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Mental Health

Meet Anita Cheung, Founder of Your New Meditation Must-Have

A few weeks ago, I met Betty — as in @meet.betty. Fresh to the social media business scene, this Instagram account is unlike any other services I have seen while scrolling through my feed. Launched just this past summer, Betty has quickly become more than just a typical meditation service but rather the best friend you didn’t know you were missing in your life. That is because Betty gives you peace of mind through practicing meditation from the comfort of your own bed. Anita Cheung (@ineeeda) founded this innovative and aesthetically pleasing brand where mental health is priority number one. Since the brand is subscription-based, when you sign up, you will be added to the exclusive @inbedwithbetty Instagram community.

You might be wondering what makes Betty unique, or why you would be “in bed” with Betty. Well, let me explain. Betty does not provide traditional meditation practices but offers what Anita has coined as “beditations” or meditations for lazy people. Anita really couldn’t have made it any easier to carve out 10 minutes each day to focus on your mental health.

The awesome thing about Betty is that is it completely accessible. Although it is not the best habit to check your phone first thing in the morning, I’m sure we are all guilty of doing just that. Anita understands this and created a brand that is accessible through Instagram live. So, each morning, Anita hops onto Instagram live at the start of the hour at 6, 7 and 8 a.m. (Keep in mind that she’s in Canada) I keep my headphones beside my bed so that I am ready to meditate with Betty each morning. Practicing Betty’s beditations also gives me an extra 10 minutes in bed each morning, which is always a plus in my book!

Betty has made such a positive impact on my daily routine that I needed to get in contact with Anita and hash out everything related to Betty. Here is what she had to say.

HC UFL: What sparked the creation of @meet.betty and @inbedwithbetty?

Anita: Prior to creating Betty, I had been teaching yoga and meditation for six plus years. I opened Canada’s first modern meditation studio two years ago, which I then left to my partners so that I could focus on other projects. One of these projects is Betty. I noticed in owning the meditation studio that the demographic attending the space wasn’t the demographic that I wanted to speak to. It was folks, typically a little older, who had money to spare. At the same time, I was really struggling internally with how bougie and privileged the “wellness” scene was getting, and I didn’t want to be a part of that. I wanted to create something that felt fresh, approachable and, more importantly, accessible.

HC UFL: Have you always been an advocate for mental health?

Anita: I’ve been an advocate for many years now, pretty much since I was first touched by mental illness — an eating disorder — at the age of 13. After feeling like I had recovered from that, I was surprised to find myself once again affected by mental illness in university — this time anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Coming out of the intensity of that experience really drove home the fact that mental health, much like physical health, is something that deserves our ongoing attention.

HC UFL: Did personal experiences with mental health help your vision for @meet.betty and @inbedwithbetty?

Anita: Yes! After my first experience with depression and suicidal ideation at 21, I was introduced to meditation as a tool to essentially keep me afloat during the tough times, knowing that the tough times will arise again and again. I learned in my early 20s that I have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, which is basically like PMS but 10 times worse. Instead of getting cravings and feeling bloated before my period every month — although sometimes I feel that way too, my hormones lead me to experience anxiety and depression, pick fights with my partner and loved ones and ruminate on suicidal ideation. Some months are way better than others, and there are times where it barely affects me. This means that I really need to be mindful of how I create my regular routine, making sure there is time for myself, friends, workouts, passions, rest and meditation. Meditation is an opportunity to practice noticing my thoughts and emotions, so that in my normal life (a.k.a. the rest of the time when I’m not meditating), I am better at picking up the cues when my thoughts begin to turn dangerous — without spiraling down with them. Because of this history, I am so passionate about introducing folks to meditation and making it feel like something that we can do on the regular.

HC UFL: How is Betty different from other meditation services? Consider in terms of who you are trying to reach with Betty.

Anita: Along with being passionate about meditation, I am particularly passionate about bringing meditation to people (particularly women and non-binary folks) aged 18-25. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that my life felt like it fell apart directly after university. I think for many of us, we go through the education system with a pretty regular routine. We know what is expected of us, and, for many of us, we strive to achieve and meet those expectations. Then comes post-high school or post-university where the routine falls away and the options feel endless and vast. It can be really terrifying to not know where to go or how to get there. Meditation, taking some time to get to know myself and my thoughts and to remind myself of the bigger picture was so instrumental in getting through this time of my life, and I am keen to share the practice with others who may be feeling this way.

HC UFL: What advice do you have for others becoming more aware of their personal mental health? How can they make their mental health a priority?

Anita: My number one recommendation is to start today! It can be something as simple as five minutes of mindful breathing or, if that feels too intense, even five minutes of journaling. Simply take some quiet time to do nothing but look inwards and sit with ourselves. The important thing is to do it often and regularly. When I had the studio, I noticed that people would feel so much better after they meditated, but they would only come in once every few weeks as a “treat!” Think of taking care of your mental health of less like a spa day and more like showering: It’s not glamorous, but it’s something you do every day.

HC UFL: What goals do you have for @meet.betty and @inbedwithbetty?

Anita: So. Many. Goals! Right now, I’m working on building a “Betty back-end” — basically a login-access-only space for Bettys to connect with each other, catch saved meditations, read past Bulletins, redeem their points, etc. I also want to start hosting Betty “slumber party” events in key cities and develop the Betty rewards program so that the meditation “points” translate to discounts off of products and services that Bettys would use naturally anyway like meal delivery services, makeup and skincare brands, etc. Finally, I have a big goal to bring Betty to other time zones.

So, there you have it: all the details behind the Betty brand. I have to say that seeing Anita’s face first thing when I wake up has become an integral part of keeping me calm, collected and focused. I can honestly say that soaking up a few minutes each morning to breathe deeply while being completely situated in the present moment has allowed me to be more efficient and eager to tackle my day. As Anita said, it is important to be “incorporating this mindfulness, sensitivity and resilience into our everyday lives.”

For more details on the Betty brand and how to sign up, click here.

UF Class of 2021. Journalism & women's studies. Viviana Moreno is a writer and online creative dedicated to exuding warmth and promoting inclusivity. She creates content that fuels truth and curiosity through her contributions to publications that seek to empower and inform primarily college-aged individuals.
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