University HealthCare Alliance

January 15, 2019

Mindfulness Challenge!

What a difference a year makes!  A little over a year ago I was doing Crossfit workouts during my 9th month of pregnancy.  I was meditating regularly.  I was sleeping through the ENTIRE NIGHT.   Then I had a baby.   I nervously laughed off the warnings given by seasoned parents, but the self-care that I have been lauding to my patients and colleagues went out the door.  Gone.  So add me to the list of people with New Year’s resolutions, because this year I’m going to take care of myself again!  UHA Wellness Director, Andrea Hausel, gives some useful tips for making healthy changes that last in her recent blog post, and the tricks I’m hoping will work for me are:

1)    Start small
2)    Get an accountability partner
3)    Test assumptions

One of my favorite meditation apps, 10% Happier (I love the tagline: “Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics”), is promoting a New Year’s Challenge and offering two free weeks of meditations, but that’s not enough to get me to do it.  Even knowing all the positive benefits of meditation (delay in the natural decline of brain matter, less reactivity, a slower perceived pace of the day, and increased creativity are some of my favorites) does not entice me to sit still for 10 minutes a day.  I clearly need accountability, because, in the first week of the new year, I have only meditated twice.  CAN YOU HELP ME? If you send me an “invite a friend” request from the app, you can see how much I am meditating, forcing me to walk the walk as your wellness enthusiast!  Of course, I will also see how much you are meditating, which is a win-win.  I’ll be encouraged by your efforts and can also support you if you’d like. 

So instead of thinking that I’m going to get back to the 5 am gym class I used to attend and meditate every day during lunch for 20 minutes, I’m going to commit to meditating every day for the next two weeks.  That’s it. Then I’ll re-evaluate.  I stopped meditating at lunch to minimize work I take home.  For whatever reason, the data indicating that taking a meditation break mid-day makes people more efficient in the afternoon has not motivated me, but acquiring personalized data is really tempting!  So, I’m going to test it: I’m going to take a screenshot of my inbox every day and compare the size of it on the days I meditate at lunch vs. the days I meditate in the evening. 

Start small.  Get a partner (you?).  Test assumptions.  Re-evaluate.

I’ll report back in a few weeks.

Rachel Roberts, MD
Medical Director, UHA Provider Wellness
Medical Director, Los Gatos Collaborative Primary Care