While I’m not getting out much these days, I did have to brave a trip to the grocery store earlier this week. Driving past the state fairgrounds, the words on the sign read, ‘Hang in there, Minnesota’. Hang in there, indeed.
You don’t have to look very far afield these days to see fear: in the produce aisle, on the river trails, on the major city streets lined with locked doors and often shuttered windows. Most of us don’t even have to look to the eyes of another to see that fear because it stares right back at us in the mirror every day. I chuckled at a Twitter comment made by somebody expressing pleasure in that brief waking moment each morning before remembering what is happening All. Over. The. World. Well, except for Antarctica- they seem to be doing pretty well. It has never been a better time to be a penguin, or a very bundled up scientist.
But what about the rest of us? What of us simply trying to stay healthy, pay our bills, school and entertain kiddos, and just generally navigate the most uncertain landscape that anyone in our lifetime has ever known? How do we manage this fear so that not only do we not fall to pieces, but also come out on the other side (because there is one) stronger and more resilient?
We unfortunately don’t have a ton of control over what’s going on, so here are three strategies to help manage your stress and your fear:
- First of all, and I can’t stress this enough: eat well. Eat a balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods. Have a cookie from time to time to make your heart smile, but generally eat well. A well-nourished body is equipped to handle what comes at it.
- Be mindful of your breath. When your shoulders feel tight, when your heart is pounding and your mind racing, try this: Sit where you’re comfortable, either in a chair or cross-legged on the floor. Close your eyes. Push your thoughts aside. Each time a new thought comes in, brush it away, like dust with a broom. Breath, through your nose, all the way into your belly, and then out through the mouth, paying gentle attention to each breath as it comes in and goes out. Do this for a count of 20 before slowly opening your eyes again.
- Get enough sleep. Get a bare minimum of seven hours, but really shooting for at least eight right now is so important to help our bodies and immune systems. If you’re having a hard time sleeping, you’re not alone, so allow yourself a bedtime ritual to calm your mind down. Check out these shiatsu techniques that our massage therapist Lori has so generously shared to calm both head and heart. Afterwards, unwind with a cup of golden milk or a calming lavender or kava tea.
There’s a seed of a gift in all things if we just know how to look for it, and right now the universe is calling for us to be still and to listen. Listen without ourselves and within ourselves. This quiet and stillness is our gift, and by using this time to cultivate ourselves, to draw near those we love, and to nourish our bodies, we are prepared to be greater citizens of our communities and of humanity when the time comes again where we joyfully and gratefully meet face to face.
(written by Molly)