30-Day Meditation Challenge Experience with Annemarie from My Haven Life
Today’s post is a collaborative post with one of my lovely blog readers and meditators Annemarie. I was so delighted when she emailed me sharing that she was doing a 30-day mediation challenge with my meditations and I’ve interviewed her here about her experience! 💫
Lucy: How long have you been meditating for?
Annemarie: Prior to my 30-day meditation challenge, I had little experience, and I had never meditated on a regular basis. When I was a kid in elementary school, we would lie on the floor in the library or on our desk and meditate. Thinking of it now, it was an amazing idea, even though I didn’t like it back then. My other experiences were short meditations at the end of yoga sessions a few years ago, and one 45 minutes meditation session at a local yoga studio. My limited experience shows that you don’t have to be an expert and don’t need to have been meditating for a long time to try a 30-day challenge. Just go with an open mind, don’t judge yourself, and enjoy the process.
L: What inspired you to do a thirty-day challenge?
A: In short, stress. I’m working hard on growing my business My Haven Life, and even if I love what I do, it can be stressful. There are so many decisions to make, and I tend to get into my own head, overthinking everything. I obviously want to succeed, but I could see that I pushed myself a bit too much 3 or 4 times in the last few months. I didn’t want to start an unhealthy cycle of pushing myself too much, take a few days to relax, pushing myself too much, getting back on track, and so long.
I’m someone who has a lot of energy, and I don’t burn myself easily, and when I do, I don’t need a lot of time to get my energy back. But building my business is a lot, and it’s something I’ve never done before, so I’m reaching my limits faster. After 3 or 4 times of getting tired in the last few months, I could see that it wasn’t working and that I needed to make changes. I didn’t want to burn myself so I decided to try meditation. I had just discovered your website, and I immediately loved everything about it! It can be hard to find someone we love meditating with, so I thought this was perfect for me!
The good thing is this period of stress made me reconnect with meditation, and it also sparked the idea of creating a Free Stress Management Plan Workbook for introverts like myself that I’m really excited to share with people! There’s no escaping from stress, we all experience it, and the better we manage it, the better for us.
I also wanted to see if meditation would help me improve my focus because I have such a wandering mind. I’m the kind of person who can start thinking of how good tomatoes are, to ‘’wake up’’ 5 minutes later realizing I’m now thinking about a platypus. How did I go from tomatoes to a platypus? And working from home by myself, I have to be able to focus on what I have to do otherwise I won’t go anywhere.
L: Did you notice any changes in your mental and physical wellbeing during the 30 days?
A: I was very surprised to feel more relaxed as early as day 10! I was expecting it to happen near the end of the challenge, or even later, but definitely not this soon! I felt calmer during the day, and I could let go of my worries more easily, which is no small feat considering I am a worrier! On the days I was meditating right before going to bed, I fell asleep really fast, and I almost fell asleep in the middle of a meditation on day 13! I didn’t notice any changes in my physical wellbeing, maybe it will come later? My focus hasn’t significantly improved yet, but I’m sure it will happen eventually. Which one of your meditations would you recommend for improving focus Lucy?
L: Great Question Annemarie! I would recommend:
L: Overall, what was your experience like?
A: I had a very positive experience. I meditated a few times since finishing my challenge, and I plan on doing so on a regular basis. I love the idea of taking a few minutes of calm just for myself, and I experienced firsthand how beneficial it is. There were days when my focus was good, and other days really bad. I didn’t try to fight it because in my opinion it just shows that meditation, just like life, is a roller coaster. Focus in meditation is like balance in yoga; one day you have it, and the next you don't, and it’s ok, it’s a process.
L: What was your favourite meditation?
A: I have a few favourite ones:
New Day, New Way! 5-minute morning meditation: Perfect way to start your day!
5-minute Mindset Shift Meditation: Great for when I was overthinking
Create a vision for yourself This one was so much fun and empowering! I don’t know how you got the flying on a magic carpet idea, but I loved it! Who wouldn’t want to fly on a magic carpet?!
Your go-to 3-minute guided meditation Perfect for those days when I didn’t feel like meditating. 3 minutes is better than nothing, and it’s short enough that it’s easy to push through. It was also a great complement to another meditation for when I wanted to meditate longer.
Create your own sunshine: I could really see the ball of light expand. So much positivity!
L: Who would you recommend a 30-day challenge to?
A: I think anyone would benefit from a 30-day challenge. Stress and overstimulation are something we all experience, and everyone needs downtime. I would recommend people interested in doing a challenge to do it with a friend to be accountable. I know accountability helped me when I didn’t feel like meditating. I had already told you I was doing a meditation challenge, and we had agreed on me writing about my experience, so I had to do it. Forming a new habit can be hard, and that’s why being accountable is important. It’s not about putting pressure on yourself, it’s about giving you the little push you need when you don’t feel like doing it. It’s not a competition, it’s a way of challenging yourself and see what you’ll learn from that experience. And I sincerely believe everyone can benefit from taking time for themselves.
L: What would you do differently if you were to try another 30-day meditation challenge?
A: I think I would try to plan beforehand. What I mean is that I went from one meditation to another without setting an intention before starting my challenge. I believe it would have been even more beneficial to have a specific goal in mind and then identify which meditations would support it. It would have helped to not have to search which meditation I would do each day.
L: That’s really good to know! And for the record, hearing about your experience has inspired me to create a planned 30-day challenge that takes the listener on journey towards living as their highest self. So thank-you, Annemarie!
L: What are the challenges you encountered?
A: The breathing! I have so many allergies - year-long stuffy nose anyone? -, and it’s already difficult for me to breathe normally so focusing on my breathing was sometimes challenging.
The most difficult meditation I tried is hands down Soothing Ocean Breath! It’s a great one, but it’s not for me as I have a hard time breathing. Saying I found it difficult would be a euphemism! It was so challenging that I decided to forgo the ocean breathing technique and just breathe deeply instead. Even so, it was still tough, and it wasn’t relaxing at all.
In some meditations, I found it hard to visualize something while breathing. But, I think I’m slowly getting better at breathing while meditating, which is good news!
The last 3 or 4 days were more difficult for some reason, but I kept at it. I’m happy I pushed through and completed the challenge.
I was surprised that just 10 days were enough to make me feel calmer and focus less on my worries
Accountability helps when you don’t feel like meditating
Even just a short 3-minute meditation can help relax and is easy to include in a busy schedule
Meditating is not about being perfect, it’s about enjoying a moment of calm
Focus is NOT always the same; some days it’s easy to focus, and some days it’s difficult
It can be hard to visualize and breathe at the same time
Focusing on a few meditations would have been more efficient than choosing a different one every day
Next time, I will focus on one goal and create a plan
It’s ok to adapt a meditation to your needs