COVID19 Habits

Day 137 // Habit Series: Meditation

July 30, 2020

I have been doing 10 minutes of daily meditation fairly consistently since this pandemic began. Someone told me about Headspace being free to healthcare workers until the end of 2020, so I signed up (their offer still stands).

I have intermittently engaged in meditation practices, mainly using apps. I think there was one point in 2017 when I was regularly doing 20 minute sessions but then I got pregnant and nausea + meditation did not mix well AT ALL so . . . I stopped.

The 10 minutes I do currently feels like the right dose. Time is limited (duh!) and every minute spent meditating is a minute spend not reading / sleeping / etc. But the 10 minutes feels helpful, centering, calming, and even pleasant.

I do not do it every day, but about ~90% of the time. (I actually don’t like it when the app shows a longer streak building up because then I feel untoward pressure not to break the streak.)

18 hrs total: apparently those little 10 minute sessions add up over the course of a pandemic!

When do I do it?

Sometimes in the morning (post workout) if the kids do not wake up.

Sometimes between patients if I have a 10 minute gap. (Yesterday I did it before a particularly challenging encounter, and it absolutely helped!)

Sometimes as a random break in the afternoon on a non-patient day

Rarely at night. Usually if it’s gotten to be nighttime and I haven’t done it . . . I just skip it.

Tracking It

Why yes, of course I track it. My current bullet journal daily setup has a little habits bar, and the very first letter “m” there stands for meditation.

the numbers below are daily steps taken and screen time minutes (on phone)

I also fill out my monthly tracker. WHY all this tracking? Because for me, it’s motivating and feels fun. Totally get that this is not a universal feeling . . .

Will this habit continue post pandemic?

Who knows? I haven’t always felt like I needed it in my life, but right now it definitely helps. I have no plans to escalate right now but I really do like my 10 minute stints. I will definitely sign up for paid Headspace in 2021 assuming the free offer runs out; it has been the best app for me though I know there are many good ones.

Sometimes I do their ‘series’ (Balance, Acceptance, Stress Relief, etc) and other times I just do the session that is listed at the top for the day. I find Andy Puddicombe’s voice relaxing 🙂 Or maybe it’s just conditioning at this point!

Do you meditate? Headspace or another app? I have definitely felt this practice more helpful in times of stress so that explains my desire to do it these days.


  • Reply Lori C July 30, 2020 at 6:49 am

    I was really good about getting up early for prayer time / meditation in the morning but it’s gone out the window with COVID. The past two weeks or so I’ve gradually started integrating my quiet morning time again and it REALLY helps!!

    I’m loving these focused posts the past couple days on bright spots/things you love. Hope you are feeling better about things!

  • Reply Leanne Sowul July 30, 2020 at 7:33 am

    I recently returned to meditation to help my mental health through this phase of the pandemic. I used to do it in the middle of my workday, but that habit went away when I started working from home. It does make a huge difference, though, so I’m trying to get it going again. I like Headspace a lot too. A few years ago I tried the Creativity series. I highly recommend it! It gave me a beautiful visual for my creative practice.

  • Reply omdg July 30, 2020 at 9:16 am

    I have to say, we have very different jobs! I can’t imagine having 10 minutes of consecutive peace during any day I am working in the OR, and if I did have that time and used it to meditate, someone would suggest that I be watching my rooms more carefully (and they wouldn’t be wrong).

    Can meditation be useful? Of course! It helps me calm down when I am very agitated about something I have no control over. While I do see the benefits of meditating, I find the discussion of it, and the endless pushing of it at work, to be mildly triggering to say the least. I think that’s because often the suggestion of meditation as a solution is really just a way for one person or a group of people to silence another, and to reject the idea that the thing that is causing distress just needs to go away or change. Must our entire life be spent conditioning ourselves to stand patiently on the electrified pad while it repeatedly delivers predictable electric shocks to us?

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger July 30, 2020 at 10:51 am

      Some people would say yes 🙂 I know what you mean, though. I also think it is perfectly okay NOT to meditate. Other activities can serve a similar purpose, too.

      At work the most likely times I am to get 10 minutes are:
      – Just before lunch (ie, let’s say I finish with my last patient at 12)
      – If someone doesn’t show up (I usually have 1-2 no shows / day YES even digital no shows)
      – At the end of the day before I drive home

      • Reply Omdg July 30, 2020 at 7:02 pm

        Haha. Well, sometimes it’s good to notice that something feels wrong on unjust, because that will alert you to things that could be done better. I do see how getting too upset to function could be counterproductive though, which is where meditation comes in. (Or beachbody, or a nap!)

