Holding Our Breath Through Quarantine
These past couple weeks have brought up all sorts of emotions within us ranging from uncertainty and fear, to gratitude and appreciation. Depending on the reality of the experience you are living, your perception of this moment may vary. One thing is for sure, our lives have been impacted in ways like never before, and “finding a new normal” has become our new favorite catchphrase.
Throughout this time it almost feels like society has been holding its breath as we try to figure out when things will “fall back into place”, if ever. That is one of the only truths we can hold on to: we simply do not know how the future will unfold. In a time like this one, however, we need tools to help us find some sort of peace and structure within ourselves, and the means we have available to us.
Our lives have shifted. Whether you are working from home, out of work, or still driving to work, the situation is uncomfortable and this change has been unexpected and challenging to manage. It’s perfectly normal to feel a wide range of emotions pertaining to your situation. But what are you doing to feel okay? If you solely put your energy into what you have lost, you will not have the means to be okay throughout the entirety of this situation. That can limit your capacity to process and come up with different solutions to the various problems you may be facing.
Obviously, your mental bandwidth is focused on survival, but what can you do to maximize your ability to manage life’s stressors when it feels like 2020 has already lasted an eternity despite only being in April? Here are just a few things to consider during COVID-19 quarantine.
Don’t over complicate meditation.
I have heard all sorts of people tell me their complicated theories on meditation and why they can’t do it. It’s okay. No one expects you to be Buddha. What I like to help my clients understand is that meditation can simply be a tool we use to process what we are feeling. If we are able to draw our attention to the now and sit quietly for a few minutes, we can give ourselves the space to feel safe to process what we are feeling. How do I do that? Find a space where you can be alone (even if that means hiding in the bathroom) for just a few minutes, quiet your mind by drawing your attention to the breath, and notice what feelings are coming up. It’s important to not place judgment in your thoughts and feelings at this time. Simply be the observer of your thoughts and gauge where you stand with the internal and external commotion you are faced with.
Whether you want to follow the 4-7-8-Breath, or simply take deep breaths, breathing is crucial for your wellbeing at this time. Oftentimes, in moments of high stress, we limit the breath, causing our body to enter an anaerobic state. That ultimately rises stress hormones like cortisol, which have been found to create inflammation in the body and weaken the immune system. Every morning, before you set off on your day, take a couple of deep breaths to center your mind and bring yourself to the present moment.
Find a means of expression.
If I’m being totally honest, every single one of my showers looks like an episode of American Idol. That may seem trivial, but allowing yourself to connect to a means of expression is crucial for releasing the stress accumulated daily, as well as what has been brought on by this pandemic. Whether you choose to exercise, dance, sing, paint, or engage in any other activity, the point is to allow yourself to express and release.
Create a safe space within.
If there was ever a time you felt like your worst enemy, now is a time to bridge that gap. Spend time with yourself to reconnect with what brings you joy and peace. We may not all be in an environment where we can try new things and do what we want with our time, so creating a safe space within yourself may be key to your survival. Write a love letter to yourself. Focus on just the things you are grateful for and remember to connect with feelings of appreciation for who you are. Even if you have to fake it at first, do it. We can only get closer to a goal if we try.
Despite feeling like we can’t tell up from down at this moment, the only solace we can find is in surrendering to the present moment. The changes we face are inevitable, and the only thing we can do is look forth with hope for a better future. Remember to keep your faith and spend this time feeding your soul with things that bring you peace. We can only focus on what we can control and how to quiet the thought-waves of the mind.
I hope you are safe, I hope you are okay, and if you are not, please seek help. You are not alone. Sending you love and well wishes.
In breath, motion, and devotion,