This blog continues on from my previous blog about mindful paths through crisis.
The question that now arises in ‘how are we going to be able to emotionally cope with this crisis?’ Whether you are self-isolating or possibly dealing with lockdown, there are always ways in which you can continue supporting your emotional wellbeing through this difficult phase. See below some helpful tips:
Humor always lightens us up. Whether you are watching a comedy, having a humorous conversation with a friend or stumbling across a silly meme, finding the humour in what we have available to us helps us to tone down our tendency to catastrophise and begin to feel more uplifted in these moments. Humour also helps us to minimize and subdue the anger that we feel upon our constant and relentless exposure to frustrating stories and situations.
Take one day at a time, breathe, and be in the present moment. There is nothing more powerful than being in, and allowing oneself to experience, the here and now. Make your present moment your only reality. While we are in this ordeal together, we should work on calming ones’ mind and focusing on wellness and self-care. We should work on developing all those values of resilience, generosity and gratitude daily. Together now we are all in a common human experience, and the pain that we feel is being felt and shared across the planet.
Seize each and every day and try to make this journey ahead as less painful and daunting as you can. You can cultivate mindfulness by watching flowers growing in your garden; soaking in the warmth of the sun through the window; cooking your favourite meal regardless if it is a success or failure, complicated or simple; singing along to every word on your playlist songs; you can cultivate mindfulness by tuning into the chirping of the birds and becoming more deeply attuned to life and nature around you.
Creative expressions like art, poetry, writing:
Now is the time to take on that project that you always wanted to. Whether it be a painting that you never got a chance to paint, a story that was never read or written, practicing the piece of music you loved playing or dancing your heart to. Creative arts and colors enrich our lives and offer great expressions to our current life experiences and emotions. Remember, some of the worlds most renowned authors, singers, artists and musicians created their masterpieces during their most tough times in history.
Being in nature – more green time over screen time:
Breathe in the fresh air whenever you can. Explore all facets of nature from those in the woods, or out by the bay, or even from the quiet of your own home. We are lucky to be surrounded by nature and to have the ability to be able to connect with the life around us. It will help us to feel more alive, less along and will even allow us to keep that physical social distance that is now so vital for the safety of our loved ones and the community.
Boundaries are essential as to how much time we spend watching news or being on our laptops or phones. Too much screen time and information overload will not help as adjust well to this situation and so we need to continue working on those boundaries daily.
What makes a relationship meaningful to you? What are you more connected to? Connection, and reconnection, can come through the warmth and gentleness found in a persons words, their conversations and their behaviour. During these trying times it is important to exchange supportive messages with our loved ones, make phone calls to those people that are further away from you, and investing more face to face time with the family with you.
Growing your inner spiritual self:
Now is a great time to dig deep without oneself through meditation, listening or reading about spiritual development, or revisiting your spiritual practices such as praying. When we lead busy lives, we often miss out on the ability to go within ourselves and to work on our spiritual self. This current shutdown from work and our daily routines can create the perfect window of opportunity to really slow down, pause and practice stillness. Here and now we have the perfect recipe to experience the joy of tranquility and solitude, building and developing ones’ emotional grounding like the deep entrenched roots of a century old tree.
Sleep well and Eat well:
A good night’s sleep has been shown to decrease anxiety levels by up to 30%. To protect and boost our psychological health as well as out physical health we must ensure we partake in good sleep hygiene practices and eat a nutritious and balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.
Create a new habit:
It can take up to 3 to 4 weeks to create a new habit. In that time our brain develops this habit and begins to store a memory. This current period of lockdown for many may provide the best time to develop new habits such as eating a fruit; organising your desk or room; beginning a journal and writing in it at the end of each day; or, doing a meditation practice while washing your hands.
New Habit Washing hands meditation:
Every time you wash your hands take slow breaths. Concentrate on feeling the coolness of the water and as you breathe in, smell the fragrance of the soap. As you wash away the soap suds from your hands say in your mind:
“In this moment I am gently letting go of my worries, concerns, unpleasant feelings, thoughts that bother me right now. I am surrendering, letting go of my past, unresolved issues, mistakes and freeing myself now of burden caused by any of these feelings or thoughts”.
When you finish your 20 second handwash and you begin to dry your hands and remind yourself that “I am OK now, everything around me will be work out”.
Take a deep breath before you move on to doing other things for the day.