The COVID-19 pandemic has been a shock to the system for many — for individuals, for countries, for economies on a huge scale. As a survivor, you know we will get through this. The only way out is through. But the stress the pandemic has visited on your body has not been kind.
Meditation and activities that promote mindfulness (like yoga) can help stem some of this stress and relieve the tension the pandemic has left behind in your bones. If you’re ready to move toward healing and more inner peace, here’s what you need to know.
Start Slow; Maintain Strength
Meditation can be difficult to start at first because you may not be used to the idea of sitting still and simply breathing for long periods of time. We are so programmed for fast-paced, multi-tasking lives that it’s a challenge to simply stop and be. To begin, start with five minutes a day, then work your way up to 30 or more, a little bit at a time. During these periods, count your breaths in and out, focusing on inhaling and exhaling, and gently guide your mind back to the breath when it wanders.
Another beginner technique you can tap into to start your meditation practice is to use calming musical playlists — either self-created or curated by others for this purpose — and sit quietly while listening. Concentrating on uplifting sounds can improve your state of mind — not to mention the stress-relief benefits of music in general. Meditation apps with guided practices can also be of great use to you as a beginner.
Create a sanctuary
An important part of any successful meditation practice is setting aside space for this activity. If you don’t have a specific room to devote to a meditative sanctuary, even just a corner of your bedroom will do, or a specific blanket or pillow that you only use for this activity. Let in natural light and fresh air, or light a candle or incense stick. You want to be comfortable here.
Cleaning and decluttering can also be a form of meditation. By setting aside space in your home, a positive environment free from the chaos of the world and outside stressors, you can whisk away negative vibes and get back to what you really need to focus on: your breath.
Move to your own rhythm
In the same vein as creating a sanctuary to nurture both your physical form and your spiritual self, exercise is an important part of wellness in both body and mind. Yoga, in particular, offers a way to gain physical benefits in addition to mental well-being. Yoga can improve flexibility, build strength, support joint health, improve posture, and, by proxy, prevent back pain in the future. With a yoga practice, it’s possible for your physical ailments to go away or lessen, and so too can your stress. From one flows the other.