Updated: Jan 16
This is the one self-care practice I'm doing in January that you might want to try, too.
Whether New Years resolutions are your thing or not, it's hard to enter a new year without some contemplation and assessment of how things are going when a new calendar year rolls around. This year, I'm not making any sweeping declarations. (I've learned I typically abandon those attempts by February.) Instead, I'm doing one simple thing a day that you should try.
As a therapist, I often recommend my clients begin some sort of meditation practice. This is helpful for all sorts of "problems" from anxiety to lack of focus. I have noticed, though, that many of my adult clients have an inaccurate, preconceived notion about what meditation is. (Kids and teens are much more amendable to the idea.) Images of sitting on a hard floor, criss-cross applesauce, with eyes closed while willing thoughts to stop usually come up. While this can be what meditation looks like, it's not the type I prefer.
As a matter of a fact, I don't really even like the word "meditate" because of the associations it brings up for people. One of my favorite apps that I love to recommend is Insight Timer. While other apps offer similar things, I've been using Insight Timer for years and love that it has so much free content. I am particularly fond of Insight Timer because it is where I first discovered the power of guided meditations. Without paying a penny, I am able to sort & filter to find something that works with the moment I am in. Only 5 minutes? There's a meditation for that! Want something to listen to help you fall asleep? There's a meditation for that! Looking for some motivating words to start your day? There's a meditation for that! I have even used Insight Timer with my own children on nights when sleep wasn't coming as easily. The app has a whole library of kid stories and meditations!
However, like Netflix, sometimes too many options can be daunting. That's where my New Year Habit recommendation comes in. Insight Timer is offering a free, 31-day challenge called Building Healthy Habits Challenge 2023. Only halfway through, I've already been exposed to so many helpful practices from Intention Setting to Flow Writing to Sound
Healing. Even though I've been meditating for a while (on and off--it's HARD sometimes, I know!), I've already found things that I plan to continue to incorporate into my life.
The two things I love the most are:
1) The meditations aren't really meditations at all. For example, the Flow Writing (Day 4) is an introduction to the practice of flow writing and most of the time is spent in silence writing. Bonus note: Sarah Blondin is my all-time favorite. You should check out her offerings in the app.
2) Many of the practices are less than 20 minutes long. Most are around 15 minutes, but there are a few that are 22-25 minutes. I've found that the shorter the meditation, the more likely I am to say, "What the heck....it's only 13 minutes.." and knock it out without much internal debate.
The idea is that in the 31 days you'll be exposed to 31 different practices that you may want to revisit as part of your self-care practice after the 31 days are over. In my opinion, this is a great for self-care newbies and experts alike. It is a perfect way to find new techniques or gurus that you haven't experienced before without being overwhelmed with options. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the app, the challenge, self-care, and meditating in general.