As I wrote in my November editor’s letter, it’s been a big year for me: My husband’s job relocated us to Seattle for 12 months, I started my own business, and I’m expecting a baby, oh, any day now. Needless to say, I’ve had some times when I’ve been a little stressed out, especially over the last month, as I’ve tried to get our lives ready for a baby, and do as much work for my business as I possibly can so I’m able to take some form of maternity leave after the little guy gets here.
An unfortunate side effect of trying to manage weekly doctor’s appointments, client phone calls, baby-care classes, and an increased workload is: I feel like I suck at everything. While I’m at the doctor I forget to ask important questions because I’m thinking about the emails I have to respond to as soon as I leave, or while I’m researching a blog topic for a client, I end up getting side-tracked and placing a bulk order for baby wipes instead.
Because 1., I don’t feel like this is the most efficient way to live, and 2., I don’t want to accidentally miss out on the first months of my baby’s life while I’m composing emails in my head instead of actually taking in the moment, I decided to try something I’ve never done before: meditation.
I’ve always heard meditation can work wonders on your ability to relax and focus, but I’ve never tried it because quieting my mind, going slow, and sitting still just aren’t really in my nature. I’m more “competitive spin class” than “gentle yogi.” So, I decided I needed some help with this new idea.
When I found out about Mazlo, an online coaching service that offers programs in things like mindful eating, body language, and yes, meditation, I decided it would be an easy way to give it a go. I registered for the 14-day Mindfulness Meditation program, and heard from my coach the next day. The idea was for me to carve out 10 minutes every day for guided meditation. Each day’s practice would be slightly different, offering various techniques and metaphors designed to help me make the most out of my practice. Though the meditation exercises were pre-recorded, my coach would offer me personal feedback based on my progress and feedback on each meditation through recorded video messages.
Here’s how it went:
On day 1 (and day 2 and 3 and maybe even 4) I’ll admit it was hard for me to get through the 10 minutes without opening my eyes to see if we were almost done. I even thought about just muting the recording and doing a little Christmas shopping or checking email instead. But then, I’d realize that these thoughts were exactly why I needed to get through these exercises. I want to be able to focus on something for more than 30 seconds without getting distracted. As the time went on, it began to get easier, and I found myself able to focus for increasingly longer periods of time.
Like anything, there were some meditation strategies I learned that really stuck with me more than others: for some reason I found that counting my breaths helped me concentrate and stay in the moment longer, while I could’t quite grasp one of the metaphors of picturing myself as a mountain. By the end of the 14 days, I was also happy to find that I was no longer opening my eyes to check the time — I’d call that progress! I also tried using the meditation techniques and focusing on my breath as a way to help me fall asleep at night, and found that to be surprisingly effective, too.
Though the program hasn’t completely changed my life overnight — it’s called a practice for a reason — I do feel like I have some new tools for helping me be present, and I catch myself more often when my mind starts wandering during the day, both goals I’d set for myself before I started the program. I’m still practicing my meditation for 10 minutes a day, and am banking on it helping me stay sane when I have a newborn to take of and a business to run.
Cross your fingers for me.
Want to try out Mindfulness Meditation (and any of Mazlo’s other programs) for yourself? Use code LCZEN when you sign up for 80% off your class fee!
*This post was sponsored by Mazlo and services were provided complimentary, though experiences and opinions are honest and my own.