Thanks to the pandemic, so many of us have been in isolation away from the people, places, and things that mean so much to us. This level of confinement has wreaked havoc on so many of us. In fact, for some it has been an unbearable punishment due to increasing anxiety.
We are anxious for many reasons: the constant stream of news, the little interaction we have with other people, the lack of activities and things to do.
We often hear of solutions that involve meditation, mindfulness, yoga, consciousness, things that seem mystical and can be intimidating for the uninitiated. However, it turns out that these solutions really are simpler than they seem. Sure, yoga requires some training (so you don’t dislocate your arm) but meditation and mindfulness can be put into practice with very simple steps.
Here are some of the simplest ways you can help your mind and your body from increased stress:
Breathing is our body’s most basic function. We do it automatically, usually without even realizing it. To help yourself relax, there’s no need to get into a lotus position and get in touch with the universe, it’s simply about relaxing and being aware of your breath, how the air enters and leaves your body.
Get into a comfortable position (sitting, lying down, standing) and recognize your body – recognize how gravity affects your limbs, how you are sitting in the chair. Witness the objects that are around you. It is not about making your mind go blank, it’s about directing your attention only to the objects, not to the things that they remind you of.
Beyond perceiving, observation is the act of giving purpose to your perception. Observing something in order to get something out of it. Knowledge, pleasure, an emotion. Now, thanks to overstimulation, our emotions can be altered in unexpected ways, so it is good to observe your own behavior and understand not what happened, but the emotion you felt.
There are also activities you can do to help relieve stress and anxiety. Like crafts!
Crafting helps us focus our minds one one thing. It’s also entertaining and can serve as a strong relaxation technique. Try putting together a puzzle, painting, sketching, or origami. All of these activities are mindfulness activities, since they help you find a center and be in the moment.
Another advantage of crafts is that they can become gifts for your friends and family!
Or draw away your anxiety!
Drawing is a way to physically represent emotions, it is not about representing images or being very talented. Simply sketching gestures that can help you to release tension is one of the most powerful exercises you can do.
If you give purpose to the little actions that you can actually do while in isolation or lockdown, you won’t feel overwhelmed by anxiety, and instead of suffering, you might even learn something new and have fun.