Your calmest Christmas ever...?
The run-up to the big Christmas break - with all the pressures of family, present-buying, dashing round the country to pull crackers, office parties - can be a really stressful time. But for Jo in 2014, it's been different - thanks to Headspace, a meditation App that she downloaded some time ago but only got round to using after a near-meltdown in late November, when she knew something had to give (and didn't want it to be her!)
'I've meditated before, often and intermittently, but always found it really hard to stick to it regularly - and sometimes very difficult to focus if I'm feeling frazzled,' explains Jo. But the introductory Headspace Take 10 meditation series changed all that. 'You set aside just 10 minutes a day - and follow a guided meditation, which is on some days prefaced with little helpful (and stylish) cartoon films, to explain what's happening and how to make the process easier.'
For the first time, explains Jo, 'I stuck to my meditation for 10 days straight. I've literally sailed through what is normally a totally frenzied time of year feeling calm and flexible - which is the best way to be, since plans often go awry at this time of year.'
Jo's now graduated to the 15-minutes a day meditation series (this is paid-for, as opposed to the free introduction - 'but worth every penny!' insists Jo). Next up? 20 minute sessions. 'If you'd asked me two months ago: do I have 20 minutes a day to set aside for this, I'd have answered "no",' she concludes. 'Now I figure I don't have time NOT to...'
Headspace was created by Andy Puddicombe - and as one article put it, 'he's doing for mindfulness and meditation what Jamie Oliver did for food...'
If you're thinking ahead to New Year's resolutions - or in the meantime, want to lower the stress level before the turkey (or Tofurkey, in Jo's case) goes in the oven - we suggest you get yourself some Headspace at the iTunes Store...