Mindfulness in Uncertain TimesMarch 26, 2020
Here we are. Our world has been completely turned upside down in just a matter of weeks with the emergence of COVID-19. The usual comfort of a consistent routine has been challenged as we adjust our day-to-day schedules to the new reality of work-from-home and social distancing. With the drastic change in daily life, uneasy tone from government and health officials and everyone attempting to digest the uncertainty surrounding the situation, how can we use Mindfulness to face our new reality?
1) Stay Present:
Stay focused on being present with the situation as it is, on knowing the facts and on what you can do here and now, in your community, to help the most vulnerable. While worry and anxiety about the future are absolutely appropriate feelings now [in moderation], remind yourself that worrying about things out of your control won’t change much. Recognize when you feel overwhelmed; during these moments view your thoughts as a third-party observer and ask yourself, are you creating stories yourself that fuel any anxiety or are you seeing thing as they really are?
2) Get ready:
If you are working from home, don’t walk around in your sweats all day. Take the time to shower and get ready as you normally would, including fresh clothing, putting on make-up or whatever is in your routine. This will help maintain a sense of normalcy in your life and will help you feel in control and alert.
3) Gratitude Journal:
Write down what you are thankful for or go around the dinner table expressing specific points of gratitude. Know humans are prone to “Negativity bias”- negative events have a greater effect on our psychological state than positive ones, so keep the gratitude list coming!
4) Take a walk:
If you are feeling anxious, get outside as soon as you can [safely]. You will feel better quickly. As you walk around, notice, appreciate and enjoy the quietness and changed environment.
5) Practice Yoga (Virtually):
Yoga is unique versus other exercise forms because it unifies both the mind and the body. All you need is some space on the floor (ideally on a yoga mat)! Try it- you’ll come out of practice feeling energized in your body and peaceful in your mind.
Take deep breaths or sit quietly and pay attention to your breath. Our breath is always our anchor to the current moment and will help keep us present rather than letting ourselves wander off into the unknown future or into the past. Keep noticing when the mind has wandered and gently, again and again, bring your awareness back to the breath.
7) Practice Loving Kindness Meditation:
Repeat this script in your mind, 1) first to yourself, 2) to a loved one, 3) to a neutral person in your life (someone you see regularly but don’t know very well), and 4) to all living beings.
– “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from all pain”
8) Bring mindfulness into the mundane:
View washing your hands for twenty seconds as taking extra time for yourself. Sometimes a change of perspective can make all the difference. Feel the water on your hands, watch the soap lather and be truly present and observant while you wash your hands. You might have a completely different experience!
9) Limit the news/media:
Notice sensations in the body and mind as you listen to the news. You might notice physical or mental tension; listen to yourself and know when it’s time to shut things off.
10) Slow Down:
For those of us blessed with good health, see this time as a much-needed opportunity to slow down, step back and re-evaluate. Reassess your priorities and spend time with yourself and with your families.
We all know that stress can affect the immune system. Please take these tips from Mindfulness to keep you in tip top shape during this uncertain time! Stay healthy everyone (physically and mentally!)