COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the world. This turmoil does not exclude higher education, and the gravity of the COVID-19 epidemic remains ongoing. As news reports of loss of life, homelessness, and food insecurity permeate daily reports, the COVID-19 crisis has heightened my self-care practices. Actually, if anything, this crisis underscores the importance of practicing mindfulness, rest, and working towards and maintaining daily healthy habits.
Since the start of Minnesota’s Stay at Home order, I’ve found myself relegated to my apartment while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy to support my students and family. To say that this is a stressful time would be an understatement
, and whether I am doing a good enough job remains to be seen. Nevertheless, I am grateful to have my health, and I would not be able to go on without the support of technology; enter Headspace!
For those of you who have not heard of Headspace, the Headspace app is my tried and trusted app for mental and emotional wellness. Whether I am experiencing a restless night due to an “off” circadian rhythm or working to maintain daily wellness through guided meditation, Headspace has a feature that I can use. You can download the app for free in the app store (I have an iPhone, double-check for Android), and there are paid upgrades to a more extensive library.
Headspace endeavors to help users with navigating the basics of meditation so that users can be more relaxed, mindful, and improve their overall health. The Headspace app has a library of resources for falling and staying asleep, relaxation, and focusing. There are also modes for walking, personal growth productivity, and other topics. The free version, which I have, leads new users to begin with the “Basics” section. It is in this Basics section that users can engage in daily practices towards mindfulness and meditation. It’s where you use your training wheels to pausing the noise of the world around you.
When I use the app consistently, I find that I am much more patient and less stressed. Since I am more than 1,100 miles away from my family and I have a seemingly never endless pile of things on my to-do list, managing my stress and exercising patience have grown in importance. Although the app is helpful, I must admit the first struggle is making the time to use it. If you can get past that barrier, you can be on your way to daily mindfulness practice.
Although Headspace is my favorite, it is not the only app option. There are apps similar to Headspace, including Calm and Aura, but I have not personally tested these applications. Since Headspace helps me to stay centered, I thought I would share this app with all of you as it is important that we individually and collectively do everything we can to take care of ourselves.
If an app doesn’t work for you, or you’re skeptical of my love for Headspace, you may still have options. Scan the web for resources such as free phone hotlines, virtual therapy, or even guided online meditation if you have access to a working phone and internet. If you can, give more than one of these practices a try to see how you feel.
If nothing else, using an app like Headspace can help users to take 3, 5, or even 10 minutes to rest, reset, and recenter. Doing so will be useful for users not only right now but also in the long run. Give it a try, you’ve got nothing to lose but a little cellphone storage.
Note: Although she sings the praises of Headspace, the app has not paid nor developed a partnership with Dr. Williams. All images used in this post are courtesy of the Headspace website.
About the Author: Brittany M. Williams is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at St. Cloud State University.