For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled to find focus. Like I have too many tabs open, too much to think about, plan and do. Making lists does help, sometimes. I rely on that happy dopamine hit when I cross something off. And with my terrible memory, it helps me remember everything. My mind becomes overwhelmed, scattered, unfocused and that causes stress and anxiety, which just makes it all worse. Because I’m anxious about being anxious and that causes more anxiety, plus frustration and sometimes anger. It’s a vicious cycle. And one that’s hard to get out of once in it.
I have dabbled in meditation as a form of stress relief a few times but never really learnt very much or committed to it. I always felt that I was bad at it as well. But I guess that’s why they call it a “practice”, like yoga, it takes years and even then, you’re still learning.
When I was writing my 30 before 30 list, I thought this would be a great year to learn how to meditate properly. By committing to it and practising it, I thought it could positively affect my lack of focus and sometimes sketchy mental health. I made June the month for 30 days of meditation.
I did a bit of research for this. There’s many apps (mostly paid), recordings on Sportify and a lot of free YouTube videos. I picked one and hated it on the first day, her voice sounded like a 5-year-old so I immediately picked another one. Here’s the link to the one I liked by Doyouyoga.
I struggled to keep my mind on task. This week took us through breathing exercises, a body scan, a lying meditation, a standing meditation… some of which I’ve never done. I experimented with different times of day, locations in my house etc. I found it easier to stay calm if I did it right when I woke up as it gave me an opportunity to wake up and connect with myself and my purpose. Doing it to wind down before bed worked quite well also, training my mind to calm itself before sleep time. I do struggle to sit up straight with good posture the entire time but that’s just me.It was tough to start a new habit, as per usual. I feel positive about it so far, and will continue because I’m committed and curious to see if longer term practise will stop the “multi-tasking” in my head.
This week we touched on some anxiety techniques, goals, strength… it was very interesting. It gave me something to focus my energy too. I can see this leading into more “manifestation” type visualisations but I haven’t looked ahead at all. This week was a bit more stressful due to some troublesome neighbours, I released a new business document and some health stuff. I feel that the daily meditation helped keep me in check with myself. Even though it did sometimes feel like another thing on my to-do list.
This week included some great focus topics like forgiveness, courage, compassion, strength… I really enjoyed these. I learned some new breathing techniques and movements to encourage these feelings. Guys, I weighed myself… I’m 2.5kgs lighter. Now I’m not gonna lie, that’s exciting coz I’ve been eating more unhealthy carbs than usual (I blame winter). Full disclosure though, I did change up my diet by adding in 1 low-calorie day each week because I’ve been stuck at a plateau for a year. Taking that into account, I think 2.5kgs loss was a combination of these two things. Meditation lowers stress, which lowers cortisol levels and allows for more efficient digestion, which aids weight loss. So, all in all, this week’s been really positive.
Week 4 and Conclusion
I am feeling pretty great. My mind now remembers how to settle and quieten down. I’m able to use some of the breathing techniques I learned in other areas, like when I feel anxious or nervous, during workouts, before sleep. And it really helped me to connect with myself and what’s important to me. It gave me a positive focus for each day and that was quite helpful, emotionally. In total, I lost 4.3kgs over the month. This was in conjunction with the new eating plan so I’m not sure how much impact each of these had on the weight loss. But either way, I’m stoked with that. I'm honestly so glad I did it. And the Youtube channel I picked was fantastic.
Here’s what I found:
Morning (first thing): great, helped me wake up on a positive note, connect with myself, however it was hard to remember to do – set yourself a reminder.
Before sleep – perfect to calm my body and mind for sleep, you can do lying meditations if you just want to climb into bed and do it.
Bath meditation – for safety reasons this may not work for everyone, but I found it very relaxing, literally took my bath ritual to a whole new level.
Lunchtime – I am lucky enough to go home at lunch so this was a good break for my mind, this could be done if you have a quiet place to do it, even your car could work?
Moving meditation – felt very powerful afterwards, rejuvenating and energising
Standing meditation – different, it was good though, I had just never done it before so it surprised me, made me focus on my posture.
Sitting – this was the hardest (and most common) for me because I sit at a desk all day in a pretty good chair, so sitting up straight for 10 minutes without slouching was a challenge.
Lying – my favourite because I could do it in bed and fully relax into it, perfect when waking up or about to go to sleep.
Make sure you’re comfortable and warm, otherwise you will struggle to focus.
I recommend getting a pillow or blanket to prop up your bum, helps with spinal alignment.
Find a time and place that works for you, make it work in your routine.
Give it a red hot go, don’t let anyone make you feel silly for doing it.
So ladies, I would 100% recommend doing 5 minutes of meditation a few days a week. That’s what I’ll be doing from now on. There’s dozens of apps, YouTube and Spotify for guided meditations that you can use... and many for free.
Let me know below if you're intrigued to try it out for yourself!