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I've lived with anxiety for as long as I can remember;
long before I even knew the word for it. It got to a point where I knew I had to 'do something' more recently. That something was cutting out caffeine. Look, it helped enormously. But I needed to rebuild my toolkit.
Exercising is a big one for me. Walking in the morning before my kids wake up has given me some space and I notice I'm irritable without that. I also found that doing a professional development refresher in CBT helped a lot.
This went in a big circle for me. I could exercise and come home to a rooibos tea. But I could still feel the anxiety about our morning routine rising. I could pull out some of my CBT worksheets and 'social work' myself. But I couldn't slow down long enough to do it.
I'm not new to mindfulness and meditation. It almost feels silly to revisit it after knowing how helpful it has been for me in the past. But you know what it can be like. Life is busy. What's that old saying? "You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day. Unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour."
I suddenly realised that was true. The busier the mind, the more important it is to check in.
I am yet to find anything I don't love. So please enjoy my glowing review:
Things I love about the Headspace app.
Support to get going.
I've actually skipped this bit to start as I felt I had it sorted. But I will probably revisit these programs soon to ensure I'm getting the most out of the app. I may also share these with the girls.
The kids sleep stories.
My girls have been listening to these even during the day - they love them that much. There are also short meditations for kids which are great.
A variety of programs.
I'm currently working through the Anxiety program. But I'm super excited to try to Chronic Pain program as this is something I was going to sign up for elsewhere. There are heaps - every time I think I've seen them all, I find something new. I'm sure you'll find something that suits you.
Choose your duration.
I'm not really at a point in my life where I'm going to be able to prioritise 20 minute sessions every time. Some days, all I manage is the "5 mindful breaths" activity. I'm totally okay with that. But many meditations have a time option. You can choose as little as 3 minutes. I love this because it feels inclusive. The more positive experiences we have with meditation, the more likely we are to opt for the 20 minute version where we can. If it feels like an absolute chore, you're not likely to check in at all.
Live group meditations.
I am yet to try this but I plan to! I absolutely love to idea.
There is a specific program for parents. I love this for obvious reasons. But I've often felt like meditation has become super trendy on social media lately, and really promoted by childless, young, free people who live a certain lifestyle. I cringe as I say it. But sorry, it's kind of true. Us parents got left behind for a period there. Mindfulness seemed like something we could only achieve when our children were older or when they left home. Not so. With all the above features as well as a tailored program, Headspace has made meditation accessible.
Short SOS meditations.
I'm really glad these exist. There are 3 minute meditations dedicated to feeling overwhelmed, burned out, panic, losing your temper and pain.
I could actually go on - but I will leave it there.
I encourage you to try it yourself. I signed up for an annual plan because of the discount. There's a 14 day free trial so there is absolutely no pressure to continue on a Headspace journey if you don't feel as though it's for you. During that 14 day trial, I urge you to give it a go - daily if you can. If you could build a routine, you'll enjoy the long-term benefits of mindfulness.
There's actually a worksheet within the Candid Parenthood eBook which could support building this into your routine. But for now, I'll leave it in your hands to sign up for a free trial, download the app and spend 2 weeks exploring the programs.
I'd love to know how you get on! Or if you already use Headspace, how has your experience been?