Finding Calm in Uncertainty
What a surreal and uncertain time we find ourselves in!
Uncertainty is challenging for all of us, it can play havoc with our mental state and create fear and anxiety. It’s times like these that we need to pay close attention to not only our physical health and follow all of the guidelines in place, we also need to pay attention to our mental health. Too much anxiety and stress will also impact our physical health, so lets do our best to look after our minds as well as our bodies, so that we remain calm, balanced and resilient throughout the coming days and weeks. Here are a few things that help ground me when overwhelmed. They are all things we can do while following self isolation guidelines. I hope they help you to.
Fresh Air & Nature
Getting out in nature is one of my go-to things to do when I find myself emotionally disturbed. A walk in the fresh air with my dog, even if it’s raining, soothes and refreshes. It helps to settle my attention and quieten my mind. It’s as much a part of my yoga practice as getting on the mat or meditating.
Exercise is great for relieving stress and boosting mood. A supportive exercise routine doesn’t have to take a lot of time or be too complicated. A simple 20-minute walk each day will do wonders for your mental and physical health. Keep in mind, that if you are a bit stressed or run down, a gently paced and grounding exercise routine is a good place to start until your energy levels increase.
Of course, you would expect this one from me! Yoga is great – it’s good for our bodies, helps release tension, improves mood, sleep, digestion – the list goes on. There is no need for me to say anything more except – see you in class! (live online for now)
Pranayama, or breathing techniques have numerous health benefits but for calming and centering our minds, there really is nothing better. There are many types of pranayama but, where there is anxiety or stress the more calming, grounding types such as nadi shodhana are the best. If you are interested in learning more about pranayama and how to influence your health via your breath, you might be interested in my 6-week Pranayama Master Class.
Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness help us to cultivate more awareness in daily life. This allows us to engage in life with more clarity and encourages a healthy response to stressful situations. Simply sitting and observing your breath, the feelings & sensations of your breathing, is a good place to start if you are new to meditation..
I think we all know how important sleep is but we don’t always make it a priority. It is often something we do after we’ve finished everything else, including watching the latest episode of [insert your fix here] on Netflix. When we are anxious it can be even more difficult to find rest. If you have difficulty sleeping, as I know many people do, there is a lot of good advice around on healthy sleep habits but you might find that incorporating some of the other things I’ve mentioned in this post will enhance your sleep. Self-care is like that – often you start by taking care of one thing and others also fall into place.
Watch What You Read
There’s nothing than can up our anxiety levels like news flashes and social media. It is good to be informed but equally important to choose sources of information that are reliable and evidence based. If you are worried, the Ministry of Health website has very good up to date information on the current situation in New Zealand, as well as good advice on how to look after yourself and your families. I have put a limit on how many times I check for updates – that’s no more that twice a day. With cold and flu season almost upon us, its also a very good idea to educate yourself on the difference in symptoms between a regular cold or C19, so that you don’t give yourself an unnecessary scare.
Possibly the most important of all right now – don’t forget to play, laugh, sing and be a little silly. Connect with others, online if need be, play with the kids, your partner, your dog. Laughter is good for the soul! What can you do to help keep you and yours entertained? Drag out that jigsaw puzzle, card games – let’s get creative and keep some fun in our lives.
So yes, it is a time of uncertainty and that can be disconcerting but, keeping up with activities that soothe our nervous system and boost our spirits will make all the difference to how we manage at this time.
So let’s take a few deep breaths, be courageous, take good care of ourselves and be kind and compassionate towards one another.
I wish you health.