How do you “clear your mind” when you can barely clear your unread texts?

You say it every year.

“This year is gonna be my year.”

“I’m gonna think positively, build better relationships, stay on top of all my schoolwork – and do it all while remaining calm, cool and collected.”

A Shiba Inu wears a red hoodie and sunglasses.

So, you grab your yoga mat from the back of your closet and unravel it in the sunniest spot you can find. You change into some comfy clothes, sit up tall and close your eyes. You take a long, deep breath in, exhale slowly and…


You want the benefits that come from meditating. But, every time you try it, you feel nothing. It’s too easy to get distracted. You get bored. Like, “Come on, how many deep breaths does it take to realize the meaning of life? I have things to do.”

Well, friend, you might be looking at meditation all wrong.

A version of the "distracted boyfriend" meme where the boyfriend is labelled "you", the girlfriend is labelled "meditating" and the other woman is labelled "suddenly remembering you forgot a comma in am email you sent three weeks ago."

There are many types of meditation. However, at their most basic level, they all involve tuning into your thoughts and emotions so you can observe them without trying to change them. Meditation lets you feel your feelings – even the uncomfortable ones – so you can process them healthily.

It’s that simple.

There’s no great epiphany you’re supposed to have, no life-changing knowledge meditating should reveal. It’s just about being in the moment so you can be more mindful in other areas of your life.

Meditating is one way to do that. But it’s not the only way.

If deep breathing isn’t your thing, you can practice mindfulness by doing just about anything that makes you feel calm and helps you stay present.

Want some ideas? Here are IGNITE’s favourite non-meditation ways to meditate:

Keep it movin’

A cartoon dog is meditating by doing aerobics.

Newsflash: exercise is supposed to reduce the stress in your life, not increase it. In other words, think less about the amount of time you spend on the treadmill and more about how you feel while you’re on it.

Joyful movement is an approach to physical activity that revolves around, well, joy. It’s exercising in ways you like, for as long as you like, while rejecting the notion that exercise improves your morals or grants you permission to eat “bad” foods.

Using movement to celebrate your body, instead of punishing it, can improve your life in countless ways – both physical and mental.

Take it one task at a time

Spongebob Squarepants multitasks.

You’re in a Zoom lecture while taking notes for a different class in another tab. Also, you’re answering emails on your phone and listening to your roommate rant about how their ex keeps watching their Instagram stories.

Sound familiar?

Multitasking is tempting when you have a heavy workload. But, you’ll feel more present – and ultimately get more done – if you focus on one thing at a time.

Put your records on

Tell me your favourite song. Go ahead, let your hair down!

Pingu is meditating by listening to music.

Music has been linked to both better mood and reduced stress. If you don’t like meditating in silence, spend ten minutes in the morning listening to your favourite tunes – like, really, listening to them (multitasking is stressful, remember?)

Bake your cake (and eat it, too)

When life gets busy, it’s easy to throw nutrition out the window. Breakfast becomes a protein bar, lunch is impossible to squeeze in between classes and dinner is whatever random snacks are leftover in your pantry.

A chihuahua is startled by snacks falling onto it.

Food is essential for the mind. You need it to stay focused and alert. Plus, eating things you enjoy can help connect you to your body – just like meditation.

Carve out half an hour to make and eat a meal you really like. You’ll emerge with a full stomach, a fuelled mind and, hopefully, feeling a little more in-tune with your body’s needs.

No time to cook? No problem! Enjoy some gourmet pre-made soup from IGNITE’s Soupbar.

Sleep on it

Jiminy Cricket is meditating by going to sleep.

Student life takes its toll on your sleep schedule. But, prioritizing a good night’s rest can help you feel calmer the next day – no matter how busy you are.

I mean, sleep is just like unconscious meditation. If you think about it.

Get a guide

Meditating on your own is difficult. So, what if you had someone to walk you through it?

A superhero animation from the meditating platform Headspace flies through the sky.

Well, IGNITE, in partnership with Humber’s Information Technology Services, is giving away free one-year subscriptions to Headspace: an online platform offering guided meditation, sleep coaching and mindfulness training to help you live a more well-rounded and stress-free life. It’s your one-stop-shop for learning how to work efficiently, establish healthy boundaries, foster creativity and improve the relationship between your body and mind. And, you can do it all from a convenient, user-friendly app.

Sound good? Snag your Headspace membership today!

You just might discover you do like to meditate, after all.

Take care of your mental health by checking out our list of simple, tested and true self-care activities. And, check out our wellness initiatives while you’re at it.

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