1. The Calm app
The Calm app is a great tool for meditation. You can get it for free, and only need to upgrade to get certain things like the "College Collection." I am perfectly happy with all the free stuff! :-)
It has calming stories to help you fall asleep, and guided meditation practices for specific purposes, like anxiety or acceptance. The one I use the most is the simple timed meditation; you simply choose how long you want to meditate for and at the end of the countdown a bell will ring. The background sound you have chosen (for example "rainy lake" or "log fire") will continue to go on though, in case you're in such a blissful state you don't want to stop. :-)
I have trouble getting into a routine with meditation, so knowing that I can choose just two minutes helps me take the time since it's "barely any time at all." Luckily for me, just two minutes of meditation a day still gives me the benefits!
Something they added quite recently (I think -- I might just not have seen it before?) is the Breathe function. Like you can see on the picture below, it's a pulse that tells you when and how long you inhale, how long you should hold your breath, and when to exhale. You can even customize it to suit your needs! As someone who has anxiety, I love this.
2. Meditation cushion
I'm sure you have a yoga mat, but do you have a meditation cushion?
I'm not as flexible in my hips as I would like to be, so having a proper cushion to sit on really helps with both my posture and to alleviate the pain and discomfort I used to feel. They are filled with buck wheat, which conforms to your body perfectly every time (after a bit of shifting around and adjusting, very gracefully of course).
My meditation cushion is from Bean Products, and after three years of use it is as good as when I got it. I love the vibrant colors they come in, and the price ranges $19-$47 depending on the color and size. I got the deep purple one, 14" round, which definitely fell on the cheaper side haha at $25. It's so worth the money though, since I can meditate for far longer stretches now when I'm comfortable.
This is how happy you get when you have a meditation pillow!
(And when you think you're getting treats from helping Mom out with her blog.)
3. A Yoga Collective membership
Last year I was looking into yoga classes. They are quite expensive, certainly more than I like to pay (the studio I worked in was $18 for a drop-in class), so I tried to find something on Groupon. Imagine my joy when I found a year-long membership to the website The Yoga Collective for only $12!
What I love with an online membership is that you can fit it into your schedule and your needs. Only have five minutes? They have that. Want to do a cardio yoga workout? They have that. Want to do a relaxing sequence before bed? You guessed right -- they have that. It's a great social thing to go to an actual yoga studio, but if fitting it into your schedule or money is an issue this is such a great alternative.
The videos are beautifully made and you can search for the right class by length, difficulty level, and teacher. I never had any problems with the site, and you know what? They usually have their yearly membership for sale for only $12-$15 on Groupon!
Photo by Form
4. Yoga mat cleaning spray
As with most exercise equipment, yoga mats don't smell good forever. They also (as I didn't think too much about in the beginning, ew) need to be regularly cleaned. I did look into making my own, since I like natural things, but all the recipes called for a bunch of essential oils I would have to purchase (racking up quite a price tag), which kinda defeated the purpose. . . .
So I found the Mind Over Lather lavender mint natural cleaning spray. It is made with eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils and smells sooo good! It has a very fresh scent, and it makes me want to do yoga just so I can use it afterwards. ;-) Other customers report that they use it in smelly running shoes and dog beds as well, and even as a calming spray for long road trips with their animals. I definitely have to try that!
5. Yoga gloves
Living in Virginia it gets 100+ degrees in the summer, so my hands start to slip on the mat pretty much immediately. So I got yoga gloves and socks from YogaPaws that have a minimalistic design and super-absorbent microfiber: "Like wearing a yoga towel on your hands." You can even wear them in water!
Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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