Headspace:  How An App Is Making Meditation More Attainable

Headspace: How An App Is Making Meditation More Attainable

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An app for meditation? Huh?

Those were my thoughts when my husband told me about an app called Headspace that he had been using for 30 days straight. And then he suggested that I start using it too (apparently he can tell when I’m not handling stress very well).

Headspace is an app that has many different meditations each lasting 10 minutes. So I really don’t have an excuse that I don’t have time because it’s only 10 minutes!

Meditation is harder than it looks.

Woman meditating

Meditation is harder than it looks.

I have been practicing yoga for about 11 years on a regular basis. In that time I have probably meditated (or attempted to meditate- it can be a challenge!) hundreds of times.

The only thing that is consistent for me in meditation for me is that it’s always a little bit different each time. In other words, it’s not consistent at all.

Some days when I reach Savasana at the end of my practice I drift peacefully and effortlessly into the depths of meditation and I feel like I’m floating on a cloud.

On other days, my brain won’t stop reminding me of my to do list or rehashing a conversation with a really mean, difficult patient from my last shift at the hospital.

Like yoga, meditation is a practice. There is no good or bad. It just is what it is at the time. You can keep practicing to train your mind to do better the next time. And then eventually your brain is rewired by the habitual repetition of meditation and it becomes easier.

Setting aside time for meditation is the first step.

Since the birth of my daughter 20 months ago meditation has been a stretch for me and it than it has in a really long time. It’s hard to train your brain to relax when your mother of a toddler with a career as an RN.

And I really just don’t have a time like I used to (isn’t that everyone’s dilemma?). Since Zoe graced us with her presence the only times I have really truly been able to meditate have been when I have been lucky enough to squeeze in an actual studio yoga class. Which to be honest, is not frequently.

I do some yoga at home every day. But it’s mostly some stretching, a couple a sun salutations, an inversion or two, and then I call it a day. Sometimes I may even get to do it twice (usually next to my daughter if she’ll play long enough by herself) for anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes or so.

Thing is I never actually get to the meditation part. And I am really craving more meditation in my life.

So one of my new goals is to try and fit in 10 minutes of meditation every day. No excuses!

This is where the app, Headspace, comes into play.

Do not disturb sign

Mediation requires at least a few minutes of uninterrupted time. Don’t confuse meditation with taking a nap!

As I mentioned earlier, my husband introduced me to this app a couple of months ago. He had just completed 30 straight days of practicing meditation with it. I had noticed that he had been chill in recent days, and now I know why.

I had thought he was just laying down to take a quick nap. Ha! He was actually listening to the app on his headphones under the covers. Sneaky…

I dabbled with the app for the first time a few weeks ago. I tried sitting still with my headphones on while sitting on my couch while my daughter was napping. But my heart wasn’t in it and I just couldn’t get into the idea of using an app for meditation. So I quit.

But this week I got some interesting news that reminded me that I need to be taking better care of myself and not stressing myself out to the max! I won’t go into that now. But the point is it can be a good thing to get a little nudge of consciousness that says the only person responsible for your health is you!

Funny, that’s the exact thing I say to my patients. Hmmm….

So now I’m giving this Headspace app thingy a whole new chance. If it works so well for my husband, why am I not all over this thing?

I tried it tonight and it was, well, nice actually. I definitely chilled out, felt my muscles melting into the floor, much like I used to after yoga class.

The instructor has a nice soft British voice that was calm and cool and walked me through the process of letting go of my thoughts.

It felt really awesome to be meditating again actually. I’m going to try to do it tomorrow before I get out of bed. If I happen to wake up before Zoe does.

Ill let you know how I feel after 30 days!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Recommended Reading

8 Ways Nurses Can Stay Healthy

Nurse Life:   How To Find A Work Life Balance

Why Nurses Need To Practice Yoga:  Self Care For The Caregiver

7 Ways To Beat Nurse Burnout

A Mom’s Guide To Self Care

A Mom’s Guide To Self Care

Happy Mothers Day!

The celebration of Mother’s Day serves as a good reminder to give a little extra thanks and acknowledgment for all the extraordinary work Moms do.

Unfortunately, it’s only one day out of a whopping 365 days in the whole year. So, what about the rest of the time?

Sadly, many of my mama friends don’t include a little self-love and tenderness into their lives on a regular basis.

As a Mama and registered nurse, I have to confess I am guilty of working myself to the core without giving it a second thought. Besides, aren’t Moms (and nurses) supposed to be selfless creatures who put the needs of all others before their own?

Well, no obviously (that was a rhetorical question, duh). But many of us have that false belief etched inside of our brains.

Sometimes as an RN I feel like a Mom to many of my patients. I’m putting their needs before my own for 12 straight hours. I endlessly hold my pee (I actually gave myself a bladder infection about a month ago). Often I work to a point of angry hunger. My heels are usually burning at the end of my shift.

Then when I’m at home, I want to spend all of my time with my daughter, despite sheer exhaustion from my workdays. What is a Mom supposed to do when there is not a lot of opportunity for self-care?

I don’t like getting childcare unless I have to be at work or my husband and I have a date night. Not because I feel guilty or can’t afford it, but because I really don’t want to.

I love being Mom. My little lady has the most contagious giggle… the most excited expressions every time she sees a “doggie”… the loudest, ear-piercing scream when she’s gone past her tired threshold (OK, so I don’t love that part, but I do love the bear hugs she gives when she’s getting sleepy, they are the best!).

