‘I tried mindfulness for a month...’


Vitality Magazine writer, Olivia Matsell, took on meditation for 30 days – here’s how it went

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When I heard that 27% of Vitality members who use Headspace saw a greater improvement in their mental wellbeing (1), I knew I had to give it a go for myself.

But more times than I care to admit, I have started something and after a few days it’s been dropped never to return.

So, when I set myself this task - to set aside some ‘me time’ for 30 days flat – it seemed like a daunting ask to say the least.

Week 1  Starting from scratch

To get started, I enrolled onto a basic 10-day meditation course plucked from Headspace’s daily list.

Here, you pick the voice (or teacher) to lead you through the sessions (I chose the dulcet tones of Andy). These you can also download to take on the move if you prefer.

Softly, he introduced me to the programme, and I was able to garner a better understanding of what mindfulness actually is; what it’s supposed to feel like and how long I should be doing it for. I soon realised it was more than relaxation, but also about finding new ways to observe my emotions and make peace with my surroundings.

Week 2 – Getting in the flow

By the time day 11 rolled around, I had even started to look forward to it. I started logging into Headspace’s recommended daily list.

It’s all there for you in one place, so if I was short of time (which happens most days), it was quick and easy to get access.

I spent the lion’s share of my time taking in five-minute bite-sized meditation sessions that I could fit into my weekday – but activities last between one and 20 minutes, if you are looking for a longer session.

At the weekend, when I felt like I have more time on my hands, I would extend the time if I felt the need to, and relaxing on the weekend wasn’t as hard to do... in total, I was managing nearer 30 minutes of intentional mindfulness in a single day.

Week 3 – Choosing to prioritise my mind

By week three, I was taking on sessions that felt more advanced for a mindfulness newbie.

Breathing exercises turned out to be my favourite part as it brought my attention to the present, helping me to focus my mind.

I didn’t expect to really love it, but before long I found myself scrolling for it, often multiple times a day. Either to meditate, or just to set aside some much-appreciated time for myself.

Week 4 – The body scan discovery

When week four arrived, I started to wonder whether I would keep finding time to continue – then I discovered the ‘body scan’.

The feeling of scanning myself from head to toe put me into the right headspace (who knew!?). It gave me moments of realisation of how I felt, allowing me to take ownership of my wellbeing.

At the end of the month, I genuinely felt more positive and that my overall focus had improved, particularly with how I approached everyday tasks, conversations and my overall mood.

In a way, Headspace (Andy included) has been my mind’s best friend for the past four weeks. I plan on continuing to use Headspace and getting to know more about the courses on offer, maybe even as part of my self-care routine… to be continued!

At Vitality, we’re all about encouraging our members to make small positive lifestyle choices that can make a big impact to their lives.

As a Vitality member, you could get a 12-month Headspace subscription on us. Available with qualifying health insurance and life insurance.

Log in to Member Zone for the details.

(1) Vitality research into member use of Vitality Programme, 2023

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