.

Now, I heard many good things about meditating, but I never thought that meditating was for me. My mind is always running at 2000 km/hr and never slows down, even when I want it to! I tried yoga many years ago and found that even while doing something so calming my mind was still all over the place. This is why I eventually stopped doing yoga. However, after I was laid-off from work, I noticed how much better I started feeling when I could sleep on my own schedule and wake up whenever I wanted.

Another thing that I noticed was that I was a lot happier as well. I never really realized how exhausted my job makes me until I was laid off for a month. It was during this time that I did a lot of soul searching and realized that I was overworking myself and making myself sick. It was also around this time that I decided to do meditation and yoga as well as pursue other creative endeavors. I decided to make 2017 about my wellness and creativity, so starting January 1st I began meditating and doing yoga.

Here’s what happened briefly:
Day 1:

I did a meditation to help me sleep. I didn’t think that this meditation would help, it was seventeen minutes long and I had worn my earphones to listen to this soothing guided meditation. To my surprise, I don’t even remember what the meditation was about because I fell asleep after five minutes! I was amazed.

Day 3-4:

I started meditating in the morning or in the afternoons and I noticed how much more refreshed I felt. I was still tired, but I felt like I had some more happiness inside of me that made it easier to go about my day regardless of how tired I felt.

I did these meditations as well as a variety of others for sleep and found that I fell asleep easily! It was amazing because I’ve suffered from insomnia since I was a teenager! Yes, my mind still wandered off, but with the soothing music and gentle voice, I was able to slowly push away all those unwanted thoughts and focus on my breathing. The first few days weren’t that easy, but somehow I managed to fall asleep.

Before I knew it, thirty-one days had passed and I never missed a single day of meditation! I was surprised at how easy it was for me to fall asleep, which was one of the reasons why it became so easy for me to meditate every night before bed. Yes, there were times that I was interrupted, but eventually my boyfriend got in the habit of allowing me to have my “me-time” or “downtime” just before bed.

As I mentioned before, I have a busy life too, but I found a way to incorporate meditation into my life. If you commute to work by train or by bus, you can find short meditations to listen to on your way. At first, it’s difficult to concentrate on your breathing and other things because your mind is racing, but eventually you’ll find that it gets easier. You will also find that it helps change your mood as well and possibly even your perspective on things. I used to worry about so many things and stress over them as well, but ever since I started meditating, I find that I am calmer than I was before. I also got back into yoga, so these two practices are doing a lot of good to my body, mind, and soul. I feel happier, calmer, and less burnt out.

My recommendations for you are to find those short moments that you have time to just sit still and breathe. Even if that means setting a timer for every X amount of hours, you at least can take a few minutes to yourself to meditate. If you’re at home with the kids, it could mean waiting until they have a nap to sit down on the couch and rest, even if it’s just for ONE minute. Perhaps it’s busy at home, but maybe you could lock yourself in the bathroom to meditate for 2-3 minutes before you take a shower. You could even take a bath and meditate, just be careful to not fall asleep. You will be surprised at how even just a few minutes a day can make a difference in your life and well-being.

Remember, you have to MAKE TIME for yourself. How can you look after others if you aren’t taking care of yourself?

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