Meditation kind of saved my sanity. And that’s not an exaggeration.
“How do you manage to do it all?”
I had been getting that question since I returned to work after Rho was born. Here’s the truth about ‘having it all’:
- I don’t have it all, even if that’s what it looks like.
- I can’t say no – which is actually a problem.
- I have an insane amount of help, between my husband, parents and in-laws, nanny, and many other folks that make up our village.
- I was a downright mess on most days
About 4 months after Rho was born, I still struggled with feeling like myself. The smallest things set me off, and I was permanently in a foul mood.
Exercise didn’t help. Neither did my half-assed attempts at meditation. In short – I was a witch to my family, to my co-workers, and even to my friends.
It wasn’t normal. It was, in fact, postpartum depression.
And while the diagnosis gave me some peace and the medicine rebalanced my brain’s chemicals, I still wasn’t feeling 100%. More like 70%.
Four things helped me return to normal:
- The aforementioned medicine.
- Exercise (currently, a morning walk with Rho. To get my heart rate up, I’ll push the stroller ahead of me and sprint to catch up. Do this 15 times in a stretch and you’re golden)
- Therapy (something that requires its own post)
- Meditation. Yes, really.
Meditation is one of those things I will never feel ‘good’ at.
Knowing that is the first lesson of meditation.
My meditation journey (which sounds so pretentious, I know) began out of necessity, when I basically had a meltdown in front of my and my husband’s families.
It wasn’t pretty.
I personally thrive on data and immediate feedback (the app changes the intensity of sound based on your brain activity), so I dusted off my Muse headset and began using it again every day.
I only stopped using it because I forgot to charge my Muse. I then turned to the Samsara app (which I discovered after Googling ‘Billions Bobby Axelrod meditation app’).
I do love you, Google.
I’ve been using the app exclusively for the past few months. It’s a no-frills meditation timer that is clean, elegant, and easy to use. And totally worth the $4.99 price.
I also adopted my husband’s meditation method of counting up to 10, rather than focusing on my breath or on a particular mantra. When I feel my mind wandering, I count “1, 2” repeatedly until I feel settled again.
10 minutes in the morning (5, if I slept in accidentally). 10 at night. That’s all it takes.
While I have no clue if my brain has more gray matter, I do feel markedly less stressed and more focused at work. My co-founder even remarked how much happier I seemed.
And my family? I think they’re relieved that I’m not screaming or crying at the drop of a pin.
Meditation is like a bra, or a pair of shoes. The fit is really important, and what works for me may not work for you. Here’s a roundup of meditation resources that I’ve either used or had recommended to me by folks I trust:
- Meditation classes/sits. One of the best ways to cultivate a meditation practice is to learn how to do it. I’ve personally attended a session hosted by the companies listed below, and can vouch that they are great. Most importantly, they work. I still attend them when I’m feeling overwhelmed or chaotic.
- Guided meditations. I’m personally not a fan of guided meditations via an app, but many friends swear by them. These are some of the best of the best:
- Meditation timers. I prefer to meditate on counting numbers, rather than listening to a guide or focusing on my breath. I’ve tried and liked all of these apps, but Samsara is definitely my favorite.
- Meditation technology. In short, the Muse. I love this headset and still use it occasionally to see how I’m doing. If you have some extra cash to burn and thrive on data and feedback, this is the way to go.
- Transcedental meditation (TM). Truth be told, I’m dying to do the Transcedental Meditation training. There’s a marked difference in my friends pre-TM and post-TM. And if it makes me as happy, calm, and focused as they are, I’m in. Even with the hefty investment.
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Do you meditate? What’s your practice like – morning, night, guided, counting, classes, etc? COMMENT below and let me know!