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Mindfulness in Uncertainty

The world is an overwhelming place right now, and we understand how hard it has been to focus on anything besides the COVID-19 pandemic. You may be feeling that things seem uncontrollable, but during this time it’s important to hone into the things you can control.  Remember the weight of social distancing, self-care practices, and your compassion towards yourself, and others. We know the practice of mindfulness is needed now more than ever, so here are a few new tips to add to your daily routines during this time of uncertainty. 

  • Write, write, write 

Grab a notebook and jot down your feelings, just as they are. Use this time to feel and acknowledge without judgement, a key component in mindfulness. Studies have shown the many benefits to journaling, including stronger memory, communication, better sleep and even a stronger immune system. Journalling doesn’t have to be regimented and can include simple things such as asking yourself how you’re feeling in that moment, or even a list of five things that bring you joy.

  • Practice gratitude, every day

There are so many benefits of practicing gratitude, including enhanced empathy, better sleep, improved self-esteem and mental strength. As a challenge, exchange moments of self-pity for recognizing what you have to be grateful for. You can choose simple things, like a kind text from a friend or your much-needed cup of coffee. One of my favourite ways to practice gratitude is to have a “gratitude buddy” and to check in every day with five things you are each grateful for. A great exercise to keep you both accountable and reflective. 

  • Breathe 

The breath is a powerful tool to help bring stability and grounding to your present moment. Taking a few minutes to do a short meditation can bring an immediate change to how you’re feeling. A few rounds of mindful breathing or a formal meditation practice each day can help to rebalance your nervous system, tone down the fight-or-flight response and help to make better-reasoned responses and decisions. You can follow the GIF above, or check out these short meditative practices

  • Move mindfully

It’s important for both our bodies and mind to stay active during this time. Whether it’s connecting with the soles of your feet when you walk (a great way to quickly ground yourself during the day!) or following an at-home workout, do your best to move your body. Here is an at-home mindful movement practice to help you get started. 

  • Intake media mindfully

 

 

 

 

While it’s important to stay informed, it’s also important to pay attention to how much media you’re consuming. During this time of social-distancing, set timers for yourself to ensure you’re being mindful of your social media, news and overall technology use. When connecting with a friend or loved one, perhaps set a challenge to keep current news out of the conversation. It’s alright to take a break, your minds and body will thank you for it.

  • Connect with a community

Now is the time to reach out and connect, despite the physical distance. Schedule Skype calls, send a meme, or a text. Take this time to especially check in with anyone who may be particularly vulnerable. If you’re looking to join an online community, consider signing up for one of our MSC, MBSR or MBCT courses, which have all been adjusted to online formatting. We also invite you to our free daily meditations on our Facebook page, from Monday to Friday at noon. This short breathing practice will be hosted by one of our faculty members, and are only five minutes in length. 

Whatever feelings may be present at this time, know that you are not alone. We are collectively going through this. We don’t have to panic, or live in fear – we just have to reach a little further in our compassion to keep each other safe. 

Chetna Suri is a writer for the Centre for Mindfulness Studies and is working to connect more individuals to mindfulness-based practices. She’s a previous student of the MBCT, and MBSR programming. Since graduating from the University of Toronto she’s worked as a digital writer and is passionate about mental health advocacy. 

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