Looking after yourself and others in times of crisis
There are multiple ways in which you can call on your resourcefulness, optimism and calm to ride out the storms of life. I’m offering a few options below to help you look after yourself and others in times of crisis. The intention is not to add more stuff on your “to-do” list. So please, don’t try them all at once! Tune in and find what suits you best, right now. Maybe it’s just one simple thing, that could make a world of difference to how you feel.
Box Breathing is one of my favourite ways to nip anxiety in the bud and calm the nervous system. It’s a fast and easy technique that is simple to teach kids as well. Inhale through your nose and count to four. Then hold to the count of four. Exhale to the count of four. Hold to the count of four. Repeat until you’re feeling back in control.
In her interview on the Low Tox Life Podcast, Dr Joan Rosenberg shares how to deal with negative emotions as they arise and diffuse anxiety in 90 seconds tops. Her book, 90 seconds to a life you love is a great read too.
“When you wish you could turn off the pain, tune into it instead”: This short video from Marie Forleo on how to turn negative vibes into positive fuel, is gold. In it, she describes a technique borrowed from Buddhist monks, called Tonglen, a quick and powerful way to soften our hearts in moments of crisis.
Create more space in your heart for what you might be trying to resist: the mixed emotions, the unknown. Acknowledge your fears, anxiety, and frustration by writing them down or sharing them with a trusted confidant. They’re normal and valid and deserve to be accepted as such.
“It is not what happens that is important, it is the space we bring to what happens that truly matters.” Eckhart Tolle
Keep your body strong
Movement is an important foundation of a strong body. A lot of gyms and pilates/yoga studios are offering their classes online. The 4 minute workout by Zach Bush MD is excellent, short and can be done pretty much anywhere. It will get your heart race up and your muscles working efficiently. It’s also a great way to incorporate active breaks throughout your day. My favourite for a gentle home workout is Yoga with Adriene – you can even get the whole family involved or try Cosmic Kids Yoga for little ones.
Osteopathy and Acupuncture are both wonderful to strengthen your immune system and keep your body strong and healthy. Remedial massage is also know to calm the nervous system and improve blood circulation. All of these are available at Bulb!
Raise your vibration
Laughter is a great way to raise your vibration! If you can add sprinkles of laughter throughout your day, your mood and your mindset will benefit greatly. There are tons of funny memes and videos constantly circulating the web, great comedies to watch on TV or you could read this funny book: “Don’t be Sh*t, be Well: diaries from Healthtopia” about the epic and hilarious adventures of a girl who tries to emulate the life of an Instagram healthaholic.
Another way to raise your vibration is to connect with others. Connection is an essential way to renew our emotional energy and it may even serve to distract us from our gloominess for a moment. Whether they’re face-to-face, going for a walk, or virtual, engaging in nourishing conversations helps keep our spirits strong. At Bulb, we offer a variety of workshops and women's circles that you can check out here.
Nurture your mind
Meditation is an incredible way to lower your stress levels, experience more clarity and creativity and even build a stronger immune system. Who doesn’t need more of that? Some options to explore:
There’s a plethora of apps out there, some of the best rated ones are: Headspace, Smiling Mind or Plum Village.
Oprah and Deepak 21 day meditation challenge is a great way to get some momentum going when you start. It comes with daily guided meditations, lots of resources as well as journaling prompts for self-reflection.
Meditating to the sound of music is rather powerful and Sacred Acoustics is a great resource for that. Each recording includes different types of beats that gently draw your brain into a meditative state.
Support your children
Once you’ve put your oxygen mask on with the techniques above, you’ll be better equipped to bring presence and comfort to your loved ones.
Mindfulness is a fantastic way to equip your children with tools they can use to manage their feelings and emotions ongoingly. The “5 senses” exercise is simple to use to help children ground in the present moment: ask them to identify 5 things they can see, 4 things they can hear, 3 things they can touch, 2 things they can smell and 1 thing they can taste. Check out the great resources from these authors: Annaka Harris provides free guided meditations for children on her website and Susan Kaiser Greenland has a whole section dedicated to mindfulness videos and audios for children. And if you prefer the convenience of an app, Smiling Mind has a kids’ section that is packed with amazing mindfulness exercises and meditations for children of all ages.
Consider taking a moment to reflect on these questions:
What do you and your family most need right now? How can you create more space in your heart for what is there? How can you reinvent a sense of community in your home, at work, in your neighbourhood? How can you use your situation as a catalyst for transformation?
I hope these suggestions will help you feel more equipped to deal with your unique situation. Challenging times present opportunities: to slow down and shift our focus, to find creative solutions, to become more compassionate and to look out for each other. In each of these elements lies an opportunity for growth and transformation. Remember, it’s not about figuring it all out, it’s about journeying through the crisis, one day at a time, with the intention to emerge on the other side with more tools in your toolbox to navigate the winds of life.
If you need support to navigate these changing times, contact me here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Elise Clement, Life Coach and Wellbeing Consultant. Elise received her coach accreditation from the Human Potential Institute and is a member of the International Coach Federation. She has a diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing and also studied Functional Nutrition. Elise has a special interest in helping women navigate life transitions with confidence: pregnancy, motherhood, return to work after maternity leave, promotion, career change. You can find out more about Elise and her work HERE.