Calm: My New Favourite App

Two things you should know about me before we go any further.

1: I've never really understood the thing about meditation.
2: I don't pay for apps.

Which is why, the fact that I just paid £36.99 for a year's subscription to the Calm app is something to be remarked at.

Calm, if like me you were unaware, is a meditation app. It has a whole host of guided meditation programmes, a choice of soothing backgrounds that all come with sound, and lots of what Calm call 'sleep stories' and it is amazing. Like, actually.

So the thing is this: I've been feeling not great. It started properly last year and I've felt pretty unwell for a while - still don't know why, had a whole host of unexplained symptoms but clear blood tests etc etc but the point is, not so much that, but that I was tired - and it's a weird thing because I'm always tired, I'm used to it, and during the day I can sleep like nobody's business; I am the queen of the afternoon nap but I go to bed and I am so tired that I hurt but as soon as I turn of the light, it's like permission for my mind to turn on and that's problematic because I am also the queen of over-thinking so I'm fatigued to the point of tears and I cannot sleep.
And then,  when I wake up I feel not even a little bit rested and my whole self just hurts everywhere. Plus my mind has gone into overdrive and my anxiety is through the roof and that never ever really calms down throughout the day so I've just constantly been this sleepy anxious mess. It's not fun and it;s really hard to keep smiling through and I'd had about enough.

Something had to give.

Calm kept popping up on my instagram feed so I just thought, why not. There's a 7 day free trial when you sign up which lets you try out all the features and there's no commitment to buy. I was just giving it a go for the sake of it really, I didn't expect to love it so much.

I love it so much.

The sleep stories are a revelation. I haven't gone to bed without one in weeks, but I couldn't tell you what any of them are about; I don't stay awake long enough.
Some of them are read by celebs which is cool - Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, Lucy Liu for example - but there's a host of other people reading them too, some are well known stories, some are less well-known, some are non-fiction, there's so much choice and they're all beautifully and calmly narrated also.
I tend to go for anything I don't recognise - I tried listening to Alice in Wonderland one night and found I was actually listening instead of letting it wash over me. I'm less inclined to do that with the ones I don't know.

I put one on when I turn out my light, they start by sort of coaxing you through a few seconds of breathing and getting comfy and then I close my eyes....and I fall asleep as if by magic.
It's not just me either - my boyfriend also cannot tell me how any of them end and downloaded the app based on just a few nights listening to it with me.

Most nights, if I'm honest, that's it, once I'm asleep I'll generally sleep til the morning but if I do wake up, I just stick another sleep story on and back to the land of nod I go and then in the morning I feel chilled and rested and so much less anxious and wound up than I have been doing.

I do not know what kind of witchcraft this is, but I am so here for it. This app is worth my money for that alone.

I figured though, that since I had it, I might as well give the meditation a go to.


I love it.

There's a beginner's course , 30 days, that I'm working my way through. Most of those sessions are about ten minutes long, so I do them in a morning before work and it works out perfectly because I'm starting my day in a calmer headspace than my usual brain going a mile a minute worrying about all the possible things to worry about. It's basically just guided breathing with a few mins here and there of just silence and it's lush.
I have gotten so into it the whole  thing now that it's not uncommon if I'm feeling stressed or anxious or upset or whatever for me to open the calm app and put on a meditation. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I had a horrible traumatic dental experience and I was in agony. There's a 7 day series on the app about meditating through pain; I did 4 of the days in that series in a row, so about 40 mins and I went from being in so much pain I was sobbing to having a 3 hour nap. It hurt it still hurt but somehow the meditation, the deep breaths and the calming down relaxed me enough that I was able to move past the pain and close my eyes and sleep for a while. How amazing is that?!

There are daily calm sessions too which are fab, also generally around ten minutes - they're the ones I'll do in a morning when I've finished my 30 day beginner course and there's courses for all kinds of things too, pain like I mentioned, anxiety, sleep, performance anxiety, forgiveness, meditation for the bath, deep concentration etc and also loads of options for different kinds of chilled out music and you can download to listen to offline which is spectacular for when you're on a plane.

(There's also a section on there for kids with meditations aimed at different age groups. A lot of the sleep stories are aimed at children too....)

Sometimes, though, I just open up the app to the scene I have one (it's a beach scene right now so the sound is oceany and wavy) and just lie back and close my eyes and breathe.

I don't like to go on about self-care because it's a bit of a buzz word but this app has made such a massive difference to me you have no idea. Best money I've spent in ages, I can't recommend it highly enough. Also, I have an invite thingy that get's you (I think!) a thirty day free trial so if you're interested hit me up. I don't think I get any kind of a kickback, but you get 30 days of sleep story bliss!!