The unknown is a source of anxiety for many people, as most of us like to think we have control over our lives.  Now that our country, our world, is facing a pandemic, things have become anything but routine and expected, causing anxiety and stress to sky-rocket.  So how do we deal with this sudden onset of uncertainty?

There are many ways in which we can help ourselves through such a stressful time, and the things we choose to add to (or take away from) our routine should depend on what brings us happiness and fills our metaphorical bucket.  Many people will benefit from adding some additional exercise, such as walking in nature, yoga, jogging, or circuit training.  All of these can be done from home or in an outdoor space, ensuring safety in social distancing.  If you are looking for some inspiration, try downloading an app or visiting Web sites such as Yoga International or Daily Burn.

Managing Stress and Anxiety With Meditation

An effective way of relieving stress and anxiety is through meditation.  Meditation allows us to work with our emotions and habitual patterns on an ever-evolving basis.  The tools we use while meditating can be put to use in everyday life, increasing our mental stability and emotional intelligence.  Whether you think you would benefit from a guided meditation or simply sitting quietly in contemplation, adding this tool to your daily or weekly routine can make a big difference in how you react to change and uncertainty.  You can opt for an app if you think that would help, and there are plenty to choose from including Insight Timer, Headspace, and Calm, to name a few.

Otherwise, try this simple practice:

  1. Close your eyes.
  2. Feel your body sitting or lying down and focus on any parts touching the ground or your seat.
  3. Begin to notice your breath, gently, without trying to change it.
  4. Notice what arises without judgement. Just try to surrender and allow everything to come as it is.  You are here and now and you don’t need to do anything.
  5. Continue breathing and work on allowing everything to arise. When you are ready to come out, do so gently.
  6. Thank yourself for taking the time to sit quietly. You may find it useful to write down anything that stuck out or came up for you that you would like to explore further.

In addition to more physical exercise and meditation, you may also want to try to keep a routine, which can give you a framework during this uncertain time.  If your workspace or home are creating anxiety, think of some ways to bring more organization into the space.  Additionally, connecting with friends, listening to music, reaching out for support, being creative and focusing on projects are other ways to create nourishment in your day-to-day life.

When we emerge from the quarantine and social distancing of this pandemic, one gift may be a healthier lifestyle in which we seek nourishment and balance for ourselves in the midst of our busy world.  Putting tools such as physical movement, meditation, connection, etc. into place now will help us create healthy habits that could potentially make us a happier community in the long run.  We feel lucky to live in a place like Greenfield, where everyone is keeping each other safe and supported.