“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”
How are you taking care of yourself during this time of global uncertainty? For several weeks now we have been finding ourselves trying to gain footing and get used to our new realities, which present differently for each person. During times of intense stress it is more important than ever to be mindful of our mental, physical, and emotional well-being by practicing healthy coping skills. The familiar metaphor of putting the oxygen mask on ourselves first so that we can help others has never been truer. By becoming more mindful of how your regular habits impact your overall functioning, you gain greater power to maintain behaviours that are healthy and discard those that hold you back.
We can use our day-to-day experience to discover and cultivate activities that we can use as tools to cope in periods of challenge. By designing a roadmap that is unique to you, in moments when you’re NOT in crisis, you are directing the best side of yourself to reflect on what you may need and, what you have access to, in your most challenging moments. From a mindfulness perspective, it helps you to respond rather than react to the situation at hand. Consider what self-care activities have worked for you in the past. How can you implement some of those same strategies into the present? The following examples might be helpful in getting you started:
Self-Care for the Mind
- Choose something that you do in your life every day, something ordinary, and do it with all the attention and stillness of a meditative practice. This might be brushing your teeth. Take the time to slow down and really notice the sensations of this simple routine.
- Maybe you take a few moments of pause in your day.
Self-Care for the Body
- Take the everyday activity of walking and use it as a mindfulness practice. Whether walking in your house, in your garden, wherever, use the experience of walking as the focus of your attention. Really notice the sensations of your feet as they touch the ground, the smells you notice in the air, and the feeling of the sun on your skin.
- Maybe you are replenished by yoga or some other form of exercise that you enjoy.
Self-Care for the Spirit
- Set aside some time to engage in a mindfulness meditation practice.
- Count your blessings. Each night before you go to sleep, count on your fingers 10 things you are grateful for.
Take a moment to pause, take a long, slow, deep breath and ask yourself, what do I need right now? How can I best take care of myself right now? In the space between, you will hear the answer.
*Please note that Health Services Staffs Credit Union is not an expert on mindfulness techniques and that all above advice is from Denise Coleman, qualified mindfulness teacher and HSSCU scholarship recipient. Any views above are not made on behalf of HSSCU.
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