Stop Doing, Start Stopping – We put meditation and exercise through their paces!

So September is disappearing in a whirlwind (quite literally with storms Ali and Bronagh) of ‘back to school’ madness, autumnal weather and the reminder that Christmas is less than 100 days away!

The sunny memories of holidays, ice cream and demands of office air con’ are fading and instead our minds turn to office Xmas party arrangements, collecting children from school, Christmas shopping and when to give in and turn the central heating on!
So when your mind is so busy focusing on all of these things coupled with the demand of work and business deadlines how do you make time for you?
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be focusing a little of our attention on just that! Wellbeing.

We’re not talking Thai Chi on the roof top of your office building (although we’d love an invite if you are!), just small manageable suggestions for the benefit of you, your employees, your family, and your business!

Our first introduction is to mental wellbeing and how technology can give an efficient, accessible and easy way to learn techniques such as meditation.
Our office GDPR guru turned Guinea Pig, Katie is trying out an App called Headspace and will be tweeting and blogging her experience; here’s an introduction, keep tuned to see how Katie get’s on:

“Meditation?! Finding time for meditation?” I’ll admit that it seemed a difficult concept to try and take a few minutes in between kids, working full time, and trying to train for a half marathon to just sit…doing nothing? To me it conjured up images of people sat cross-legged on a mountain, humming, whilst listening to panpipes…I may need a little convincing… But here goes.

The ‘hubster’(aka husband) and I both signed up to a free month of the Headspace App, which had been recommended by one of our friends, and committed that we would try our up most to not deviate each day.

Headspace is one of many apps built to provide -in their own words a “simple way to reframe stress. Relax with guided meditations and mindfulness techniques that bring calm, wellness and balance to your life in just a few minutes a day. Plus, we have meditations on sleep to help you create the ideal conditions for a good night’s rest.”

And there certainly seem to be many fans of the easily accessible, animated, and simply user-friendly app, some quoting that it “saved their life”.

So what does it do? It teaches the technique of mindfulness meditation.
Through research into the science behind its benefits in a modern world and drawing on the traditional practices rooted in ancient history.

How? The app seems well designed with a series of short, focused animations on common themes that people of all ages may at one point in their life become more distracted by, or struggle to manage. From managing anxiety, stress, sleep, grief, relationships, work and performance topics, sport coaching, right through to meditation for children such as calmness, waking up and paying attention.
Together with a library of resources, research and mini meditation sessions this seems to be an app designed for all scenarios, those that have full commitment to long meditation sessions, or people who have time constraints and need short bursts of focused time.

What do I need to do? The app starts from the basics. Each day you can do as little as 3 minutes of meditation or as much as you like of course.
Simply find a quiet, comfortable place, download the app and take 3 minutes for you.

Is there a cost? You can try the Basics for free, and this should give a good introduction to whether this app is for you.
After that it’s charged at £9.99 per month (£6.25 a month if you pay in one sum) to unlock the full app, all meditation packs, and library resources. I’ll admit that’s quite a commitment but perhaps it depends on the impact it has on you as an individual and whether the benefits outweigh the cost?
How many of us subscribe to gym memberships in January of £15+ per month, never to use it, nor gain any benefit? Perhaps this could be the ‘gym workout for the brain’ instead?

So no sitting cross-legged on a mountain then? No. Unless that’s your thing, and you have a mountain to hand! On day 1 I escaped to the porch if I’m honest!

And no humming? No, I mean we’re not judging if you want to hmm the App won’t hear it! The basics consist of a calm (but not annoying) voice of Andy Puddicombe, TED talker, teacher, author, the co-founder of Headspace and former Tibetan Buddhist.

Keep tuned in to find out how I get on!…

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