It's an uncertain time, and no matter how much self care and organization we do, it's affecting all of us in different ways. It's more important than ever to show ourselves - and those around us - kindness, support, and grace as we navigate uncharted territory. While there's so much we cannot control right now, we can still control our thought patterns and reactions. If you're feeling the low hum of stress that seems to be surrounding us right now, here are a few quick ways to find a little mental peace amid the chaos.
It's cliche to tell you to list what you're grateful for, but it's proven and effective. It doesn't need to be anything formal, and you can do it anytime you start to feel yourself slip into a mental spiral. You can even use the 20 seconds of hand washing or the 2 minutes of teeth brushing to mentally listing things you're grateful for.
Choose "even though" instead of "what if"
As many people navigate uncertainty and major challenges, it can be easy to stress over the many "what ifs" around health, school, jobs, relationships, and more. Try reframing your "what if" worries into "even thoughs." Even though the kids may be home from school for an extended period, it means we get to spend time as a family that we may not have otherwise had. Even though I can't connect with my friends face to face, I'm lucky to have technology that allows me to stay in touch. Even though I can't do the activities I typically enjoy, I get to rest and discover new hobbies or do things around the house that I've been meaning to do.
Journaling is always a great way to externally process, especially if you don't have others around to be able to verbally process what you're feeling right now. Not sure where to start? Try one of these prompts:
- "I allow myself to feel..."
- "I am proud of myself for..."
- "I can care for myself by..."
- "In order to say yes to ______, I need to say no to ________."
- "I can live into my values right now by ___________."
There's no better time to jump into meditation than right now. All it really takes is setting a timer, finding a comfortable position, closing your eyes, and focusing your attention on your breath. Any time your mind wanders, simply accept it and refocus your attention on your breathing. If you need some guidance, the Calm app offers a variety of free meditation plans to help you start, and the Headspace app is free for healthcare professionals right now. YouTube offers a wide variety of free guided meditations, as well.
It's easy to feel untethered right now as our calendars and daily schedules look much different, which is why adding a bit of routine in your day can actually be grounding. There's no need to schedule every second of the day (especially if you have little ones at home), but it can be helpful to have a few set rituals in your day. Maybe it's your morning routine, a 5-minute stretching routine when you get up, putting on "real clothes," your evening skincare routine, mindfully making a healthy meal for dinner, or whatever gives you a sense of peace and accomplishment.