There is no Them. There is only us.*
Creating universal change one mindful practice at a time.
By RJ Lisander of Lotus Seed Meditations
This time of social distancing and quarantine is wake up call to us all. It is a time to reflect on the need to take the time to take care of ourselves. Let this period of seclusion become a time to rest, reflect, and create new habits to promote health and wellness that will extend beyond this moment.
As we are witnessing and experiencing now, the actions of individuals can truly change lives — to the better or to the worse. We are all in this together. Deciding to take time to cultivate the self care practices we have been meaning to include in our daily lives is not only improving personal wellbeing, it is a radical way to care for communities and start the days ahead in a healthier, kinder and life affirming manner.
Eat as healthy as you can, move, enjoy simple pleasures, connect in meaningful ways and set an example of compassion, empathy by leading with the heart. Below are some of my favorite ways to nurture, nourish, be present:
Make a cup of ginger teaGinger helps the respiratory system, along with many other ailments, and is delicious and easy to make
Take an Epsom salt bathA warm Epsom salt bath will reduce stress, release tight muscles and is thought to help the body detox. A wonderful evening practice, these soaks help promote a relaxed state and can help improve sleep
Spread elderberry on your breadDelicious and packed with vitamins and antioxidants to boost the immune system elderberry is a great add-on to your daily food intake
Make that recipe that you’ve been putting offEating healthy, natural foods is one of the best ways to nourish the body. Preparing the food and enjoying it does wonders for the spirit. Now is a great excuse to try the recipe that has been sitting on your counter for days, weeks, monthsCleanClean a closet, the oven, whatever it is that you have been putting off … clean. Maintaining an orderly environment during times of uncertainty is a wonderful way to feel productive
Plant your spring garden or create a kitchen herb gardenMother Earth always has a way to help us through … hands in the dirt, smelling the soil and feeling the sun and breeze will cultivate more than a beautiful season ahead, it will clear the head
Sit with a purring cat or cuddly dogPets provide unconditional love, support and comfort. Go ahead, curl up and notice your shoulders drop from your ears and your heart beat a little slower, steadier
Start a journalJournaling is a known way to help manage complicated and conflicted thoughts and emotions. Taking a few moments during this time of uncertainty to document your thoughts and feelings can help create mental order, calm and insight. The entries can be as long or as short as you like. Knowing no one else will read your journal, try to write in free form with honesty. Entires can be a sentence, a few pages, a drawing or simply a post card, picture or flower that have significance to you
Learn a new craft Learning new things focuses the mind bringing you fully to the present moment. Being creative is a great way to create new neural connections and improve hand-eye coordination, etc.Not so crafty? This is also a great time to use online apps to create memory books, calendars and the like. All of these creations can become truly meaningful gifts to share with family and friends later in the year
Walk outside (away from other people)Fresh air and sunshine can calm the mind and bring you back to the body. A deep breath of fresh air in and out will do wonders for your health and wellbeing. Parks and nature trails offer great ways to count out your steps, get a little movement in, offer space
Sit in a sunbeam Enjoy a moment in the sun. Research suggests Vitamin D, best served up by the sun, helps ward off depression and regulates mood. (NOTE: watch for sun exposure and practice this with your routine skin care regime)
Listen to an actual record or cd while reading the sleeve lyrics, just like you did as a teenMusic is a terrific mood booster. Rediscovering old favorites, journeying down memory lane with a smile is a gift worth giving yourself
Dance around your living roomMusic is a universal healer. Feel good vibes get you moving and boosts mood quickly. Home with others … have a dance challenge
Add music or mantra to your meditationAdding music and mantra (a word, sound phrase repeated several times to improve concentration and lifts internal vibration) to your meditation practice can deepen your practice and provide new pathways to healing from the inside out.My personal mantra at the moment is:Breathing in, I nourish myself with opportunity;Breathing out, I release negative thoughts, rumination and fear
Participate in an online yoga, tai chi or qi gong class Many local yoga studios (including InsideOut Body Therapies!) and community centers are offering online class formats while social distancing is recommended. Learn a new way to connect to community and continue your practice(s)
Expand your sleep scheduleAh, sleep! One of the best ways to revive and rejuvenate. So often we neglect sleep in order to complete one more task. Well, consider this the call to slow down, set up sleep rituals, and practice the recommended hours of nightly sleep (varied by age). Notice how much better you feel and continue this practice as social distancing gives way. Regular sleep habits developed during this period can help establish a new balance in daily life, focus and productivity
Engage with neighbors, friends and relatives through technology … better yet, give them a callCreate new memories in a new way. Take the time to make an old fashioned phone call or FaceTime connection. These are great ways to check in to make sure everyone is well, needs are being met, to brainstorm new ways to educate children who are home from school, manage work situations, and personal wellbeing.
Play games with friends through virtual appsEven if you can’t leave the house, it is important to maintain social connection. Online games are a great way to enjoy time with friends. Pick a new game and gather a group, schedule an hour to play and enjoy
Dive into that home improvement project … scale appropriately Just like cleaning, taking care of your home and clearing up that long neglected list of honey-dos is a productive way to manage your environment and feel accomplished
Limit social media, news, and other stressful information outletsToo much is too much! Just because we can plug in to the world 24/7 does not mean we should. Find your favorite, trusted news sources and check in with them for a few minutes two or three times a day. Consider posting something positive on your social media accounts. Then get on with your day, actively engaging in your environment in the present moment
Write notes to friends and family and mail themDo you remember how it felt to walk up the driveway to your bedroom with the sealed letter from a friend wondering what it contained? I have boxes of cherished letters I cannot part with. Just seeing the boxes containing neatly stacked letters reminds me of the stories of our lives as we saw them. Simpler times ready to be revisited at any moment. Take this time to share a memory or tell someone what you admire about them. Just that moment of surprise at the mailbox and anticipation before the letter is opened is a gift
Consider online shopping for local businesses … If you have it to spare, pay it forward … go to local business websites and read what they need to stay afloat. Purchase gift cards, offer donations, whatever it is they need that you can offer or spare, please share. Once we have the all clear to resume normal outings, won’t it be great to go to the local favorites to see the local favorites and enjoy the services we’ve all enjoyed in the past?
We are each connected. The manner in which each individual faces crisis, change and uncertainty has ripple effects. Mindful practices of self care are actually actions of care for self AND others. In these moments of solitude we can do the greatest work to empower and augment healthy human connection. One simple change in our habits and outlook can vibrate and make this time of fear and uncertainty a time where real, meaningful healing occurs, inside and out.
* I would love to offer a citation for this quote, but so many have used variations of it, it is difficult to find the original source.