Now, with so many of the schools closed. We are either working from home or tending to our children without child care for the foreseeable future. As the wheel of the natural order continues and new developments emerge, we will most likely, all be having new feelings arise which can be might be overwhelming. Now, more than ever, we need to make our homes a place of sanctuary. It’s time to take a pause, to be mindful and expand our inner space. Here are my simple ideas to help you now:
Nurturing, calming, grounding and restful energy is what we need to cultivate for ourselves first and foremost at this time. For the majority of us who are self quarantined in our homes, our challenge will be getting a hold of our thoughts.
These are trying times, so being mindful and incorporating mindful practices will enhance wellbeing, build resilience and manage. Being mindful does not have to be complicated, you can:
1.Breathe and Feel Presence in your Body
This is so simple, take a moment each day to breathe into your body. Close your eyes, breathe right down past your belly button. Sometimes touching your belly helps. Try to bring feeling into your hands or feet. Your mind may tell you, you can’t feel anything, be bored or even want to move on, however, stay within the moment. You’ll feel aliveness and energy inside. Try this every day when you move from one task to another and notice how calm you may feel.
2.Encounter beauty and objects exercise
It’s hard not to be caught up with thoughts at this time. It is totally normal when we are in the midst of a crisis and all adjusting. Our minds like to see things as good or bad. We are not balanced in this all or nothing state and often leads to future catastrophising. None of know what is going to happen in the future. So this is a time to practise going past this state. Let’s move away from naming and labelling. This exercise is taken from Eckhart Tolle’s book Oneness with All Life.
He says to choose an object close to you, a cup, flower, tree or pen. Be curious, give your attention without naming it. Try to allow any thoughts to pass by, in my mediation practice, I say “thinking to myself” when they arise.
Then look around the room and listen to sounds but again try not to put good or bad labels. Can you look at objects without perceiving? This simple exercise helps us to remain present and move away from negative thinking.
3. Foster your “inner protectors”.
Most of the time, we don’t even notice the positive moments. Your thoughts may be challenging and stuck in negativity or fear right now. This is really okay at a time like this, it’s frightening and we feel unsafe. During these moments invoke your inner protectors to get you through. Imagine everyone who loves and cares for you or a moment when you felt deeply loves and cared for. ( Your inner protectors). Place them around you and feel the love and protection. Imagine them giving you a very big, warm and loving hug! Make it last, feel into your body. Stay with and allow the feeling of being cared for.
The body has implicit memory, so the longer you hold this the more the neural circuits will fire. You may even stimulate dopamine ( reward neurotransmitter) or oxytocin (the bonding hormone) This is especially helpful right now given we are all in isolation and disconnected.
Daily meditation practice is not for everyone, although meditation is not as complicated as you might think. During meditation, I just sit with my body, thoughts and breathe. However, the empty state of not thinking is not easy and I continue to work on letting go every day. For you, the first step may be a guided meditation. This is a heart meditation I offered on Facebook Live last week.
Adult colouring books have become really popular in recent years, and have been successfully rebranded as a therapeutic tool for improving health and wellbeing. However, studies show it really works. Psychology researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand have found there are definite mental health gains for adults colouring-in for as little as 10 minutes a day. Participants reported an increased sense of mindfulness in combination with lower levels of stress and anxiety. They also found reduced activity in the amygdala or changes in brain-wave activity. If you have trouble sleeping right now, colouring may really you and your children.
Take creative action. This is the TIME to make space for creativity. Everyone can be creative. When I’m fully immersed in creating what I love, I forget about time and space and why. I become one with the idea, the breath, the work in front of me. I realign with the heart and flow of life.
Worries, anxiety, and fear melt away because they have no place to be, no energy to feed on.
Right now we are riding a big wave. The tide has really come in but it will go out and pass. Everything passes in life.
More than ever, it’s a time to exercise kindness, coolness, compassion, and grace with ourselves and children. Practising mindfulness and being grounded in simple daily habits will help you now. Wishing you heartfelt love at this time for you and everyone on the frontline. I am still offering therapy and talks via telephone and Zoom. Contact me or follow me on Facebook for notifications. With Love Catherine