We all feel it. The collective unease that ebbs and flows with news reports and new cases. The unknown that lies ahead as we see what our country and others do in order to prepare for sweeping changes that are necessary right now. There are some things you can do right now to make yourself feel more calm.
Seven Steps to Staying Centered
1. Take a Deep Breath
Seriously. It’s the first thing you need to do to start releasing tension in your mind and body. Breathe.
2. Acknowledge Your Emotions
Whatever they are, know that these feelings are at least partially fueling your thoughts and actions. These emotions are going to be your strength and your weakness as you adapt to the necessary changes that are coming in the days and months ahead.
3. Breathe Again
Breathe again. Breathe deeply and slowly this time. Drop your shoulders and take a deep belly breath.
4. Be Prepared To Stay At Home More
We have to accept that we need to limit exposure to those over 60 and those without strong immune systems. Top researchers are predicting 1.5 million Americans could die from COVID-19 in the next year. How we live and move in the world is going to change, probably for longer than we are comfortable with.
Stock up on water and non-perishable items, but do not hoard. Have on hand enough food for several weeks, if not longer. You will be surprised what a little extra food in the pantry can do for your psyche. Think canned- fruits, vegetables, soup and tuna. I am in rural Oklahoma currently and I was surprised how many inexpensive organic options I found at the local Walmart. Much less expensive than Whole Foods or Sprouts, and no one was buying the organic things anyway.
5. Be Creative With Your Time
Have books and crafts as fun and distractions instead of always using the Internet as your only outlet. Social media does bring a sense of community, but there is also a lot of misinformation and fear spreading, which is counterproductive to staying calm. Grab that dusty guitar out of the closet and start playing again. Play cards and board games. Do arts and crafts. Stretch, do Qi Gong, Dance. Remember what it is like to be entertained and feel connected without a screen.
6. Call Your Friends and Family
Don’t text them. Call them. Tell them you miss and love them. FaceTime or Skype them if you need a visual check-in. Laugh and Cry with them. Breathe together.
7. Help Others and Ask For Help
There are many people that can’t afford to stock up on extra food or buy first-aid supplies. Many cities have programs to support those in need. Find out where drop-off centers are in your area and encourage your friends, family, and church members to each donate something. Big or small it will make a difference in someone’s life.
If you are one of those people in need. Ask for help. Whether it’s for extra groceries or just a quick call to tell you it’s going to be ok. Reach out. There is no shame or guilt in asking for help. It takes courage and wisdom to know when you can’t do it alone. Reach out.
There are resources like The Grief Support Network, which is offering free grief circles every day for the next few weeks. They also have a free Peer Support Program if you need mentor support. If you have the experience and feel called, become a mentor for someone grieving.
No act of kindness is too small in stressful times. We are all in this together, even if we are encouraged to stand 3 feet apart!
I feel a need to stay more connected too. Expect more blog posts from me, from everything from how to make your own sanitizers and cleaners to how to support yourself and others with herbal medicine in this time of uncertainty.
For now, drink your herbal tea breathe, and smile at people. We all need it.
PS: My new podcast episode with Astrid Grove of the Red Earth Herbal Gathering will be out around Spring Equinox!