Practicing Mindfulness During a Pandemic
Written by: Sarah Schoolden
There is no secret our planet has risen an immense amount of concern within the past year. We have faced the worst wildfires recorded in history; our oceans are significantly warming up leading to bleaching of the coral reefs – killing off majority of the reefs in our waters; polar ice caps are melting, and, the cherry on top, a viral outbreak has spread worldwide, killing plenty along its path of destruction. We are at war with a ruthless bio-terrorist named Covid-19. Aside to all the negative that is religiously broadcast, there is also beauty that has risen amid all the chaos. Waters are running clearer, and are thriving with wildlife; skies are bluer, and stars are more visible in highly-populated areas. Though, most importantly, humanity is reuniting as one and truly coming together to make the best out of the darkest situation we are all enduring in.
During our time of ‘quarantining’ or ‘social distancing’, most are neglecting the outdoors in total. Some won’t even leave the four walls of their home, however, how is that healthy? How can we practice and enjoy the freedom of mindfulness during a pandemic like such? I am not encouraging to go outside and mingle with everyone whom you encounter, I am saying enjoy the nature around you. Be one with Mother Earth. Go out on your balcony, your porch, or your yard – embrace the environment around you and within you. Allow Mother Nature’s energy to bring positivity and awareness to you. Ground yourself with Her. Now, what is ‘grounding’? It is merely a bond you perform with nature in a sacred and appreciative matter. Taking off your shoes and walking barefoot among the grass and dirt; lying on the ground, gazing at the sky and enjoying the freedom of the wind as it kisses your skin.
The best way I practice Mindfulness is planting, meditating and enjoying yoga outdoors. I am extremely connected to the outdoors and cherish every moment shared under the sun. Go and grab your favorite healing stones, a smudge stick and a yoga mat – or nothing at all. Start off with smudging the air around you, allow the good energy to flow within you as you inhale and bring awareness and positivity around you. Repel the negative from the realm of positivity that surrounds you with your following exhalation. Inhale the good, exhale the bad. Repeat. Chant or sing a mantra of your liking. Allow your emotions to pour out of your being. Cry, scream, laugh, stretch or even dance it out. Truly connect to your higher self, unlock the chambers to your subconscious mind and allow your body to fall into a deep, relaxing state of meditation. Let your limbs become restless, your face muscles to go numb and completely melt into the ground. Become one with Mother Earth. While in your state of relaxation think about your surroundings; is the air warm or crisp; is the ground moist or dry; are you lying on grass or sand; do you hear birds chirping; is the winding howling or are waves crashing? Let these noises be pure music to your ears as you continue to concentrate on your breathing.
Once you’ve come to peace with your body, mind and soul slowly move your extremities – wiggle you fingers and toes, next your limbs. Slowly open your eyes, extend your smile from ear to ear, and take a deep inhale slowly releasing your exhalation as you witness your diaphragms movement as your lungs fill up with air and slowly be released. Take into consideration of the remarkable ability we – who are not affected by Coronavirus – have by simply breathing . We can utilize complete function of our lungs. We are not experiencing respiratory compromises nor losing our lives due to respiratory failure.
We are BREATHING . We are ALIVE . It is something so small, yet so significant. Nearly 200,000 people worldwide have passed away from the virus. Most of which were hooked up to ventilators keeping them alive and able to breathe due to insufficiently being able to breathe on their own. The next inhale and exhale you take do it for the lives that could breathe no longer on their own. Practicing mindfulness merely will help us all cope with what we are all facing, keeping us sane, united and as internally healthy as we possibly can be.
** Everyone practice safely. Respect social distancing and take good care of yourselves. **