My point is, being a Mom means giving more of myself than I ever thought I could ever give another human. Motherhood forces me to face fears I never even knew existed (some pretty crazy things run through my mind at times).

Mothers Day

Moms need to make self care a priority.

But I, like all Moms, am grateful to do it, even on the hardest of days.

But… and there and there is a BIG but…

Who’s supposed to take care of Mom?

Well… Mom does.

That the thing about being a Mom. The person who knows best how to take care of Mom is Mom.

The only person who can really make sure all your needs are being met is YOU, Mom.

The only person who can know that a bubble bath and a cup of tea (or wine) is exactly what you need after a long day of managing to keep tiny humans safe and alive, is… yes you guessed it.. Mom!

That’s because we are wise, multitasking superheros, capable of managing our own and other’s needs. We are the most magnificent, intelligent, masters of life! (maybe a wee bit of an exaggeration, but it’s Mother’s Day so humor me!).

If we don’t give self-care to ourselves, then it’s impossible to be what our kiddos need us to be.

That is the greatest part! We have the absolute best reason to give ourselves all the care and love we need. Because our children benefit from the mature, wise decision we make as Moms to care for ourselves so we can continue to keep the earth rotating around the sun. Also because when Mom is out of commission, things fall apart.

The Mom guide to self-care 365 days a year:

1. Keep moving.

I am a fierce lover of my yoga practice. Unfortunately, since my daughter’s birth it has become increasingly more and more difficult to get to my favorite yoga studio in Manhattan Beach, The Green Yogi.

After months of agonizing frustration due to not making it to classes, I finally arrived at the perfect solution: The Green Yogi Online! My studio offers dozens of yoga practices online for only 15$ a month. This way I can practice yoga at home at any time of the day for as long or short as I want with my favorite instructors.

Sometimes it may only 10 be minutes of Zen yoga. But any amount is better than nothing!

Seriously whoever came up with this idea is a freaking genius. I have no more excuses because I literally have my yoga practice at my fingertips. Its a lifesaver, I tell you.

2. Sleep, Sister.

Sleep is essential for life. That extra episode of television is not worth the agony of next day exhaustion. Browsing through a cell phone before bed will actually make it harder to fall asleep and will disrupt the quality of your sleep. Without sleep, you go completely insane. There is a reason sleep deprivation is used as a torture method.

I try to get into bed around 9 pm and be asleep by 9:30-9:45. It doesn’t always work out that way, but I feel so much better when it does.

3. Take a relaxing bath.

For me, taking a bath is like flipping an internal switch from action Mom to Zen Mom. No matter how crazy the day is I can turn it off with a bath. I add a few essentials oils and bath salts and voila! It’s a makeshift spa session. If I can do this 1 time per week after I per my daughter down, it helps a lot.

4. Nourish your temple.

Eat whole, organic foods, including many plants. There is no secret diet menu, what the billion-dollar diet industry is telling you.

I try to make a hot, antioxidant-rich turmeric tea every day if I can. You can read more about the health benefits of turmeric and find my recipe here:

I have a 95-5 rule. If I am really good to myself 95% of the time (i.e. exercise, eat healthy, meditate, do yoga) then I can relax and not worry about it the other 5% of the time (have some wine, yummy dessert, chill). Some weeks it’s closer to a 90-10 rule, and less frequently a special occasion may be closer to an 85-15 rule (Mom needs to have a little fun sometimes too!).

My point: The occasional indulgence is a nice thing so long as you treat your body good on the regular!

We can’t expect our kids to eat well if we don’t. We are responsible for teaching our children healthy habits from a young age so that they grow up with the nourishment they need to grow, learn, and be amazing humans.

5. Get off social media.

I stopped using social media for one week and had a lot of really great benefits as a result.

Stop comparing your life to others. By decreasing your use of social media you will be left with significantly less distraction and be more present in more important daily activities.

Social media is not a real representation of what is going on in people’s lives. It is a magnification of what people want you to see: slivers of primarily positive information that appears flawless, effortless and often like never-ending, spontaneous fun (don’t we all want to project the best parts of ourselves). Its also full of marketing, branding and sales gimmicks nowadays too.

Take the time that social media is stealing from you and apply it directly into being engaged in the most important stuff. Like spending uninterrupted time with your family.

6. Just say no.

Give yourself permission to prioritize the things that are most important to you. Mom’s needs come before getting every little chore completed. The laundry can wait until tomorrow if needed. The toys aren’t doing any permanent damage by laying on the floor a little longer. No one is going to die.

Sometimes when I put my daughter down for a nap I have the intention of getting several chores out of the way. But I end of taking a nap myself instead. Guess what, I feel so much better!

It’s impossible to do every little thing. At some point we just have to say no. No apologies, just no.

7. Meditate and have gratitude.

I found a resource that has completely revolutionized my meditation practice. It’s called Headspace and it is an app that helps to make meditation more attainable for busy people. Read more about my experience with this app here.

Headspace has dozens of different meditations each lasting from 10 minutes to 1 hour. So I really don’t have an excuse that I don’t have time, because 10 minutes is all I need. This app is genius.

Take good care of yourself, Moms!

Additional recommended reading Simple Mom Self-Care Goals You Need Now