Post Lockdown How Mindfulness can Help
Over the last 12months Covid-19 has brought about many changes in our lives that we would once never have thought possible. Creating enormous losses of, loved ones, for some of us, the loss of jobs affecting our income, a loss of our everyday work and social routines and a loss of what we thought was the certainty we had, at least on our own life pathway. We had been placed in a completely new and strange world. With the current lockdown restrictions beginning to ease in the weeks ahead and many of the population have had or are currently receiving their vaccines, maybe we can start to look forward to having a little bit of normality and some of our old routine if its still there back in our lives. But as we took time to adjust going into and living in lockdown, there are many of us that are feeling anxious and concerned about reconnecting, to start over once again, living our lives as we had before. For many there will be the added pressure of living with the feelings of loss and grief that was experienced through this pandemic. Everyone of us will have experienced this in some way, a loss that is personal to them, so challenges and uncertainty maybe ahead, in our families or in our working environment, we will certainly need to navigate and move through it the best way that we can, all using our own individual coping mechanisms, allow yourself to feel what you feel, have self-compassion and self love, love and compassion for others, there is no set timetable for how long it will take you to adjust. Life is beautiful, but it can also be difficult and at times painful and throughly enduring.
Learning to use Mindfulness as a tool, will help you to address your feelings, assist you when navigating a way through the discomfort and challenges that may arise from what you have personally experienced, worry, anxiety, fear, loss and grief. As we begin to intergrate back into our normality and the joy of community living we will come across changes of all kinds. Mindfulness teaches us to become aware of the present moment, our thoughts and feelings, our physical experience and accept them as they are in this moment, to acknowledge any discomfort, anxiety and pain that may also be present in the moment, to experience it, feel it, instead of maybe choosing to turn away or ignore those feelings. How to be aware of our immediate surrounding space, the sounds and smells it has, how it appears visually to us and how it feels physically to us. This experience of living in the present, can be expanded out into the world that surrounds our lives, giving us a wider picture to view, experience physically and emotionally. Once we can accept that there is no permanence, we allow ourselves to live in the present moment, with its ever changing shape, its ebbs and flows and all the up's and downs that life hold for us.
Mindful Breathing is accessible to us all, every minute of everyday, try to think of your breath as an anchor that holds and grounds you, in the present moment. To begin, stop what your doing, be comfortable and focus on your breath, feel the physical sensations of the breath, the rise and fall of the chest, maybe you can feel the breath in other parts of your body, the back or the shoulders, the lower abdomen, can you feel the flow of air in and out of your nose or mouth, any thoughts that enter your head (and they will) try allowing them to drift past as you like clouds in the sky, then refocus once more back to your breath, you may sometimes feel emotions rise to the surface whilst practicing Mindful Breathing this is ok, acknowledge them, and when you feel ready return once again to the sensations of your breath, after experiencing any distraction always gently and with kindness to yourself return back to the sensations of your breath. This is not easy and it may take a little time to learn, so practice is essential, but it will and can become a great natural tool for you to use when those anxious and difficult to handle moments arise or those trying periods that will certainly enter into your life at some point.
We all need to take care of ourselves, our families, friends, communities and each other, we need rest, sleep, to eat well and exercise, set time aside each day to.............breath, just be still in the present moment and breath, be your own best friend, be kind to yourself, seek and ask for help if you need to, these are difficult and challenging times, but they will not last forever.
***Feelings come and go like clouds in the sky. Conscious Breathing is my Anchor*** Thich Nhat Hanh
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