Written on: 17 February 2022
Written by: Anna Peart
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What do you get if you combine a global pandemic with the everyday pressures of learning new skills and completing an apprenticeship? If “stressed out” is the answer that comes to mind, we’re on the same page. Sometimes, tackling a full-time job, an apprenticeship, and a life outside of work can become overwhelming.
Baltic have recognised the challenges everyone has faced over the past 24 months, and have provided all their apprentices with the chance to create a free Headspace account.
As I’m currently undertaking an apprenticeship myself, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for me to attempt the Headspace 10-day meditation and mindfulness challenge.
Headspace is a popular app packed with mindfulness tools, guided meditations, feel-good workouts, and relaxing sleepcasts. Headspace is a great way to help you lead a happier, stress-free life inside and outside the office. According to their research, just 10 days of Headspace can decrease stress by 14% - which is definitely worth a try!
Before the challenge, I’d never meditated before and at first, I was sceptical as to whether mindfulness could reduce my everyday stress. After looking around on the app, I could see that all the sessions are quite short, so it really doesn’t take too much time out of your day. I scheduled in 15 minutes before I started my work each day to make sure I had time for the courses.
This was my first meditation of the 10-day challenge. The introduction course is called “basics” and is the first of a series of short tutorials to help you get started with meditation. This session was mostly an introduction to the course, but it did make me feel instantly more relaxed! I struggled not to let my mind drift from the meditation, but apparently this is completely normal for people who haven’t meditated before.
Next on the list was a sleepcast. This one was a short 6-minute meditation to introduce the sleep course. It mainly focused on concentrating on your breathing. With the focus on relaxation and sleep, I did this one after work – and was glad I did!
Day 3 was the second session of the Basics course, so I was back to my morning routine. This session was all about the idea of busyness. This resonated with me as it’s the middle of National Apprenticeship Week, and the whole team are all really busy with creating and posting content. Listening to this helped me relax and put everything into perspective. I started my day with a clear mind.
The theme for Day 4 was a strange concept to me, as I’ve never thought about or heard of walking mindfully. I listened to this session as I went to get my lunch. Because I work in London, I chose “walking in the city.” This activity was a bit longer than usual, but it was interesting as it helped me zone out a little from the hustle and bustle of city life.
This is the halfway point of the 10 Days of Headspace Challenge. By this point I was definitely starting to feel some of the benefits of meditation! Day 5 consisted of the third instalment of the “Basics” course. I was in quite a stressed mood today as I had a lot on at work, but this session helped clear my mind and have a more positive outlook on the day.
This was one of my favourite sessions! It was based around focusing on your senses as you eat or drink. Normally I'm used to rushing and eating my lunch at my desk. This session made sure I took my time with my lunch break and focused on my senses as I ate.
Another day, another “Basics” session. Each episode builds on the basic techniques for meditation, and so this one was similar to the others but still effective. I instantly felt more relaxed and ready for a positive start to my workday.
Outside of the Basics course, I wanted to explore some of the themed stand-alone meditations in the app. Today, I chose “Refresh.” This meditation was only 3 minutes long and was based on releasing tension in the body using a visualisation technique.
Coming to the end of the basics course, I really noticed how much easier it was to get into the zone for meditation and really focus on my breathing at the start. My mind still wandered as the session went on, but it was definitely easier to notice and get myself back on track!
I started with an “everyday headspace” today, which is a daily meditation on the app’s homepage. At lunch time I listened to the walking exercise again but found it quite distracting today! I’m not 100% sure that mindful walking is for me…
However, before bed I finished the day off by listening to the “Goodnight” sleepcast. I don’t remember the end as I fell straight asleep – which is a good sign! If you struggle to switch off at night after a busy day in the office, I would highly recommend the sleep meditations.
After completing the challenge, I can absolutely say I will be using Headspace regularly inside and outside of work, even if it’s just a short 15-minute meditation.
I’ve always been reluctant to try meditation as I didn’t think that it would be beneficial for me. But the 10-day challenge was great as it showed me a variety of different meditation activities and I’ve been able to decide which type I prefer. I definitely benefitted most from the sleep meditations – I will now be using them regularly!
Now that the 10-day challenge is complete, there is still so much to explore in Headspace, and I’m excited to continue my journey. According to Headspace, after 30 days people report feeling 325% less stressed, 14.5% more life satisfaction, and 11% more resilient. Bring it on!
If you’re enrolled on a Baltic Apprenticeship, you can claim your free Headspace account. Check your emails and induction materials for the link, or ask your Learning Mentor or Coach for more information.