While I will be continuing my Self-Care Sunday posts, I wanted to find a way to prod myself into being more pro-active about my wellbeing. Thus, this, the second of my new series was born: the Wellbeing Update. Each month, I will undertake a new challenge aimed at improving some aspect of my wellbeing. This month, I’m attempting to develop a regular meditation habit.
I’ve dabbled in meditation-related activities before – colouring, crafting, guided meditation, and so on, but never in a regular, habit-forming sort of way. My stickability sometimes isn’t the best when it comes to these things. However, I’d a good range of activities that by and large kept my mental health in check (along-side some strong medication, and some contact with various mental health professionals). The problem is, I’ve been fairly inactive of late. A recent second surgery following on from a broken elbow earlier this year, means I’ve not really been able to do many of my usual activities for over five months now.
I’ve also had a fairly stressful year, as things go. I won’t get into detail here, but suffice to say that any and all life plans I had a year ago have been turned upside down and inside out, and I’ve been knocked back a few more times than I would have liked to. So things have been a bit rough, and I haven’t had many of my usual coping mechanisms to hand. So, in this brief interlude of recovery where I’m not working and have some time on my hands, I’ve decided to try and get a handle on my mental health – by meditating.
I’ve had the HeadSpace app for a good long time on my phone – I use it here and there, but the run streaks it documents are so low on my profile it’s actually a bit embarrassing. I tend to fall back on it in times of high stress, with the expectation it will cure all ills, in the same manner one might expect eating one apple might make you as fit as a personal trainer. But no more! I’m determined to get into a regular habit of meditating and getting some of those brain benefits suggested in the research.
There are a few steps I’ve taken to help myself meet this first wellbeing challenge. I’ve updated the app on my phone and set it so that it will send me a push notification to remind me to do my meditating. I’ve also put it as a daily recurring item on my to-do list. The HeadSpace app is quite helpful, as I need guidance in my meditation to avoid my thoughts wandering off random places. It also has specific meditations on particular issues such as pain, sleeping and panicking, which are three things I regularly struggle with recently.
I’m choosing to do this particular challenge in this particular few weeks, as this week as I’m on medical leave, my schedule is basically empty. Given that as a result of my surgery last week sleeping is currently my biggest issue, I’m going to aim to do a meditation right before I start trying to sleep each night. This will hopefully have the double bonus of replacing my night-time social media scrolling and help me drift off to sleep with less trouble than usual. I’m also hoping it will become the first step in a more mindful night-time routine generally so that the habit will be established by the time I go back to a more hectic schedule.
Each Wednesday for the next three Wednesdays I will aim to check back in with how things are going and what, if any, changes I’m making to make sure I meet the challenge, as well as how I feel I’m being affected by it. Hopefully, this will add an element of accountability that will further encourage me to keep on track!
Why don’t you join in and set yourself a four-week wellbeing challenge? If you do, please let me know in the comments what your challenge is and how you’re hoping to meet that challenge, I’d love to know!