This last week has been a profound lesson in how quickly things can change. Information and plans have shifted at a dizzying pace, accompanied by increasing doses of concern and fear. We are all encouraged to please stay home as much as possible and minimize physical contact with others. Large and small gatherings are canceled, as are trips and plans of all kinds. It can all sound impractical, scary, daunting.
We at M2 have been drawing on our own practices, and thinking about how to move through the next couple weeks. We thought we would share a few thoughts about navigating uncertain times, taming anxiety and being intentional about our time.
47 clinical studies validate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation programs to diminish anxiety and stress. It’s even been shown to build immunity! Make time to practice.
Are you new to mindfulness and meditation, and curious to learn a little more or try practices on your own? Check out M2’s Introduction to Mindfulness resource guide with links to information, guided meditations, apps and books.
If you’re looking for slightly longer, freely available practices you can access from anywhere, try:
15-minute Breathing Meditation by Sharon Salzberg
12-minute Breath Sound Body Meditation by UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center
20-minute Mountain Meditation by Jon Kabat-Zinn
Stay connected (because you’re staying home, right?!?!)
Express thanks to those who are on the front lines serving their communities; maybe it’s a healthcare worker, a grocery cashier or a delivery person. They are providing important services and support at their own risk. You can smile, share verbal affirmations and make eye contact with absolutely no risk of contagion. Do so generously.
Call a friend. This can be a great opportunity to reconnect with someone you haven’t talked to for a while.
Check in with someone in your community who may not have a strong support system. Send a text, leave a note and find out if you can help in some way.
If you live with others, play cards or a board game. It’s a great way to pass time together and create space for laughter and sharing.
Safeguard your health
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. As you wash your hands, you could practice lovingkindness. “May all beings be safe. May all beings be content. May all beings be healthy. May all beings live with ease.”
Get plenty of rest. Sleep is foundational to your health.
Go outside. Feel the sunshine. Breathe fresh air. While you’re at it, try a mindful walk. Focus on the sensations of the bottoms of your feet for 30 seconds. Do you feel the ground beneath evenly? Are there different temperatures or sensations?
Keep moving. YouTube has an amazing number of guided exercise classes. Try a yoga class online.
Choose nutritious foods and stay well hydrated.
Forgive. Yourself and others. You may lose your cool. Those nearest you may drive you crazy. It’s understandable! Acknowledge, apologize if appropriate, and then let it go.
Keep judgement at bay. Each person’s situation and resources are different; our responses and attitudes will vary. Don’t dwell on the decisions of others.
Notice boredom. Let it be. You may be surprised to discover how it can fuel creativity.
When you feel negative emotions arise, allow them. Name them. Recognize that they have a place in your emotional mix. Notice how they feel in your body. When you decrease resistance to negative emotions, it can help mitigate the power of those emotions.
Tap into creativity. Draw, journal, knit. It nourishes your brain.
De-clutter or organize. Opening up your physical space can give rise to more open-ness in the mind too.
Wishing you ease and health,