The pandemic. It’s literally…everywhere. It has become the filter through which all daily life activities and interactions must be sifted and adjusted. Necessary changes have caused upheaval in routines, patterns, relationships. “Normal” life was always a bit stressful, but covid has upped the stress decibel in all of our lives. We feel it. Our households feel it. The wider community and even the planet feels it. And within a Covid operating environment there are also several other intense happenings: the most important election of our time, the polarization of America, the Black Lives Matter movement, disastrous fires and unusually intense weather events…there is no let up. And we all feel the need for a break, a pause in the chaos to breathe.
The proverbial phrase “the only constant is change” is an understatement.
To maintain wellness in the midst of everything, we need to create our own pauses. Below are some ideas about how to insert time to breathe, literally, into our day. [To maintain overall to generate light and clear space in and around us]
First. Limit your intake of news and updates. It is recommended to check the news two times per day, perhaps in the morning and evening, and not right before bedtime. The 24 hour news cycle can cultivate stress over what is largely out of our control. Limit also your interactions with people who bring anxious emotion and negativity to every conversation about these times.
Second. Control what you can, starting with your own wellbeing. Focus on the basics (adequate sleep, healthy meals, physical movement). These health building blocks are especially critical now. Add or strengthen a spiritual practice that calms the mind. Mindfulness or breath meditation is a simple and powerful way to create internal space and lightness. Just try it for 5-10 minutes/day and notice what happens.
Third. Do kindness. Starting with yourself!!! Be gentle, rather than judgmental, of your thoughts, actions, struggles. Make time to engage in activities you enjoy. Protect yourself from going down the rabbit hole of negative thinking by focusing on this present moment. The fastest route back to present moment awareness is to do a body scan and practice gratitude. Look up and around for opportunities to serve others. Doing an act of service connects us with each other and can alleviate a sense of powerlessness we may have at this time.
Take time to create your pause. Make space in the chaos to breathe. And be well.