If you still harbor concerns about the pace of society’s reopening, you aren’t alone. Many people argue that conditions remain too unsafe for a hasty return to prior practices when millions remain unvaccinated and unprotected.
However, individuals alone can’t dictate what the collective does, and you might be one of many finding yourself forced into a return to normal when you feel anything but. Protecting your mental health is vital. Here’s how to combat COVID-19 anxiety with mindfulness and meditation as society reopens.
1. Start Your Practice Now
Please don’t wait until you receive the dreaded “all hands on deck” email from your supervisor to begin your meditation practice. The time to embrace positive coping mechanisms is when things are going well. That way, you have your tools honed and polished when crisis time arrives.
If you’ve never meditated before, all you need is a quiet place free from outside distractions. You don’t need any guide or guru to sit quietly and draw your attention inward. However, if you find it challenging to get started, you can find a world of meditation apps, many of them free or low-cost.
Start by creating a dedicated space for your practice. It helps to make this area comfortable and inviting. You can find specialty meditation pillows or simply surround your mat with cozy fluffs that you adore. Candles and aromatherapy aren’t musts but add a relaxing touch.
You might decide to locate your space outdoors to take advantage of the healing power of nature. If not, a houseplant or two helps remind you of your connection with all living things. A white-noise machine and a privacy room divider help you tune out if you share a space with others.
You don’t need much time — 15 minutes per day is sufficient. Nor do you need to adopt any particular posture. You can sit in lotus or lie in savasana if you like, but the best pose is one that feels comfortable, allowing you to focus on your inner world.
2. Schedule Mindfulness Breaks
Although you want to establish a dedicated daily practice, COVID-19 anxiety can creep up on you in unexpected places. It rarely strikes you only when you hit your mat. It helps to have brief, 5-minute mindfulness techniques in your arsenal to call upon when panic rears its ugly head.
For example, you might master the technique of mindfully eating a piece of chocolate. Before you bite, nibble and sniff the square. Observe the texture. Focus on how it tastes and makes you feel as it dissolves in your tongue to take your mind off its internal panic button.
3. Incorporate Mindful Activities Into Daily Life
As you advance in your practice, you’ll probably notice yourself becoming more mindful during everyday activities. This development is positive — please cultivate it.
For example, if you use your 15-minute work break to take a walk, why not make it a mindful one? Pay attention to the way your feet feel as they rise and fall, and observe the side-to-side sway of your body. Feel the air against your skin and ask yourself what you hear and smell.
4. Put Your Meditation in Motion
Are you still claiming that you don’t have time to meditate? Would a two-for-one deal convince you to give the practice a try? After all, you need to squeeze in time to exercise, too, if you hope to stay healthy.
The next time you have a treadmill or elliptical session scheduled, leave your Airpods at home and turn off the television, instead tuning into your internal world while you sweat. Better yet, take your workout into a beautiful natural setting — perhaps go for a mindfulness hike?
5. Prioritize Your Practice
It can seem overwhelming to squeeze in daily meditation practice, especially if you now need to add a commute back into your day. Why not consider using a combination of mindfulness and modern technology to help you carve out those precious minutes?
For example, you might surprise yourself with how much time you spend on social media each day. Consider navigating to your phone’s settings and applying a screen time limit. If you find yourself repeatedly hitting “add 15 minutes,” you know you’ve found your time vampire.
You can also use various app timers to count the hour you spend on numerous daily tasks. Time is the great equalizer — it’s the one thing that everyone, rich or poor, has in equal amounts. The mere act of mindfully evaluating where yours goes helps you prioritize your life, creating a sense of control that also quiets your anxiety.
Combat COVID-19 Anxiety With Mindfulness and Meditation as Society Reopens
You aren’t alone if you feel like things are returning to the way they were before the pandemic too quickly for comfort. Try using the techniques above to combat COVID-19 anxiety with mindfulness and meditation as society reopens.