We are living through unprecedented times, and finding a sense of normalcy has become challenging to say the least. At N26, we’re constantly trying to find ways to make banking more approachable and give you tools that will allow you to look after your financial well-being in a way that works for you, yet it’s become more important than ever to look after yourself first. The COVID-19 outbreak has completely changed what we can expect from any given week when it comes to our work, relationships, finances, and even trips to the grocery store.
Chances are, you’ve tried new ways to fill what used to be your morning commute, trips to the mall, or outings with friends to concerts and sporting events. But while you’ve been perfecting your sourdough starter or finishing a puzzle over the last few weeks, do you just keep wondering when your normal, everyday life will start again? If that question makes you feel in any way anxious or uneasy, you should know that you’re not alone.
With so many factors outside of our control, there’s no better time than right now to learn how to take stock, and improve your mental well-being through meditation.
What is meditation?
The idea of living in the moment is called mindfulness. And meditation, very basically, is the exercise needed to practice mindfulness.
If learning to live in the moment sounds appealing to you, take a deep breath: You don’t need to be an expert in yoga, deep breathing, or spirituality to meditate.
As you begin learning how to meditate, you’ll understand how you’re experiencing the world around you. And as you continue to practice, you’ll build the toolkit to understand why you’re feeling anxious, sad, overwhelmed, happy, and excited throughout your everyday life. Soon, you’ll have the skills to better process the events in your life with the strength of awareness in the here and now.
Meditation is something you can fully customize to your schedule, environment, and preferences, and you can always get started in a way that fits into your life.
What are the benefits of meditating during difficult times?
Meditation isn’t something only reserved for times of crisis. However, when things have changed drastically in the world around you, gaining the awareness of how you’re processing the realities of your day-to-day can help the important areas of your life feel less overwhelming.
Let’s break down what this means by thinking back to a few months ago. It’s a typical Tuesday morning, and you’re headed to the office for a big presentation. What if you get stuck waiting for a late train or bumper-to-bumper traffic that makes you late? What if you oversleep and are late for your classes? What if you find a bouquet of flowers sitting on your office desk from your significant other? What if you learn that your child needs you to buy them an expensive textbook for school?
With just one of these little changes, that Tuesday morning could look and feel completely different. So, during a time like the present, when many of your workday and weekend routines are in disarray, you’ve probably felt more like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster than ever before.
Meditation isn’t about blocking out your feelings about stressful times, but it can spotlight how certain events make you feel and how you carry those feelings throughout the day. As you become more mindful, meditation can then help you prioritize your thoughts, block out the clutter, and find positivity even when your days look very different.
The many proven benefits of meditation will feel especially welcome given current events, including:
- Improved sleep
- Reduced anxiety
- Minimized stress
- Greater focus; less distraction
- Newfound gratitude
- Healthier work-life balance
- Anger management
- Positive body image
- Stronger relationships
- Boosted immune system
In fact, the CDC even recommends including meditation as a core strategy to maintain your mental health, cope with stress, and take care of your body during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While learning mindfulness can help improve your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak, it’s important to know it’s not a cure-all. If you’re experiencing continued distress, mentally or physically, because of the significant lifestyle changes from COVID-19, be sure to consult professional support. There are many resources available online through services like Teledoc, Talkspace, or the National Disaster Distress Helpline.
How do I meditate at home?
As with any good recipe or instruction manual, let’s start with the supplies you’ll need: consistency, comfort, quiet, and maybe your smartphone.
For meditation to be most effective, many experts support making it part of your routine. It is highly recommended to incorporate the practice into your morning. Meditating right after you wake up allows you to associate the practice with other habits required to start your day, like brushing your teeth or drinking your coffee. Meditating in the morning gives you time to check in with yourself before you start checking your email. That said, taking into account your environment is especially important when deciding when to schedule meditation during your day. If you know you’ll have more consistency right before bed or over lunch, do what works best for you.
You’ll notice we didn’t have a “sound” or “calm” mind on our checklist to start meditating, but as we mentioned above, that will ideally come after you start practicing regularly. Finding a way to reduce distractions and unwanted background noise when you decide to practice can help focus your attention inward. There’s no need to buy a special uniform to meditate, but try to wear comfortable clothes and ideally find a quiet space to create a consistent and peaceful practice location. If you’re one of the many Americans living with roommates or noisy apartment neighbors under “stay at home” orders, grabbing some earbuds or headphones can help block out some of the outside noise to create consistency for your meditation routine.
