You enter your living room with nothing but a head full of thoughts and your cup of water.
You ponder where to sit with your meditation pillow for about 5 good minutes. Will you achieve better zen by the East-facing window with the sunlight or the West-Facing window facing the garden? Hmm… Tough call. But you go with the West. You place your pillow down, take a sip of water, and start to settle in.
Breathe in for 4 seconds. Hold for 4. Deep exhale for 8. Remember that any thoughts that arise in this silence are completely natural. Just try to focus your attention back on the present moment and any sensations you feel. Take another deep breath and breathe out.
If you feel calmer just from reading that, I’m deeply impressed. But, you know, meditation doesn’t have to be anything like that. It’s something that can happen in the bus on the way to the grocery store or that one kind of misplaced outdoor sofa you always see when you pass by your favorite wellness store.
Being mindful doesn’t have to be complicated and there’s no such thing as meditating the “right” way. It’s less about creating the perfect environment and more about allocating time to breathe and focus on the present. It’s about finding balance. And honestly, that’s been a lot harder to do these days.
We’ve been doing everything at home and I mean everything. Working, reading, sleeping, working out, testing out that Trader Joe’s mystery snack you saw on TikTok, and binge-watching the 14th consecutive episode of Schitt’s Creek (for the second time). It goes on.
With all that time spent in one place, especially if you’re working from home, it can be challenging to create the boundaries we used to have. Everything gets blurred and sometimes it’s easier to get caught up in work without taking real time to slow down. As we can expect, this can all begin to take a toll on our mental health. So, whether or not we’re working from home, we need to unplug from everything and create space to find balance. We need that.
Having recognized this necessity for balance, two of our Advertise Purple team members, Marissa V and Christina F, came together and brought it to us. And how? Well, the dynamic duo partnered with Unplug Meditation, a studio that offers a wealth of classes, to set up a virtual meditation session for everyone. `
“Since we’ve been virtual, Christina and I thought it would be great to spend more time focusing on the importance of mental health,” says Marissa about planning this event. “After reviewing all the class options Unplug offered, we were super excited to incorporate meditation as a team incentive.”
“Before COVID, we had a few in-office experiences with Unplug and loved it! Natalie, their Director of Corporate Programs, taught the team the importance and fundamentals of meditation while showing us different breathing and centering exercises,” Christina adds. “Since we’ve been working from home, we did one virtual session last summer and it turns out, meditation translates quite well virtually.”
Though they offered abundant in-person meditation classes pre-pandemic, Unplug has since developed a ton of virtual meditation experiences with different focuses and themes. And this month, Marissa and Christina felt called to go with instructor Shayna Hiller’s “Balancing the Body and Mind.”
So, we all sat down to do exactly that. Some of us sat on yoga mats, some sat by the cat, and we took time to breathe and just be. After the session, I got to speak to some of our team members that attended, and here’s what they had to say about their experience:
Marissa V: Honestly, I enjoy all meditation events. It can be hard to take time to breathe, so exercises like these force us to take that time, and I am truly grateful for it after each session. For myself, these meditation experiences really help me disconnect from everything going on in the world around me and help me focus on just the present moment. It’s super mind-clearing and I always leave a session feeling so refreshed and recharged.
Christina F: I loved the Unplug meditation we had! The instructor had such a calming energy and incorporating stretches and breathing exercises into the meditation as opposed to only sitting still really made me feel present and relaxed during and after the session.
Stephanie M: The event was not only enjoyable but eye-opening! I’ve realized just how important it is to integrate meditation into my day-to-day life.
Kailee H: When I first heard we were going to have a meditation event during work, I was elated. I’ve been practicing meditation ever since the pandemic started (as I’m sure many others did as well), so I was very excited before the event. I loved that Advertise Purple emphasized the importance of attending this event, making it an initiative to slow down and do something for your mental health. It was exactly what I needed.
Same, I couldn’t agree more. This was definitely not my first meditation session, but it was my first-ever at-work session, and it was marvelous. From the moment I closed my eyes and followed along with the breathing exercises the instructor guided us through, I could sense an immediate shift in my mood and perspective. It’s just magical like that.
Meditation isn’t just what it’s historically been, which is a thousands-year-old practice used as a way to deepen understanding of life. It’s become an almost vital tool for relaxing our minds and bodies. I know a few team members would agree with me on that.
“Incorporating meditation into our day-to-day really can help create an overall balance between work and ourselves. Sometimes we forget to take time for ourselves being on a computer all day or even just at home,” Marissa notes.
To that, Kailee makes a helpful point. “Whether it’s meditating, going on a walk at lunch, or working out after work, it’s important to separate yourself from work so that you can come back refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on the day,” she says. “Meditation really helps improve workflow, and I think we all benefited immensely from this event.”
Whether it’s breathing exercises like the ones we learned in this session, sitting down to enjoy your favorite food and your favorite book, or hugging your lovable pets, we all deserve to slow down and chill. If you need some ideas for just how to maintain balance during crazy times, we’ve got you. Here are just a few that some of our team members stand by:
- Set an intention for the day and create a calm space around you
- Leave your computer behind and enjoying your lunch break with some fresh air from the comfort of your patio or balcony
- Take your pets out for some refreshing walks in the neighborhood
- Get outside and go for a walk with yourself, especially if it’s nice outside
At the end of the day, all it is is this: Remember to take time and just breathe. Repetitive and printed on way too many graphic t-shirts? Yes. Still helpful? Also yes.