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  • Writer's pictureRachael Scarr

Get Your Headspace on Straight

Updated: May 19, 2021

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So, I’ve started a new tradition.


I know…we hear about meditation all the time and its many benefits. We think it’s a nice idea, have tried it once or twice, and think, in an “ideal” world, it would be great to have as part of our routine.

But, we never do it.

Or at least I never did it. Not regularly.

When I started with my current therapist about a year and a half ago, one of the first things she suggested was that I start meditating every day. And for a while (about two weeks), I kept it up. Meditation was not a foreign concept to me, I had dabbled before. But I had never really fully let it infiltrate my life…and even after her encouraging (almost requiring) me to do so, I still didn’t.

I also didn’t want to spend any extra money at the time, so I was meditating by pulling bits and pieces together from videos I found over on YouTube. Most of which were from Deepak Chopra and his free 21-day programs (he hosts some of my all time favorite meditations - more info on his programs can be found in my blog post, Be). However, not having one solid place to go every single day, and constantly striving to find new videos in order to keep myself entertained and growing, was a very daunting task and easily caused me to get burnt out, once again removing meditation from my daily schedule.

Fast forward to November/December of 2020 in which I started one of my posts with the sentence, “I haven’t been well.” So, you can probably garner the headspace I was in at the time…i.e. anxiety, depression, restless nights, lethargic days, claustrophobia, you name it. Because of that mindset, I had started craving routine and meditation once more.

It was around that time when one of my nearest and dearest friends posted on her Instagram story about having a month of free Headspace up for grabs. (God-ordained much?) I reached out the second I saw it, trying to claim the offer. To my surprise, it was still available and it was all mine! I immediately set up a profile and got to meditating - and then continued with it pretty much every day for that free month.

And, I was stunned. My brain had become calmer, kinder, and clearer in a matter of days. I was baffled at truly how much of a difference it made. Which became even more evident when my free trial ran out and I had two weeks (plus!) before Christmas, where I suspected I would be receiving a yearly subscription as a gift (because it had been on my Christmas wishlist and I had hinted at it quite strongly ever since downloading the app). Those two (plus) weeks were rough! I was missing the routine (and the headspace) to which I had become accustomed.

Headspace made it easy.

This is not an ad, I am not sponsored by Headspace (although I would love to be if anyone has an in *wink*), and I am sure there are plenty of other apps and outlets out there for you to explore when it comes to meditation (including many free options). However, this is the one I know, and this is the one that is currently working (and doing wonders) for me. And, although I still have yet to pay for the actual subscription myself, I can guarantee you that it is fully worth the money invested.

Headspace breaks it down for you and makes it incredibly user friendly.

Right from the homepage, they have tabs for meditation, sleep, movement, and focus.

“Meditate” is your standard (and my go to during the day). Each day they have a particular clip highlighted as “Today’s Meditation” that holds its own particular theme. Today’s topic: Individual Uniqueness. That meditation can be 3, 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes long depending on your preference. It crops the meditation to fit into your schedule. And there are also a variety of teachers you can choose from to lead you in the meditation.

There are multi-day courses you can follow as well, that teach you a range of topics including the basics of meditation, balance, coping with grief, finding focus, mindful eating, developing patience, strengthening self-esteem, and transforming anger, among many others.

They even have little tips and videos for you to watch and learn about, with an overall clean and incredibly exciting aesthetic.

I also just discovered that they have a “Group Meditation” option, in which you can meditate at a certain time of day with a small group of people on the app. This is especially great if you find yourself craving community.

“Sleep” has become my saving grace at night when I’m having trouble shutting down my brain and resting my body. I particularly like their “Wind Down” meditations for switching off, relaxing my body, and bringing me into a peaceful state of rest.

Their “Sleepcasts” are great too, in which you can listen to someone tell you a story and set up a beautiful scene in your mind, lulling you to sleep.

There’s also a variety of sleep music and soundscapes to listen and nod off to, which can carry you through the entire evening if you so desire.

“Move” I have yet to use, but they actually feature quite a lot of 10-30 minute workout videos to get you moving and start your day off right. There are cardio audio options, where people lead you through an intentional walk or run, help you move in a state of appreciation throughout your jog, motivate you and keep you mindful, or encourage you to stay consistent and achieve your physical goals.

There are also brief yoga videos, stretching instructionals, and even high intensity classes to help you release stress and reframe anxiety.

They’ve thought of everything.

“Focus” provides you with a plethora of ambient sounds and recordings to listen to in order to set a calming tone or motivated background for your workday - or those menial tasks you’ve been meaning to get to. There are brief exercises you can engage in to keep your brain sharp and laser in on the job at hand.

Under your profile, the app keeps track of your meditation journey and records your daily streak and total number of hours meditated, as well as any goals you may set for yourself along the way. It gives you the option to “check in” and type out a few notes, so that you can follow your progress and celebrate your growth.

There is also a social aspect to it, in which you can share your journey and profile with other friends who have the app, sending each other messages and words of encouragement whenever you so choose.

I am truly amazed with it all.

One of my goals this year has been to meditate every day. (I would’ve literally been fulfilling that dream so far if it wasn’t for the one single day I completely forgot about it - agh, whoops…well, it’s okay, I am human after all. I guess.) FYI, you can set up notifications on your phone as a reminder! Noted.

I do enjoy meditating first thing in the morning, however, I am finding it’s even more helpful for me to meditate about halfway through my day. My daily journaling routine suffices for a morning mental check-in, and then by the time my afternoon slump is starting to kick in and I want to instead increase my motivation and productivity, I open the app and pick out a meditation to get myself in the right frame of mind. Three, five, or ten minutes - whatever I have time for that day.

It does wonders centering me, quelling any anxiety (of which there can be quite a bit), and clearing the clutter so I can zero in on exactly what it is I need to achieve in the second half of my day.

If I don’t fit it in sometime throughout the day, or it has gotten away from me due to my schedule, I will no doubt put one on before bed (I usually do this anyway, making it two meditations for me most days).

This is slowly, but surely, becoming a new habit that I cannot live without. I look forward to this time alone every single day. This time where absolutely nothing is expected of me except to breathe and be present. It is such a luxury. And it is such a necessity.

Meditation helps us to build the skills we need in order to stay grounded, present, and grateful on a daily basis. It helps us reduce any negative emotions we may have, and increase our patience and tolerance of the unknown or the frustrating. It elevates us into a place of creativity and clarity. And it increases self-awareness and ignites our desire for self-care.

Self-care — what could be the thesis of my entire blog.

We must show up for ourselves first, so that we may then show up for others. Any burdens or stressors we don’t deal with on our own, are destined to be torpedoed towards our partners or loved ones when the pressure gets to be too much.

You must release the pressure. On your own. Show up for yourself, and your mental health, on a daily basis and *treat*yourself*right*. If you find yourself in the “unknown” or the “unwell,” instead focus on what is here. On what is known. On what is well. And on what you can control.

Only you can control your time. So give yourself the gift of time.

Time to pause.

Time to center.

Time to breathe.

Time to meditate.

It will change your mindset and it will create the perfect headspace.

Let's get our headspace on straight.

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