Jessica Estrada is one of six people tracking their resolutions with Apartment Therapy in real time.
Meghan Trainor is all about that bass, but me, I'm all about resolutions. Seriously—I love the topic of self-improvement. By day, I'm a freelance writer who creates content on all sorts of lifestyle topics from food to fashion and everything in between. But by night, I'm a bona fide personal development junkie who loves a good challenge in the name of self-growth.
So naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to participate in Apartment Therapy's Real-Life Resolutions challenge. My resolution of choice: meditation. For the month of January, I'm committing to make meditation a daily exercise.
My History With Meditation
First off, I'm neither a meditation newbie nor an expert. I'm kind of in the middle somewhere. Over the past two years or so, I've really tried (and I mean really tried) to practice meditation consistently, but have always failed to make it a habit. I've gone from meditating a handful of days in a row to letting a couple of months fly by before getting my Zen on again. If meditation were my boyfriend, we'd have one of those dysfunctional on-and-off relationships, for sure.
The most challenging part for me has been giving myself the permission to slow down. I always tell myself I'm "too busy," which let's be honest, is just a bunch of BS. If I have time to mindlessly scroll through Instagram before bed, I have time to meditate.
"Meditation is the best gift I can give myself everyday. It's a loving act of self-care that's just as important as taking showers and brushing my teeth."
I've realized the real reason I've failed to make it a habit is because I've never made it a priority in my life. It's always been at the bottom of my mile-long to do list and I only practiced it when and if I had the time. Subconsciously, I see it as wasted time that could be better spent doing something productive. In reality, meditation is the best gift I can give myself everyday. It's a loving act of self-care that's just as important as taking showers and brushing my teeth.
Why I'm Taking This On
I've struggled with anxiety and panic attacks for what feels like forever. In the last year, however, it's been especially overwhelming—so much so that it started to run my life. I stopped doing things that I enjoyed and started avoiding anything and everything that could potentially be a trigger. At its highest point, even going to the grocery store was terrifying. It was that bad.
Although I've made a lot of progress in managing the anxiety, I know I still have a long way to go, which is why my number one goal for 2017 is to basically learn how to take a chill pill. As a workaholic, getting still is hard. I like to just go, go, go, but I know that all that stress and pressure I put on myself certainly isn't helping me feel my best. Mediation is, as I've been told many times by my therapist, an anxiety antidote—a.k.a. the solution to all of my problems, hopefully. In short, the main reason I'm wholeheartedly taking on this meditation challenge is because I want to cultivate a sense of inner calm that I feel is lacking in my life right now.
For this challenge, I have only one rule: Have one mindful moment every single day. If that means 20 minutes of meditation in the morning that's awesome, but if all I have time for is one minute of deep breathing before bed that works too. I want the experience to feel gentle and manageable, not super strict and overwhelming because that defeats the entire purpose of trying to be more Zen. The idea is to just take a moment to be still—no matter how long that moment is.
To make the challenge a bit more fun, I also plan to experiment with times of day (first thing in the morning, afternoon, bedtime), location (bed, chair, outside), and different types of meditation (guided, mantra, etc.) to find a practice that really works for me and that I can see myself practicing long after the challenge is over.
What I'm Expecting
At the end of January, I hope to, above all else, feel good. I hope meditation helps me better manage stress and overcome the urge to go, go, go. I want to wake up every day with a sense of inner calm that I can carry with me throughout the day. That's the dream. I also wouldn't mind reaping all the other wonderful benefits meditation promises like a boosted immune system, improved concentration, and more energy. Basically, I hope meditation helps create a 2.0 version of myself—a version that allows herself to slow down, lives more mindfully, or at the very least, knows how to take a chill pill.
Jessica will be checking in mid-way through January, and again at the end of the month to share her meditation journey. Until then, follow along with our other writers' resolutions.