As a global community, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. This pandemic is creating changes in how we live, relate to each other and work. Our governing bodies are responsive and are regularly issuing revisions to how we operate. Change and limitations, even if they’re created to preserve your health, can create a variety of unpleasant emotions and thought patterns.
So how do you cultivate and maintain your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing in the midst of so many external changes? Below are some guidelines to help you and your loved ones navigate through these times.
1. Acknowledge and accept what you are thinking and feeling.
Rather than resisting unpleasant emotions and thought patterns accept them for what they are and practice letting them go. During times of uncertainly, this may be easier said than done. While not minimising your current experience, a comforting thought is that regardless of physical distance we’re all connected.
“Interconnectedness” is mentioned in The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama and Howard Cutler. They explain that you’re connected to others without consciously realising it. Each day you rely on people to plant the food you eat and make the clothes you wear. If you’re connected to others at all times, regardless of physical distance, then there are people all over the world who are experiencing the same challenges that you are. This realisation creates unity rather than separation, peace rather than panic.
2. As you hear of each new change practice abdominal breathing.
Changes to your work and social situations are occurring regularly. To stabilise your central nervous system during these changes practice regulating your breath so it deepens. Breathing in feel your lower abdomen expand, breathing out feel your lower abdomen fall. Repeat five times. Abdominal breathing relaxes your body and mind. If I’ve supported you during individual treatments or you’ve attended a Reiki course you’ll be familiar with this breathing technique. Read how practicing abdominal breathing helped to reduce anxiety in nursing students before their exams.
3. Be kind to yourself and others.
Everyone is being affected by the pandemic. Practically, it’s forcing you to learn new ways to communicate, exercise, work, and shop. Practicing the Reiki principle “Just for today be kind” as you navigate through changes helps to keep your central nervous system balanced. When your central nervous system is relaxed your chances of staying healthier increase. Read how prosocial behavior (being kind to others) reduced stress and improved mental and emotional wellbeing in study participants.
4. Let go of worry, stay in the present moment and embrace the slow-pace
Worrying about what has occurred in the past is futile and can lead to regret. You do what you know to be best at any given moment. Worrying about the future is equally futile because it’s unknown. Worrying constantly takes your attention from the present moment. It creates more tension in your body and a weaker immune system. Self-Reiki practice and receiving Reiki help to manage worry.
And, we are all being forced to slow down. This slowing down is not permanent. Enforced periods of non-doing create a wonderful opportunity to re-evaluate, rest and re-set which is different from worrying. Post pandemic will you re-enter the world a little slower, a little kinder, a little wiser and a little more grateful?
5. Limit disturbing visual scenes in the media. These increase anxiety and uncertainty.
Keeping updated on what’s taking place globally and locally differs from regular exposure to media coverage of the pandemic. If you wish to keep updated on current events perhaps choose certain times of the day to check changes and avoid following the media just before bed.
I supported a patient with distant Reiki early this week. Her insomnia had heightened dramatically over the past month. During her pre-treatment consultation, she said that she had been following the media regularly. We discussed ways she could limit her media viewing. Her post-treatment feedback after was: “I slept like a log…thank you so much”.
6. Maintain your routine.
Maintaining your usual sleeping, eating, exercising and self-care practices will help you to maintain mental and emotional balance. If you’ve learnt Reiki this may include extended self-Reiki practice. If not, are you able to exercise outside? Walking or running in nature clears your ki (energy). When walking or running, opposite sides of your body, that is your arms and legs, are working simultaneously. According to Andrew Weil, M.D., in his book “Natural Health, Natural Medicine, these movements help to balance your central nervous system.
7. Create a to-do list that includes tasks you’ve been intending to do for yourself and others.
If you’re up to it do your cupboards need a cleanout? Can you donate items? Does your garden need some attention? Are you eager to make gifts for your loved ones? As you go about these tasks focus on what your hands are doing. If you’re cleaning out a wardrobe feel the clothes you’re touching. This focuses your mind, encourages you to drop into your body and brings you to the present moment.
8. Remind yourself that you can control your reaction to external events.
Now more than ever you have an opportunity to choose how you react to situations that are outside your control. Reiki, meditation and deep breathing practices all help to manage your reaction to external events. When you engage in these practices, your reactions become calmer and you’re of greater service to yourself and others. Similar to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy this helps you to acknowledge and then let go of situations that you can’t control and instead focus on taking action to do things that enrich your life.
9. Remind yourself this situation will change.
Nothing is permanent. Thankfully current changes to your work, social interactions, and extracurricular activities will pass.
10. Practice gratitude.
One of the Reiki principles that holds a key to your healing and promotes your health and happiness is “Just for today be grateful”. You can practice gratitude regardless if you’ve learnt Reiki. What is gratitude? Taken from The Oxford Dictionary gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. During this time why not start a gratitude list and write down 10 things each day that you’re grateful for? After maintaining this for three weeks have you noticed that you’re feeling better?
Do you have other suggestions you would like to share? Please email me, I’ll acknowledge your contribution and add them to this list.