Roge Karma is a Nelnet Customer Service Relationship Manager. He’s also our resident meditation expert. “I’ve sort of self-proclaimed myself as the mindfulness coach of Nelnet Campus Commerce,” says Roge. Recently, Roge shared some of his mindfulness journey in hopes that other Nelnet associates can take advantage of its benefits.

In your own words, what is mindfulness?

“Meditation and mindfulness can sometimes mean the same thing. The easiest way to describe what mindfulness is, is that our minds are kind of out of control. It’s like there’s a little monkey in our head that’s talking all the time. Being mindful is learning to either control that voice or quiet that voice, so that you can pay attention to what you’re doing right now, in the moment.”

How did you start getting into mindfulness and meditation?

“It was actually a terrible journey. I heard about it, tried it a couple times, and said, “this doesn’t work”. Then I heard about it again about a year or two ago – and this time there was research. I’d sort of heard the information before, but didn’t really take it in. Being mindful and meditating is hard. I tried it again, and I was still struggling. If I spent six minutes meditating, I was proud of myself. Then, someone gave me a book called Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World, and it sort of woke me up. I started doing what’s called a ‘body scan meditation’ and started being able to meditate for longer. I started noticing that when something went wrong or I lost control of the day and I got angry or frustrated, it was often the days I didn’t meditate. The days I didn’t meditate really weren’t great days.”

How can other associates get started with mindfulness and meditation?

“I don’t know if my answer will work for everyone, but I think a great way to get started is by using an app. Some kind of tool, whether it’s Calm or Headspace, that’s free. I did the same free exercise over and over again and it just got me practicing. Then, you’ll figure out which ones you like. Recognize that not everything will work and you aren’t going to be good at it starting out. It’s a lot like golf. People think it’s a hard sport to learn (and it is), but mindfulness is even harder than that. Start slow. Try to do three or five minutes. Don’t try to do 20. You also have to make time for it.”

How can associates make mindfulness a habit?

“I have a couple of accountability partners to make sure we’re doing the challenges and emailing back and forth on how it feels. I’ve also sent them meditation playlists on SoundCloud and YouTube. If anyone wants to participate with us, feel free to send me an email!”

Wellness is a way of life at Nelnet. Come see the other benefits of a Nelnet career!