Here we are folks, Week Two of the Self Care Experiment has arrived! In Week One, the average score for each self care practise was approx. 4/5 – a good score, with room for improvement. Will the score change in Week Two?
Day 13: Meditate
Much like the gratitude journal from Day 10, I have tried meditation apps in the past. And much like the gratitude journal, it ended up becoming a half-arsed attempt, and eventually I gave up (or used up my 7-day free trial). Mindful meditation is supposed to help us understand our thoughts and feelings. We’re told to acknowledge how the mind and body is feeling, breathe and then let it all go. Some apps that I’ve tried have likened it to a cloud of thoughts dissipating into the sky (how poetic).
After having a very good day, the thought of meditating was off-putting. The remnants of the past attempts had me doubting how effective meditating would be, as well as the worry that it could potentially make my mood plummet if it didn’t work. I re-downloaded one of the apps I had tried, and followed the guided meditation for around three minutes. Did it work? Well, yes and no. Unfortunately, I downloaded one that only allows you a few guided meditation exercises before you have to pay for more (and that wasn’t going to happen), and it remembered me (caught red-handed) so I could only access two more exercises. I did enjoy it though, I felt calm and for a moment my mind got some sweet relief. Did I come to some revelation about how I’m feeling? Did I have any profound thoughts? Not really. All I thought about was how calm I was feeling, and that I was hungry.
Review: Maybe I should try a different mediation app. Don’t meditate on an empty stomach. Damn those free trials.
Day 14: Unplug an Hour Before Bed
Sleep is undoubtedly important for both our physical, and mental health. Yet, there has been a global drive to obtain a better nights sleep, with research showing that most of us aren’t getting enough zzz’s. I have never particularly struggled with getting the recommended amount of sleep (about 7-9 hours for an adult), although I have had problems with the quality of sleep I get. Most of the time my sleep problems stem from my dreams – in short, I have a lot of them. On average, we have between 3-5 dreams per night, but most are forgotten by the time we wake up, so we tend to remember just the one. Nope, not me (apparently my brain is the anomaly). I can often remember more than one dream, and occasionally I wake up in the morning remembering as many as three dreams.
As phones can reduce your REM (rapid eye movement) and suppress your melatonin levels (promotes better sleep), it makes sense to stop using phones, laptops, tablets, e-readers, etc., before bed. Since I use my phone as an alarm, I still needed it close to me, but I made the conscious effort to set my alarm an hour before I got into bed, so that I wouldn’t have any (stupid) reasons to look at it. Did my sleep improve? It was meh. It actually took me longer to fall asleep than usual (so boo no phones), yet, I did wake up feeling more refreshed than usual (placebo effect?). Looking forward, I think I would have to try not looking at my phone an hour before going to bed over a longer period of time to see its affect (you can’t trick a scientist). However, the general consensus is that this is a method that has been proven to improve sleep quality, so I don’t think I can argue with science here.
Review: Sleep is holy. Sleep is good. I dream too much.
Day 15: Social Media Purge
Remember when you were in Year 8 and you set upFacebook, and you all added every person in your school that you knew (even though you didn’t like most of them)? Remember when you’d get home from a night on the town and you’d look at your phone, and made friends with the girl you met in the toilets who asked you where you’d gotten your dress from? Yeah, we all do. I purge my Facebook a fair amount and when I’m scrolling through my Friends list, I tend to remove anyone that falls under these categories: a) People I didn’t like in school but were more popular than me so I added them, b) People who I haven’t met in person, and c) People who’s values are now different to mine. With the latter, it doesn’t mean I delete vegans just because I’m not a vegan (don’t at me), it means that if I become regularly irritated or wholeheartedly disagree with the content they post, I will unfollow (no one needs that negativity).
As I scrolled through my Facebook friend list, I found that I was still friends with people who had deactivated their accounts (don’t know why Facebook still wanted me to be their friend), and people who sparked the “Oh yeah I remember them now” response – which meant that they weren’t important to me anymore. I got rid of around 10 people on Facebook and roughly 18 people from my personal Instagram account. Did it feel good to know that I won’t have to swipe through a 12 part Instagram story of someone I barely know’s night out? Hell yeah it did. Will I regret unfollowing some of the people I let go? Probably not.
Review: Social media is great. Who the hell are you? Bye bitch
After two weeks, the average self care score is…4/5 (rounded up from the original 3.7). Looks like there is some evidence, that self care could meet its merit. But hold your horses! There’s still two more weeks to go.
Photo Credit 📷: Sergey Zolkin