Dystopia is supposed to be a genre, not a lifestyle! But in our new reality, our world is closed; we are home and social distancing. We are learning and implementing important lessons, most significantly, we are inconveniencing ourselves for the benefit of others. Maybe not quite a dystopia, but certainly a new lifestyle. We need to practice some new self-care techniques to manage the change.
Every conversation includes the question, “So what are YOU doing with your time?” For some reason, many of us are busier than ever. We have our old to-do lists and our new ones. We have “I would do this/clean that if only I had more time” and for some reason, those tasks remain incomplete. Why? It may be that even though you have what feels like “more time” you are also “more stressed” with substantially reduced emotional reserves. Maybe you are working from home and find yourself challenged with new applications of the same technology, even as you are faced with the demands of others who are also home, and you actually have less time to get more done.
Maybe the technology you rely on to communicate with work or family isn’t working because everyone else is using it and the system has slowed down alarmingly. Maybe you are maintaining the same schedule and driving to the same place each day, but the demands on you have increased in huge multiples. Maybe family members are being called upon to work longer hours in hazardous environments. Maybe you are simply enjoying the time at home, doing what you want to do when you want to do it. Your dog is thrilled with more walks, but you are absorbing stress from every media alert and conversation. Collectively, we are experiencing an entirely new reality and we need to employ new techniques to manage this.
Set a “Moment of Peace” Alarm. Members of a Healing Arts group started a new habit on Friday the 13th at 13:13 or 1:13 pm each day. We set an alarm and take a hard stop for 1 minute. I go outside for that minute, breathe deeply, lower my shoulders from my ears, and appreciate a minute of calm and peace. That moment of peace blesses the rest of the day.
Conscious Awareness. Practice a few moments of body awareness and recognize where you are holding tension. Sit or lie down in a quiet place; focus your attention outside of you and notice whatever you see, hear, smell. Say to yourself, “I am aware of…whatever that is…birds, air, and so on. Next, focus on your internal sensations and say to yourself, “I am aware of tension, hunger, tummy upset. Start at the top of your head and focus on each muscle group beginning with your scalp, through your face, neck, chest, arms, belly, glutes, legs. Carefully observe any muscles that are gripping, clenching, tense. And on your next inhale, send your breath there. Alternate from external awareness back to internal awareness.
Conscious Relaxation. Lie down on the floor, sofa, or bed and get comfortable. Start by pulling your knees up and resting your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands by your sides. Allow your eyes to close. Focus on your breathing and breathe at your own pace. Feel each inhale sending it to any place you feel tension. Feel each exhale as you empty your lungs fully. Inhale relaxation through your nose, counting to 4. Exhale any tension or stress through pursed lips counting to 8. Stay here for a few minutes. Breathing, releasing tension, inhaling relaxation. Allow yourself a few minutes of this rest.
Mindful Breathing. This is the same breathing you practiced above, but this is your reminder to practice whenever you feel any sign or symptom of stress, no matter where you are. Mindful breathing defuses stress in any situation and can be done without anyone else’s awareness as long as you keep your eyes open.
Walking Meditation. This can be done in any weather, inside or out. Mark off a pathway in your home, workplace, or outside; choose whether to walk a path of 10, 15, or 20 steps. Stand at the beginning. Inhale deeply, shake your arms to relax your shoulders, and begin to walk slowly as you exhale. Keep your eyes open as you clear your mind and walk to the end of your path. Stop. Turn. Inhale deeply. As you begin to release your breath, begin the walk back. Repeat.
Reach Out. Those of us in the Healing Arts are making ourselves available through whichever computer platform works best for our clients. Healing Waters clients are enjoying the benefits of online guided meditations, hypnotherapy, life coaching, and Emotional Freedom Technique or Tapping.