Getting a head start

“We can’t direct the wind. But we can adjust the sails.” Dolly Parton

I’ve had a tricky few months. I lost a family member in January, so everything’s been on hold, and my mind’s been on lots of other things. My creative mojo took a bit of a hit too. I was having restless nights, eating and drinking all the wrong things, and I needed a bit of direction. So I turned to Headspace.

If you’ve not heard of it, Headspace is a guided meditation led by former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe that you do for just ten minutes a day. Ten minutes! What else can you do in that time? I’m willing to bet you spend more time than that just scrolling through your social media feed, channel hopping in front of the TV, or having a tea break. So if you’d like to get some balance back in your life, I’d really recommend analysing that dead time in your day, and making it your Headspace slot. For me, it’s after I’ve had my dinner, while my husband’s loading the dishwasher (he’s well trained like that). I pop my PJs on, close the bedroom door and have some quiet time – just me and Andy.

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When I started my Headspace journey, hearing Andy’s voice was a pivotal moment. I’d tried and failed with various other meditation apps in the past, but I could never really relax with what I was hearing. Other people’s voices grated, but like Goldilocks’ porridge, Andy’s is just right. Calm and measured, it washes over you and makes it possible to listen to all the other stuff that’s going on inside you (this is quite a lot, as it turns out). As a comms geek, the branding of Headspace was also massively appealing. They know just how to get a message across succinctly in a really charming way. Watch this adorable animation to see what I mean. I should say at this point that Headspace offer a free ‘Take 10’ trial, so you can give it a go for ten days and it won’t cost you a penny.

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When you first sit down to meditate, you might find it tricky. That’s because you’re learning a new skill, and you need to actually train your brain. I found my mind was like a naughty monkey – despite what I was trying to achieve, it kept jumping from one thought to another. But Andy has an uncanny knack for knowing exactly when this is happening, and he’ll remind you to keep focussed. Day five was a challenge. I got very itchy. FOR THE WHOLE TEN MINUTES. But I kept with it and resisted the urge to scratch, letting the thoughts come and go, and it was actually very liberating. On days six and seven, I had a bit of a moment where everything clicked into place. I had a lovely peaceful session somewhere in between wakefulness and sleep, and felt massively refreshed afterwards.

I’m finding it much easier to drift off to sleep since I started Headspace and I’m much more focussed doing everyday tasks. It’s also affecting me in ways I didn’t expect. I’ve stopped flitting around and multitasking at work, preferring instead to fully tackle the job at hand and move on to another only when I’m ready. Yesterday, during a train journey, I listened to the whole of Ed Sheeran’s new album, getting really absorbed in the lyrics and the musical styles of each song. It was a revelation not to treat music as just background noise while I mindlessly whizzed through the notifications on my phone. On the way home, I managed to bag a seat so I did my ten-minute session on a crowded Metropolitan Line train. I was amazed at the separation it gave me from the hustle and bustle. I felt protected and calm in an otherwise manic environment. Like I had a little force field around me. Finding some Headspace gave me a sense of stillness.

Twelve days in and I’ve paid upfront for a whole glorious year of meditation. I’ve now got access to the ‘singles’ meditations for things like sleeping, commuting and fear of flying, and I’m excited to take my new-found awareness to a whole new level, and build it into everyday life. I really look forward to my ten minutes with Headspace in the evening. And so, as spring approaches, the days get longer and the daffodils and blossom emerge, I feel like I’m also starting to bloom again – and it’s all thanks to Headspace.

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