Pre-lockdown I was never into mindfulness. I really wanted to be, but I live a “London lifestyle” which means everything is constantly go, go go! Any spare time is spent resting or eating before I’m off again. With a lockdown enforced, I have nothing but time and like everyone else I’m struggling to come to terms with it all so it only made sense to finally check out some of the mindfulness apps that have been recommended to me.
This app has been recommended to me countless times and I’ve even heard celebrities (including Emma Watson) rave about it in interviews. The main premise is that you take 10 minutes out of your busy day to just relax and focus. 10 minutes is supposedly all it takes. The spoken-word exercises are designed to be used for around 10 minutes a day, starting with a 10-session pack that comes free with the initial download. If you want to continue after that, it’ll cost you £9.99 a month or £74.99 a year, with a simple, clear stats screen tracking your progress.
Ok so I downloaded it all ready to go and I liked how the no nonsense British-ness of the app came though. It’s definitely an app that I would recommend for beginners. If you’re not too sure about mindfulness, Headspace will sort that out. I did the exercises for free and it was nice but I didn’t want to invest in anything if I wasn’t going to stick it out (like I do with most things!).
The meditation techniques that you might not have heard of, video lessons on mindful movements and exclusive music to help you focus and relax are all what makes the Calm app top tier.
Calm is similar to Headspace in its setup. So you get a seven-day course of guided-meditation exercises for free, while the monthly subscription costs £7.99 and the yearly option £29.99. I feel like you do get a bit more for your money with Calm. Once you pay, the available sessions include a 21-day program for general wellbeing, and a week-long series focusing on helping you get better sleep. There are also individual sessions lasting between two and 20 minutes, and “unguided” sessions using music and nature sounds.
I’ve seen this app advertised heavily across social media so that made me sceptical. Have they paid a lot for advertising because it’s not that great or do they just have a great marketing strategy in play?
Well, it turns out that the app is pretty revolutionary. I like that there are different options, included unguided sessions so I can go with whatever I’m in the mood for. Investing £29.99 for my mental wellbeing for an entire year seems very reasonable too.
With 40,000 free guided meditations you can meditate on Insight Timer for as long as you want. This includes over 25,000 guided meditations from around 3,000 teachers on topics like stress, relationships, creativity, and more. Wow.
Honestly, I initially found it to be quite overwhelming. I didn’t know where to begin or who I wanted to listen to so it put me off a little bit. I wanted to give it a proper go though so I stuck it out. I think this one is more for those who know exactly what they want or like to listen to because once you do have a topic in mind it’s like a goldmine. If however you’re a beginner in the world of mindfulness anyways to just switch off or calm anxiety, this might not be for you just yet.
I do think once I get fully into the swing of things, I will definitely return to Insight Timer.
It all depends what you’re looking for really. I’ve listed them in order of beginner, intermediate and expert but sometimes you might just want to change it up depending on how your lifestyle is going at present.
The main thing I’ve learnt is that mindfulness is SO important. I’m a high functioning introvert and after socialising I really need quiet time. Me time; to just recuperate. Mindfulness apps offer the perfect opportunity for me to do this without using any “quiet time” or downtime to overthink.
Going forwards I will definitely be incorporating mindfulness once lockdown lifts and once I find things I love to listen to, I’ll do a follow up post on the things I’ve really enjoyed. Until then, leave me your recommendations on my social media platforms!
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