It is hard to stay focused on our well-being when coronavirus is spreading around the globe. News stories about illness and death are filling our feeds and consuming our minds. We are overwhelmed with stress about how to pay our bills, sheltering-in-place, and our loved ones staying healthy. Studies suggest that staying spiritually mindful during periods of intense pressure will help maintain your mental and emotional equilibrium. In turn, this gives you the composure and strength to help those around you. Here are some strategies on how to stay actively mindful during the pandemic.
Create a self-care plan.
Self-care plans take the guesswork out of what you need to do during moments of panic. When you are trying to stay mindful, it means you are trying to respond to the situation rather than react. So, when something stressful or overwhelming pops up, you will feel more in control of your circumstances. You will know what measures you must take to remain calm and collected. Some people thrive by spending time in prayer, while someone else might do better keeping a journal. Search for what keeps you spiritually grounded and build a routine around it.
Watch your media consumption.
It is necessary to stay up to date with what is going on in the world. Staying glued to your phone or TV, though, will put you into a negative headspace. Try to find a balance of getting enough information to make crucial decisions in your life but avoid going down the “rabbit hole” of news. When you get to a point where the news is continuously upsetting you, walk away and focus on spiritual practices to get you back to your center. Be intentional about how much time you consume the media and remind yourself that the information will still be out there the next day if you need a break.
Spend time in nature.
You do not have to be in a tropical paradise or mountain landscape to reap the benefits of nature. Studies have found that people who saw a tree through a window had better well-being than those who could not. So, it can be as simple as tuning into the sound of the wind or rain while sitting on your porch. Getting time in nature invites you to focus on all your senses and get a tiny moment of relief. It also increases your gratitude about how grand and beautiful the world is.
Meditation means refocusing your energy back to the present moment while letting go of the stresses of the future and past. With so much uncertainty these days, we forget to breathe and be thankful for the current moment we are in. Meditation will help reground you. Only practicing for 5-10 minutes a day is sufficient, especially if you are a beginner. Guided meditations online will help you get started.
Be of service to others.
When you already feel like you are depleted, the last thing you want to do is try to be of service to others. You might also feel helpless and unsure of how you could even help in this pandemic. Taking the skills you have and applying them to acts of service, though, will help you find a glimmer of hope. Just staying mindful about washing your hands more often and wearing a mask are small things you can do that make a difference in your community.
Take advantage of being forced to slow down.
Before the coronavirus, our lives are guided by to-do lists and life’s obligations, which is not beneficial for the soul. Now, we are awarded the extra time to connect with ourselves. Take advantage of it. What goals do you have for yourself that you have not put effort into? Consider learning how to quiet your inner critic, develop your emotional intelligence, or grow your spiritual side. Even essential workers can find some time in their lives, because no one is running their kids around to soccer practice, going to see the latest movie, or hosting birthday parties.
When all else fails, asking yourself, “what do I need at this moment?” will force yourself to pause, reflect, and breathe. Staying spiritual during the COVID-19 crisis is not easy, but grant yourself the space and time to focus on yourself. Mindfulness practices will help you get through this unprecedented time without losing yourself.