Before you even put money into the equation, the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has been stressful. The dramatic change of lifestyle enforced upon most, along with the uncertainty about health, and the inability to see loved ones is plenty enough ingredients for a 'hard time' cocktail. But then you add financial worries into the mix.
As the country went into lockdown, many industries ground to a halt - leading to job losses and people being placed on furlough. Plenty of people are still in that situation now; struggling on far less than they need to get by, and not knowing when they might find new employment or resume their existing job.
All this can take a toll on mental health, which is exactly why meditation app Headspace is offering a year's free subscription for anyone who's currently unemployed or on furlough. Headspace's offering is designed to address the major mental health burden on those directly impacted by the economic downturn.
As the app's co-founder, Andy Puddicombe, previously explained in a Cosmopolitan article, meditating is so valuable during times of stress or anxiety because it gives you "the ability to experience everything but to then let go of it. It’s not about shutting ourselves away from the world; it's still experiencing everything but not necessarily being so overwhelmed by it."
Headspace currently offers all new users a two-week free subscription in order for them to try out the anxiety-quelling resources; there are hundreds of guided meditations focussing on everything from stress to sleep, over 40 mindfulness exercises (mindfulness and meditation are different things, as explained here), sleep sounds, expert guidance and more.
But beyond the two weeks, a subscription to Headspace will set you back either £49.99 for a year, or £9.99 per month for a more flexible membership. Offering a year's free membership to those who are currently in financial straits opens up a calming resource for people who might need it, but may not have had access to it otherwise.
Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal just how many people are affected by unemployment or furlough right now, indicating how valuable a resource this could be. More than 600,000 workers were made redundant between March and May 2020, with 2.8 million people now claiming work-related benefits - a rise of 126%. The furlough scheme, which offers employers grants to cover 80% of wages up to a maximum of £2,500 for staff not working during the pandemic, is currently being utilised by 9.1 million individuals. But as it's scheduled to end in October, it's likely further job losses will be on the cards later in the year.
As of today, all unemployed or furloughed people in the UK will be able to register for a free Headspace Plus subscription by clicking here. Once your registration is validated, you'll gain access to all 1200+ hours of meditation and mindfulness content on offer.
"Since the very beginning of the COVID pandemic, we've been committed to providing Headspace to everyone most in need. We know how devastating unemployment can be, and the stress, anxiety and health concerns that it can lead to," says Headspace's co-founder Andy. "Obviously mindfulness cannot change the circumstances of the pandemic, but it can help to provide essential tools for managing stress at this difficult time."
If Headspace's new scheme applies to you, and you think you really could use some tools to help manage stress better, then go ahead and sign up.
You can register for the Headspace subscription here.
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