How to Meditate and Build A Routine That Works for You

Working remotely during a global pandemic has without a doubt increased stress and anxiety for many. Add in other factors like homeschooling or taking care of a family member and it can become increasingly difficult to refocus our energy and find balance. To discover new ways to wellness, a powerful tool that has been practiced for thousands of years has made a mark in the mainstream: meditation.

Meditation is the name given to different types of practice that help people find focus. Thanks to its impact on the frontal and parietal lobes, meditation can slow down and help the calm the brain, making it a practice that’s ideal for remote workers who may suffer from lack of concentration among other stress-related issues. According to Mayo Clinic, meditation can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression as well. When combined with conventional medicine, research suggests that meditation can also help manage symptoms of conditions like heart disease and insomnia.

Building a successful meditation practice is all about finding a routine that works best for you. Hiroko Demichelis, a Registered Clinical Counsellor and founder of Vancouver Brain Lab and The Lab of Meditation, shares her tips on how to set up a meditation routine and stick to it.


There are many ways to practice meditation. The best-known types, adds Demichelis, are mindfulness, open awareness, mantra and compassion meditation:

 Mindfulness: This teaches you how to train your mind by focusing your attention on one thing, such as your breath, sensations in your body, thoughts, sounds or emotions.

Open Awareness: Instead of concentrating on something, your attention is open and remains aware of everything that is happening around you.

Mantra: This meditation uses a syllable, word or phrase that is repeated to help clear the mind.

Compassion: A practice of meditation that involves silently repeating certain phrases to express the intention to move from judgment to caring.

So how do you choose? “I love to think of meditation as a vehicle that takes us someplace. [For example], there are buses, cars and roller skates,” says Demichelis. “You may have a preferred vehicle, or you might choose the mode based on where you’re going.” In other words, you can choose the one you’re most comfortable with or the one that best suits your needs at the moment. 

Once you’ve decided on a form of meditation, it's time to search for the resources to help you get started. Whether you learn bestthrough listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos or reading blog posts, there are many ways to improve your meditation practice. 



With many of us working from home, it’s important to create a meditation space that is separate from your workspace. “We are in the midst of a very hectic time,” says Demichelis. “But no matter how small your space, you can create a little corner for yourself.”


When setting up your space, consider fragrances, colour and comfort, as they can all contribute to creating a calm environment. You might also want to keep some essentials on hand including headphones, a journal and a water bottle or mug for your favourite tea. The most important thing, says Demichelis, is creating a ritual around your meditation practice. “It can be as simple as lighting a candle before you start,” she says.


Consider meditation as an investment in yourself. Aside from creating a peaceful environment, schedule a regular time each day to meditate — even a couple of minutes between meetings can do wonders to de-stress and calm. If you need guidance, try using a device like the Fitbit Versa 3 — its “relax” mode takes you through a perfectly timed two-minute breathing session. “Be very habitual,” Demichelis says. “But also remind yourself that it’s not easy. If you fall out of practice, it’s natural and human. Just get up and start again.”



We often think of meditation as a solitary process, but it’s about making connections — to your body, to your environment and others. When starting out, don’t be scared to reach out to other practitioners for advice. Once you establish your practice, Demichelis recommends finding a friend who can help encourage you. “We are social animals,” she says. “Find someone you can walk into the forest with and ask them ‘will you hold me accountable?’ Then check in with them every day.” 


Social media is another way to stay motivated and depending on your comfort level with sharing publicly, you can always hold yourself accountable online by taking the time to acknowledge your meditative milestones on your favourite channel. Less of a sharer, more analog? Keep a meditation journal and be honest with yourself. You will thank you.

By Staples Canada

July 29, 2021