Between the office grind and your personal life, you’re a bundle of stress. You’ve heard that meditation can help you calm your mind and dispel feelings of anxiety, so you’re ready to give it a try. You sit on the floor in a quiet area, cross your legs (maybe even light a candle or two), and close your eyes. No matter how hard you try to relax and breathe, you still cannot stop the thoughts from rolling around in your mind, and you quickly decide to postpone your meditation practice for another day.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Despite the fact that she is now the founder of the Move + Meditate Method, Kait Hurley once shared that same struggle. In her early twenties, Kait battled with feelings of stress, anxiety, and guilt related to food. She felt overwhelmed by her life as an NCAA athlete and began letting her running success define her body image and sense of self-worth, often resulting in negative self-talk. Kait hoped that these feelings would eventually go away on their own once she stopped running competitively, but they didn’t. In her late twenties, after a series of anxiety attacks, Kait eventually decided to give meditation a try after her therapist and a friend recommended it.
Even though she was skeptical, Kait committed to a daily meditation practice. Within a few weeks, she started to notice a big reduction in stress and a newfound ability to manage the energies of her anxiety. Her anxiety didn’t go away—she just got better at listening to it and using the information to guide her. Even though Kait was feeling steadier and more resilient, she didn’t actually enjoy the process of meditating. It felt difficult. Inconvenient. Like a dreaded chore that had to get done even though it was helping.
One of the big reasons why Kait struggled was because each day she felt like she either had time to exercise or time to meditate—there didn’t seem to be time for both. Kait missed her vigorous sweat sessions and often chose meditation over exercise because it was the meditation that kept the anxiety attacks at bay. It was only when Kait started combining her daily exercise sessions with meditation that she started to find some joy and ease in the practice. Not only was it more time efficient, but the meditation itself became more enjoyable. Because once you blow off steam and sweat, you’re less antsy and more open to the experience of meditating.
The more she experienced the benefits of movement and meditation, the more she knew she had to share it with others. That’s what led Kait to launch her website in the spring of 2017. On kaithurley.com, Kait shares her online workout and meditation classes plus special guided programs and challenges for those looking for more guidance. Whether you’re new to meditation, you’ve got an existing practice, or you’re just looking for a fun and effective way to feel amazing at home and on the go, Kait is a wonderful, knowledgeable resource (and a kind soul to boot).
Instead of wondering how to get happy one day, start exploring what you can do to get happy today, and see the benefits for yourself.
A Day in the Life
What does your daily routine look like?
What daily routine? Just kidding. Every day looks different for me, but there are a few things that stay the same. I always wake up, brush my teeth, do a few simple moves—like child’s pose, side body stretches, and cat cows—then I meditate. I meet with my husband every morning by 10 a.m. He also happens to be my business partner, and these meetings set the tone for our day. We decide exactly what our priorities are and what we’re each tackling. It helps me stay on track and ensures I’m working on the most important things that will move our business forward.
Honestly? I’m pretty terrible at eating breakfast. I prefer a matcha latte with full-fat coconut milk to anything else early in the morning. Then I sit down for a bigger meal around 11 a.m. I avoid scheduling any meetings or calls before 1:30 p.m. That allows me to block off my mornings and use that time to get work done. Around 3 or 4 p.m., that’s when I move and meditate on my own. Usually that looks like a sweat session in my living room before I sit in the quiet. Once or twice a week, I might pop into a yoga class in Portland with my mom or a friend. There are incredible teachers who I adore and learn from here. Mostly though, I do my own thing depending on how I’m feeling and what my schedule allows for.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-care?
It’s the simple things. Moving my body in a way that feels good but also challenges me. Sitting in the quiet and meditating. Drinking lots of water. Calling my mom or meeting a friend for some matcha. Staying in with my husband and cat Javier to watch HBO and cook dinner. I work a lot, and I love what I do. My self-care practices need to fit into my busy life—not the other way around. I’m always looking for strategies to uncover a little more ease and joy in the simple things.
How do you stay inspired?
Connecting with badass women is a huge source of inspiration for me. The Portland community is so open and supportive. I’m grateful for the women in my circle every day. Also any time I can get away from my computer. Spending time outside and walking on the trails or along the Oregon coast helps me hit the reset button.
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What are the best products you’ve discovered recently?
