Over the last couple of weeks, so much happened around the world that it is hard to always feel good and positive. The situation regarding COVID-19 in Sweden is slightly different than in other parts of the world. But of course, we are affected by it. We are both working from home for the last 4 weeks and we have been through a lot of emotions. Dealing with these emotions, being far from home and not able to fly back has been a struggle for us (especially me, Héloïse), and so we wanted to share some of our experiences with mindfulness and meditation. We hope that this article can help you in this difficult time!
Erikas started mediation some months ago, way before IT affected the world and I’ve always been wondering how this worked. My experience with meditation not being very successful (yet), I have found other alternatives to free my mind and thoughts.
Please note that the below is only based on our experiences – but we are open to talk about it and most importantly to learn new things! So if you have any tips or experiences regarding mindfulness and meditation, you’d like to share, please do so!
I (Erikas) have first tried meditation back in the summer of 2017. Back then, I had a very stressful and emotionally draining summer, so I’ve tried using it just to help me fall asleep. To my surprise, it turned out to be pretty effective. After that, I’ve forgotten all bout it and didn’t use it until the end of 2019, when I felt I needed it again. However, this time I looked into it a bit more, did some research and found out the ways to apply it better.
How to start meditation?
First of all, you need to understand that meditation is not something out of this world. By practicing it, your soul will not be uplifted and you will not have enlightenment. It will simply allow you to rest your racing mind for a bit and will give you a break from thinking about the past or future.
Secondly, to start meditating you don’t need to have any experience, special tools or beliefs. You can practice it anytime at home, on your couch or chair. Though, to help you get started I would recommend using one of the two apps: Headspace or Calm. Both of these apps offer a great range of guided meditation sessions, which teaches you simple, yet effective breathing exercises as well as ways to look at stressful thoughts.
So, lastly, how does it help me, you may wonder. Well, for me, it helps to calm down, reduce stress and slow down the constantly racing mind which negatively affects sleep. Also, it provides me with a different perspective. So, for instance, if I’m convinced that I’ll lose my job and everything will turn to shit. The different points of view would help me approach this thought from another angle.
In short, download the app, put your headphones on and find a quiet space to sit for 10 minutes. You’ll see how not having any distractions and just sitting still for a moment would give your mind a rest.
As I mentioned earlier, meditation has not been a great success for me. But over time, I realized that there are other ways to meditate or at least to free the mind from thoughts and relax it. Here below are some of the things I found the most useful and that I do daily! The best thing about it is that you can also start from scratch, and you can do it every day.
What works best for me is when I dedicate some time to these activities. Even if it is just 15 minutes a day, but I know I will have this “alone time” to focus on myself.
Back in the day, ‘keeping a diary’ was the term used. Now, it has changed to journalling, however, the point remained the same. Writing down your thoughts, ideas or simply logging what has happened during the day is another great form of meditation. The good thing about it, is that there are no rules. You simply open a notebook and write down what interesting you’ve observed, what you learned or how you felt. If it’s hard for you to reflect on the past, you can write your plans for the future. Speculate on business ideas or simply note what would you like to read or watch in the nearest future.
Journalling is a great mindfulness and meditation practice as it helps to ease the mind. Because all the thinking and planning that is constantly occupying your mind can be put on paper. I found it useful to write down the things that bothered me today. As well as things that I’m happy with or enjoyed doing throughout the day. Finally, it’s beneficial to write down all the things you wanna do the next day. That way your mind will not keep you busy thinking about that just when you put your head on the pillow.
Believe it or not, but I wanted to learn how to knit for a while already! But I never really dedicated time for it, and always found excuses not to do it. “But I don’t know how to do”, “I’ve no one to teach me”, or “I’ll start tomorrow”… Right. I guess, at this point, we all know how this works!
So I started to dedicate time to it. One day, I just went to an arts and crafts shop, got some supplies and in the evening I opened YouTube. I have learned all by myself and started with some basics. Basically, just knitting something and trying to complete rows. After all, if you don’t try, how can you know if you like it or not?!
After a while of practicing making a ton of squares, I started making scarfs for the teddy bears we have at home. It might sound silly, but it is a great way to practice. The good thing about knitting is seeing the progress and improvement. It does require focusing at first, to get used to it and get the automation going. But after a while, it is so relaxing! I enjoy knitting now and even though the projects I started are simple and candid, it is a good way to start a new hobby while staying home!
A few weeks ago, I started coloring in an old coloring book I got years ago. And to my biggest surprise, I loved it! As the patterns of the drawings were quite similar, and “easy”, I got a new book with only mandalas. I enjoy this one as it takes longer to color, but also you need to be more focused.
It may not be the most obvious form of mindfulness and meditation, but if like me, you always need to do things… I find coloring being a good alternative, as I have my hands busy but I get to free my mind for the time I color. Actually, I find it the most relaxing or helpful when being stressed, or before sleep, if I need to calm down.
⇒ We hope that this article gave you some insights on how to free your mind, and how to relax your brain when being overloaded with information! We are really looking forward to hearing your feedback on it and we hope we can share experiences all together!
⇒ Do you know we have a newsletter? We send it once a month – don’t miss it!