Well, it’s now been roughly 11 months since we all started our quarantine. How’s yours going? Are you maintaining a semblance of sanity? I’ve been limiting my outings to the necessities: grocery shopping, medical visits, wellness checks for the pooch. In the warmer months, I was able to do some backyard wine visits with friends, but that’s not much of an option in the snow and cold.
One of the things I encourage my clients to do in order to maintain some emotional wellness is to practice basic mindfulness. This doesn’t have to be anything big and fancy, and it doesn’t have to be New Age-y, either. It’s just 5-minute doses of quiet throughout the day. A lot of people I mention this to are under the impression that that means you have to sit there thinking of absolutely nothing for 5 minutes, but I promise it’s not that. You have plenty of options, so choose what feels right for you:
- Guided breathing. There are lots of free apps and recordings of guided breathing exercises. Choose one of the links here, or spend some time on the interwebs and find one that feels right to you. I’ve been using Oak, which lets you choose the session length easily and has periodic reminders that it’s okay if your mind has wandered.
- Music appreciation. Play something you find soothing, energizing, or happy-making. Close your eyes as you listen, and really notice the music. If you’re like me, after a little while you might find yourself singing along (badly, in my case), but try to resist the urge and just listen.
- List things in your immediate line of vision. You can limit it, for example naming 5 things that are green or 2 things that are alive, or you can just spend time observing and naming things.
- Practice body awareness. Clench your feet as tightly as you can for 5 seconds and then relax them and notice how they feel. Move up to your calves, your thighs, and upward through your body.
- If you’re really feeling stressed, try EFT, a tapping technique to help release stress. I often use it when I’m having insomnia, and you can find loads of free videos and tutorials online to help you understand the technique.
Do you have additional techniques you use when everything feels like too much? Please share in the comments!