Sometimes, the most challenging place to be during this pandemic is inside your own mind. I never realized how fast I was going until I was abruptly forced to slow down and in some cases come to a complete halt. We’ve stopped running casual errands and seeing most of our family and friends for brunch or celebrations. And now as life slowly transitions into a new phase, it’s important for us to address how such a sharp shift may have affected us. This is a time that can be restoring and transformative if you are lucky enough to be healthy and have your needs met. Many of us are restless without our routines and favorite places we visit, but if we commit to being present, we will be rescued by the peace within us.
The Art of Being Present
Even though times are hard, we will never get this time back. If you want to practice being present, the best time to sharpen your tools is during grievous times. Right now, all we can do is be grateful to be alive. Sit with yourself and address what you’ve been putting off. When all this passes we will be better for it if we do the emotional work now. The first step is to spend time acknowledging where we’re at.
The Importance of Acknowledgment
Now that our daily distractions are no longer on the table, it gives us a chance to examine ourselves deeper. If you are introverted, this process may be a little easier for you. If you are someone who thrives off of social interaction and being around others, things may be really tough. I think there are so many of us who don’t realize that this is a time of soul searching and beginning a journey of self. For many of us, that journey has begun without our permission.
We need to acknowledge what this experience is doing to our minds and emotions. None of this is normal and it’s okay to not feel normal. We’ve been here for a while and some of our new practices will become reality even after the pandemic has passed. The first thing we need to do is allow ourselves to feel. We need to allow space for our emotions, whether they be fear, stress, sadness, or restlessness. The sooner you address your emotions, the sooner we can start a healing process.
There is an overwhelming amount of change to unpack. You may be living at home with family members you haven’t had to spend much time with in years. You may be facing financial challenges due to leaving work. You may feel guilty for feeling anything because you’re in a better situation than others. You may feel extremely trapped and unsafe because you no longer have your freedom. These are all valid feelings.
Practical Ways to Practice Being Present
In the first phase of the pandemic, many of us were just going through the motions and doing what we were told in order to stay safe. In the aftermath, I want to shed light on a few ways that being present and exercising our minds will help us to cope and process this difficult, unpredictable time. I want to provide small things that take little to no effort to accomplish. These tiny things all added together will give you a sense of accomplishment and maybe the next step – which would be a walk. Going for a walk sounds really simple but nowadays you have to get up, put clothes on, maybe even a mask if you’ll be around others.
Get to know yourself, if you’re struggling with limited interactions. Since you can’t have much contact with anyone else, take this time to try new foods. I learned during social distancing that I really love taquitos. That was the only thing left one evening at the store – so I tried them and we’ve been inseparable. Read new material in a genre you don’t usually consider. Go to the store with a recipe and focus only on making that.
Consider your intentions. Ponder old habits and decide what new habits you would like to incorporate into this new phase. Every time we have an interaction with another human, it can reshape how we think about life. Having your own thoughts without many others is true emotional freedom. At this time, communication is a choice. You should take advantage now because in general, we go through phases of over interaction which distracts us from our true nature. You could even set up a virtual intention setting party with a few close friends.
Drink. Water! Sometimes our brains are a little foggy and all we need is half a glass of water. Staying hydrated sounds so simple but it solves so many problems at once. Putting on a lip gloss or a lip balm is something simple and small you can do to raise your sense of confidence. Moisturizing your lips will make you feel groomed and like you are taking care of yourself. The same goes with lotion and skin moisturizer, keep some on the side of your bed for those moments when you feel a little low and imbalanced.
Call someone, anyone. Conversation is a natural healer and a quick way to shift your mood instantly. Energy is real! Call someone who you know will have something worth hearing. Many of us truly depend on the community to have a purposeful life. I want you to know there is an opportunity in this time that is only showing despair. Finding new ways to communicate with people you love will just make you a more prepared and well-rounded person.
Find inspiration. There is so much content being created at this time! Dedicate some time on the weekend to discover something or someone that inspires you online – whether on Youtube, a new podcast, or a new artist. Then, keep it to yourself or share it with someone you love.
Seek comfort. You need to have a comfort activity that is healthy to depend on when you feel lost. Do know that it is normal to feel completely lost at this time. These are all quick and easy things you can do from your bed. When you’re in a state of confusion or even mild depression it can be hard to find motivation for simple activities. Push yourself to take a walk, practice yoga, meditate, or even cook a gourmet meal for yourself. You’ll be glad you did.
Please comment below to share any tips that you find helpful in being present, Pretty Birds!
Image credit: @aolanow