My monkey brain when I wake up in the morning: What news about Coronavirus? How many new virus cases are in Estonia? What’s happening in other countries? How is it all influencing e-commerce and logistics? What’s going to happen with my coaching job? What do I need to do today? Oh, there are so many things and thoughts! I can’t stay in my bed any longer.
For the past couple of weeks, my mind has followed a similar pattern every morning. I wake up with anxiety and rush to get satisfaction from accomplishing some task. I feel that there is so much to do, so much to read, new ideas and worries popping into my head.
The easiest place to start ticking the boxes is my phone. I have a look at news, social media, work mail… And after half an hour wasted, I am filled with bad news, jealousy, and burden of workload. For the rest of the day, I will be in search of similar stimulations, a need to quickly tick off things from the to-do list. While from one side it feels productive, it kills my capability to focus and work on something bigger.
But my mornings haven’t been always like this. For at least 2 years, I have been meditating for 10-20 minutes every workday morning to start my day with focus and good vibe. So far, I have not been sure if it helps or I do it because self-help influencers recommend it.
What happened with my habit?
Two weeks ago, I got an email that a new kitchen for our apartment will be ready in 5 days. It kick-started the process of home renovation – getting rid of an old kitchen, installing electricity for the new kitchen, painting walls, kitchen installation, and numerous other small unforeseeable tasks.
Around the same time, it was announced that Coronavirus has reached Estonia. A cycle of bad news started to fill the media, Facebook, and almost every conversation I had. It meant that we needed to the go forward with the renovation as fast as we could, otherwise there is a chance that we need to postpone it because of movement restrictions.
On the side, there were other important events: changes of personnel in my Post11 Product Management Department, weekly SPIN-programme sessions, a start of new football season with Keila, an International Woman’s day and so on…
This all meant that I needed to use my time even more efficiently than before and I had to cut some unnecessary activities. Sleeping time got shorter, morning meditations were dismissed (phone time stayed).
Getting off the treadmill
After very hectic and tiring two weeks, I can proudly look over to the new kitchen while writing the post. Majority of home renovation is done.
Meanwhile, I am on mandatory homestay from work and there are no Spin-programme sessions because of the virus outbreak. This could mean that I should have time to relax a bit and regain my stability.
Still, it has been hard to overcome the anxious feeling. Working from the home office is tricky. A kitchen table, which is no turned into office table, is in the middle of the apartment and there is no outside boundary between work, leisure or any other time. My addicted mind won’t easily leave from “work” because it wants to tick-off more things from the task list. But no matter how many things I accomplish, at the end of the day, I still feel that it’s not enough.
Luckily, a couple of days ago I found a tool that seems to help. I started my morning meditation routine again and I quickly understood how important this activity is for me. Especially now, in an anxious, overwhelming, uncertain situation.
Meditation allows me to breathe, take a look inside, let go of anxious thoughts, and quiet my mind. After morning meditation, I feel that I have control over my day.
Even if on some days it’s difficult to quiet my brain, I feel meditation helps me to cut the stimulus addiction cycle. It helps me to fight with the rush to read news and social media. I am more focused and have more clarity throughout the day, which is essential in the current noisy unstable environment.
To be honest, I am still a bit embarrassed to openly talk about meditation, as I have previously seen it a bit silly, spiritual and religious activity. Being still a beginner, I am truly surprised how many different meditation types, techniques and variations are out there. It’s far more practical than the image I had in my head.
I encourage meditation for everyone. In the beginning, it can be only for 5-10 minutes to learn and start a habit. There probably won’t be any fast visual outcome first, but one day it could play an important role in fighting against an overwhelming situation.
The app I use for my meditations: Insight Timer