A few weeks ago, I picked up the Moisture Renew Mask by January Labs. It’s hydrating without being too thick. This summer I’m traveling a bunch—including co-leading a retreat in Bali—this mask is absolutely coming with me in my suitcase. I’m also so into Outdoor Voices—currently wearing these pants like a uniform. Another favorite item right now is this “Un” Cover-Up from RMS Beauty. I am so impressed that an organic foundation actually works well—even for my 12-hour days filming workout and meditation classes. I don’t even have to reapply it. Last thing: This “I love you so matcha” tote by my friend Alison Wu. I carry it with me in my bag at all times in case I do an unplanned grocery shopping trip.
What are your favorite apps?
I love Voxer. It’s a walkie talkie app that allows you to leave voice messages for friends. I love talking on the phone—or better yet, in person—but that’s not always doable or easy because of crazy schedules. Voxer makes it a breeze to stay in touch, and it’s more personal than text or email.
Another great app to help with communication is Slack. Our team relies on it, and it cuts way down on the volume of emails.
Spotify is another app I use on the daily. Music is a huge part of the online experience, and music drives the workout portion of my classes. My husband is a DJ on the side, and we have so much fun searching for new tunes and putting playlists together.
Whose Instagram is on your radar?
Right now, I’m totally inspired by RayRay Ricketts. She’s an intuitive coach, healer, a spiritual activist, and the founder of @lossandfoundxo. One of the things she talks about a lot is grief and how it can be an everyday experience—not just something that you feel when someone you love passes away. We don’t have enough tools to deal with negative emotions and the energies that come along with grief. I respect her work, and I’m aligned with her approach to help people find the joy and connect with their inner resilience during tough times.
Another Instagram account that I’m following closely is @1thatgotawayy by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle. Rachel is an activist, a writer, speaker, and she’s currently attending Columbia University. Her work is dedicated to anti-racism and she calls us all to embrace a feminism that is inclusive and intersectional. As a white woman with boatloads of privilege, she helps me understand issues that people of color face every day and what I can do on my end to lift up and amplify existing efforts and movements.
What’s your go-to healthy snack?
I love smoothies. Especially this Cherry Cacao Be Well Smoothie by Kelly LeVeque. I’m also super into roasted chickpeas. I drizzle avocado oil and then add tons of garlic powder, onion powder, and a dash of chili powder over a sheet of chickpeas and roast them for 35 minutes at 375 degrees. It’s so good! Oh, and I’m obsessed with Cinnamon Maca Almond Butter by Jem Organics. My husband complains about the price, but it’s worth every penny.
What are you reading, watching, or listening to?
I’m listening to The Feel Good Effect podcast by researcher Robyn Downs. She’s entertaining, she gets to the point, and I always learn something new when I tune in. If you’re curious, I was on her show, and you can listen right here. I also love Dear Sugars with Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond.
And TV? Honestly, I love it. I love Homeland, Insecure, and the creativity and scenery of Westworld.
If your pet could talk, how would they describe you?
I have a beloved cat named Javier. He’d probably tell you that my favorite time of the day is when I’m working at my desk and he sleeps behind my computer with his paws resting on the keyboard. He’d also tell you that he has me trained. He’ll go over to the pantry where his snacks are and just start meowing until I give in and feed him treats.
What woman in history would you love to take to brunch?
Ida B. Wells is definitely on the list. She’s an African-American journalist, abolitionist, and a feminist who led an anti-lynching campaign in the late 1890s. I’d also love to meet Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author of the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” She wrote about a woman’s descent into madness, and the story reveals how women were treated in the 1890s and also reveals views about mental health at the time. I remember reading that short story in high school and being grateful for the women who have come before me and fought so that I can have a better life.
What piece of advice has impacted you the most?
You don’t have to prove yourself to yourself every single day.
I’ve struggled with anxiety pretty much my whole life. A part of me really liked being anxious and on edge because I thought it helped me achieve. Once I learned how to manage the energies of my anxiety, I realized that constantly proving myself to myself doesn’t make me better—it just sucks up my energy and steals my attention from the things that matter the most. Learning how to extend love, kindness, and patience to myself…also learning how to let go of chasing perfection? That’s been transformative and something I’m passionate about sharing with others through my online workout and meditation classes.
What are you really great at (that might embarrass you to admit)?
I have an uncanny ability to rest and watch really good television. TV binges don’t happen often, but when they do? Let’s just say I watched 7 episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale in one day last year. And about a month ago, I watched season 7 of Homeland in 8 days.
What is your bucket list travel destination?
I want to go all over Jordan and Israel. This summer, we’re checking off two of my bucket list items by visiting the Greek islands and Istanbul. I can’t wait!