  • Reply Kip July 30, 2020 at 11:12 am

    I meditate almost every weekday morning (Calm app), typically right after I make my coffee/put away dishes. I started regularly meditating after COVID and have found it helps me stay calmer throughout the day. I’m currently working from home full-time and taking care of both kids while my husband goes into work everyday. I don’t get much downtime these days so 10 mins of quiet all to myself definitely helps.

  • Reply MBC July 30, 2020 at 11:45 am

    I occasionally pull over on the way home from work in an empty parking lot and do a few minutes of Calm app, grab a snack and just relax. I normally go straight from work to daycare to pick up the kids and if I’ve had a tough work day and am still stressed out and pick them up while we’re all tired and hungry… well the whole evening spirals downwards. Sometimes just 10 min of quiet to myself even in a parking lot can be just enough to keep the evening on track for everyone.

  • Reply Marcia (OrganisingQueen) July 30, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Fascinating and encouraging to read about. I am not a meditating person but I do find setting an intention before the day starts, or before a difficult client meeting to be very helpful.

    I am going to be starting 100 days to brave on 3 August – that will have to be my daily meditative practice 🙂

  • Reply Alissa July 30, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    Even though it’s only day two I’ve quite enjoyed this habit series and I’ve commented both days! (so not like me). Regular Meditation was on my 20 for 2020 list and I’ve had several long streaks. Unlike you I find the streak motivating in a don’t break the chain way. I’m currently on day 89 and going for the 100 day streak. I use Calm. I find meditation helps me stay focused and not react so quickly when irritated. Super helpful in pandemic times.

  • Reply Grateful Kae July 30, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    I have tried and tried over the last few years to get into meditation. I just have the hardest time with it! In May I declared it “Meditation May” and committed to meditating for at least 5 minutes everyday for the whole month. I was hoping by the end it would be an ingrained habit. Well, it was kind of a big fail. By the end I just was kind of going through the motions, almost forcing myself to do it to check off the box. I think part of the issue for me is that I can never seem to find a “good” time to do it. In the early morning I have too many other things I want to do, and if I try to meditate first, I can’t focus on it as I find myself itching to get going on my other morning stuff. Later in the day it just never seems to fit in, despite my best efforts (no two days every are exactly the same, so scheduling it routinely is hard) and if I do it at night, I literally fall asleep! I kind of just gave up for now and decided it isn’t currently a priority. Oh well.

  • Reply Caitlin July 30, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    I also love Andy’s voice on Headspace and find it very soothing. I swear his voice even put my dog to sleep when I was doing it more regularly! (I would hear my dog start snoring!)

  • Reply Young July 30, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    I meditate. It’s a spiritual thing for me. I feel weird doing it to an app for some reason although I do have that Headspace app and really like Andy’s voice The book “McMindfulness” by Ronald Purser comes to mind. I think he talks about some of the things OMDG mentioned– how meditation seems now to be co-opted by organizations basically trying to shush the masses. I haven’t read it, but it sounds interesting.

  • Reply Sophie July 30, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Whenever I go through periods of stress I meditate regularly, usually using the headspace or Buddify apps. Probably just 5-10 mins a day, but it makes a difference. As soon as the stressed period has passed I forget about it again for a while. I like the buddify app because they have meditations for “on the go”, for example while going for a walk. All about awareness during your surroundings wherever you are. I find it really convenient to do it while walking (tick off meditation and exercise in one go), plus it’s super calming. I never thought I’d be the meditating type but I’m a real covert now.

  • Reply DVStudent July 30, 2020 at 5:52 pm

    Off topic-but you just inspired me to switch out my Hobonici Techo this year to a BuJo format! I’m the most boring BuJoer ever-I have my Uniball 0.38 mm black pen…and that’s about it, but it just made way more sense for me. I think the Techo format worked really well when I was a PhD student, because I’d plan out my experiments daily/write out plans for meetings, but now that I’m back in MS4, it just doesn’t make any sense…my day is literally the same, and I don’t like putting a hint of anything patient sensitive in anything I take home. Didn’t seem worth it to have a ‘look up XYZ diseases’ daily as my ONLY writing. I will miss the Tomoe River paper though-so luxe.

  • Reply CBS July 31, 2020 at 9:08 am

    I had quite a good streak going and then gave up a bit, I was doing it before bed and I think I need to use an app so I’m not scrolling looking for something. I really like yoga nidra, the progressive body relaxation sends me off to sleep. My yoga studio does a live Zoom class 2 times a week and I really need to join it more offten as it gives me such a nice rest.

  • Reply LEE August 1, 2020 at 12:24 am

    I learned from Headspace, but now I’m more attracted to the 10% Happier app. I like that it’s completely secular and neuroscience based.
    Lately, I have been wondering if guided meditations defeat the purpose – too much talking! Am I meditating or just listening to someone telling me how to meditate? I might try just setting a timer.

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