In this season of pandemic precautions, we can often become so focused on protecting our physical wellbeing that other aspects of our wellness can be neglected or overlooked. In today’s #weeklywellnessword we will be exploring some common areas that we might be less than attentive to in the current coronavirus situation and some practical tips on how to stay connected with each dimension of our wellbeing.
As you navigate sweeping changes and increasing restrictions on your daily activities, notice any signs of stress in your body. Pay attention to what intensifies the stress response and what lessens it. Lean into activities and spaces that nurture a restful feeling in your body. Stay aware of ways fear or anxiety might be causing you to disconnect physically with those in your home. Explore safe physical contact to reinforce connection with those you love. Declutter or dig into a home project that you’ve been procrastinating to finish. Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. Eat foods that make you smile.
Notice which thoughts are cycling through your head and the impact they are having on your overall wellbeing. Engage in intellectual content that facilitates rest and serenity in your thoughts and avoid or reduce content that intensifies a downward spiral of negative thinking. Cultivate healthy thought patterns. Use centering mental practices such as visualization, imagination, or affirmations to give a leg up to positive thinking. Read a book by an author you love or a comic strip that makes you laugh. Explore ways to boost your mood with your mind.
Most of us are feeling some very strong emotions in the midst of this pandemic crisis. There has never been anything like this in the course of modern history. It is like a curve ball out of left field and you may naturally react to avoid it hitting you straight upside the head. Offer a little compassion to yourself and others when strong emotions are expressed. Find safe spaces to share what you are feeling like online support groups, phone calls with family members, friends or a counselor. If you have a mental health benefit through your employer, don’t hesitate to utilize that benefit during this time if you need it. Experiment with practices that invite rest into your emotional state like deep breathing, watching a candle burn or a nature video, baking a pie, taking a deep whiff of a favorite scent, listening to music, or other soothing practices.
Carve out some time to disconnect with technology and actually talk with your loved ones. Discuss what you are experiencing with those closest to you. Stay connected with friends and family as much as possible through phone calls or online chat. Reconnect with a restful activity from your younger years. Write an old fashioned letter to someone. Do a joint activity with a family member like put a puzzle together. Turn the TV off and read a book out loud to your child or aged family member. Step up and serve those who are vulnerable around you during this time in whatever way feels right to you. If you decide to be brave and head to the grocery store, offer to pick up something extra for an elderly neighbor or grandparent.
For the first time our faith communities are not accessible to us in a time of crisis to gather, engender hope and faith with others, and provide connection and solidarity to the most affected and vulnerable among us. Most faith communities have closed their doors and canceled services and meetings for the next several weeks. Keeping your spirit encouraged in light of these restrictions is a challenge. Lean into spiritual rhythms that you have found restful in the past. Play around with something new that you’ve been wanting to try. Consider ways to involve your body and mind into your spiritual experience. Ask about and consider participating in alternative connection points that your faith community might be offering in lieu of communal gatherings, like online meetings or conference calls.
During this time of enforced social distancing, we can either view it as restrictive or as an invitation into a slower, more restful pace of life. If we can begin to envision this season as a gift, something to be savored before the craziness of our schedules sweep us up again, then we just might draw closer to what is most important to us, reconnect with a long ago abandoned favorite activity, discover a new adventure, and maybe, just maybe, we might come to like it a little bit. Well, at least come to hate it a little bit less anyway.