The final tool that can help with your meditation routine is your smartphone. This isn’t a requirement, but can help to hold yourself accountable through calendar reminders or alarms, timing your practice, or even walking you through guided meditation. More on that in our next section, but be sure to silence your phone notifications if you’re using this tool in your routine to make sure your mindfulness isn’t interrupted by calls and texts.
Now that your supplies are in order, you can get started with meditation.
One of the most widely-used forms of meditation is breathwork. You can get started with anywhere from one to ten to twenty minutes, identifying what you’re bringing in and out as you begin or end the day.
From there, you can also explore mind-body meditation practices. Taking breathwork a step further, this helps bring the connection of how you’re feeling emotionally to physical response, and can even work to identify the kind of movements and physical exercise most important to feed your mental fitness.
Meditation can even extend to mindful eating to really focus on how food makes you feel, the energy it gives you and understanding your relationship between food and emotions.
The list is really limitless in what meditation means for you, and can even become an activity done with your significant other or your children to enhance your awareness of how to communicate most effectively.
Here’s the good news: Meditation doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, there are many options for introducing the practice into your life through “guided meditation,” to provide exercises for your learning mindfulness. And even better, many are available from the convenience of your smartphone.
Meditation resources and exercise apps
We understand that COVID-19 has impacted many people’s financial situations, working and living spaces, and general peace of mind. Luckily, there are a wide array of apps available to help you achieve relaxation or even to blow off some steam, with everything from meditation education and guided practice, to yoga and cardio workouts. But first, for those of you focused on meditation, there are plenty of resources available to keep you inspired, or if you’re a beginner, to get you started.
First off, many government organizations support the practice of meditation to cope with everyday emotions and stress, including the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and the CDC.
For up-to-date articles, thought leadership and free exercises to try, check out Mindful. You can also receive a free bi-weekly newsletter as an added layer of accountability for your meditation routine.
Another great resource is your smartphone. Your phone can come in handy in your guided meditation practice just by downloading an app. Finding an app you like and committing to using it for your meditation is a great way to keep you on track and motivated.
How can N26 help?
Whether you prefer something more intense like a full cardio workout, or like to start your day with easy morning stretches, there are plenty of options available, and all can be beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing. There are quite a few great options available through our N26 Perks to help you get started. Some of our favorites include:
Headspace - android or iOS app
Headspace encourages you to live mindfully through hundreds of themed sessions covering everything from stress management, to sleep, to focus. Headspace offers a perfect combination of variety and accountability, customized to your needs and schedule with a new session delivered just for you each day. In addition to the basic types of meditation for breathwork or mind-body connection, Headspace offers a huge array of guided meditations and written content to practice for all of your needs: love, coping with loss, work, weight loss, and compassion to name just a few.
With N26, you can get 8% cashback on Headspace.
8fit - android or iOS app
8fit helps you become healthier and happier by putting fitness and nutrition experts in your pocket. This exercise app gives you customized workout and meal plans to help you reach your wellness goals.
Make healthy habits simple with a 3 month free trial of 8fit for first time customers.
Skill Yoga - android or iOS app
Learn and benefit from the life-changing skills of yoga in just a few minutes a day with Skill Yoga. This yoga instructional app includes hundreds of workouts on functional strength, mobility, flexibility, and mindfulness. They are all designed to help you get better at what you do, whether you’re a competitive athlete looking for improved performance or just trying to get the most out of your everyday life.
Get personalized yoga classes with a free one month trial for first time N26 customers.
Meditating now and beyond
Meditation can be the one time you consistently devote to keeping tabs on how you’re feeling and finding more opportunities to maximize joy, prioritize your goals, and regain some calm during stressful situations. And with continued practice, meditation can continue to add value to your days, making you a little more aware of the people and activities that really fulfill you when stay-at-home orders are no longer in place, and helping you find peace as you transition into another new routine post-coronavirus.
Open an N26 account today directly from your phone, to enjoy banking that is designed with your mobile lifestyle in mind. With Perks, you can save money with exclusive discounts and cashback offers from brands you love.
The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
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