With all the news and uncertainly surrounding the the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease), mindfulness can help you stay calm while reducing stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.
Here are a few tips to help you use mindfulness to protect your mental health and cultivate some peace during COVID-19, one breath at a time…
Are you feeling the mental health toll of COVID-19?
Have you been scrolling through social media looking for updates?
Finding yourself unable to stop checking the news?
Feeling increasingly worried, scared, or unprepared?
While infection rates continue to increase and authorities take bolder actions to restrict public interactions, it is not uncommon for people to feel concerned about the current situation.
At times of uncertainty and panic it can be especially beneficial to turn your attention inwards to cultivate a sense of calmness between the chaos.
This does not mean that you ignore everything that is going on around you, but rather that you strengthen your mindfulness skills for managing stress, anxiety, and feelings of isolation.
How to use mindfulness for COVID-19
One of the main messages that health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are sending is “wash your hands” and “wash your hands often”.
Being mindful of washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your face, particularly eyes, nose, and mouth are essential steps in protecting yourself. Also, making sure that you are washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol content are also important.
One way to help yourself clean your hands long enough is to practice a hand washing meditation such as the one below.
Another way to use mindfulness for COVID-19 is to take a step back whenever you are feeling overwhelmed and focus on your breathing. Big inhalations, big exhalations. Focus on your breathing for a few minutes before returning to your tasks.
- Limiting your exposure to social media and distressing news
- Access your news only at designated times of the day instead of constantly checking
- Focus on practical steps to protect yourself and family
- Be kind and compassionate to others, especially health care workers, first responders, and people infected with the illness
- Practice empathy towards others and recognize that there are many far less fortunate who are suffering
- Give gratitude for the health and good fortune you have at this moment
- Try to keep up a routine or make a new routine, especially for children
- Recognize that some people are suffering from the mental toll of the pandemic and may not exhibit symptoms
- Look after yourself by maintaining proper hygiene and getting good sleep
- Cultivate peace and calmness through practices like meditation, yoga, or prayer
Mindful hand washing meditation
Breathing in, I am turning on the tap.
Breathing out, I am placing my hands in the water.
Breathing in, I feel the warm water on my hands
Breathing out, I enjoy the feeling.
Breathing in, I place soap in my hands.
Breathing out, I rub my hands together.
Breathing in, I rub between each finger on my left hand.
Breathing out, I wash between each finger on my right hand.
Breathing in, I lather the back of my left hand.
Breathing out, I lather the back of my right hand.
Breathing in, I rinse my hands.
Breathing out, rinse them once more.
Breathing in, I reach for a clean towel.
Breathing out, I turn off the tap.
Breathing in, I dry my hands.
Breathing out, my hands are clean.
Benefits of staying calm during COVID-19:
It is very easy to get caught up in the news and feel overwhelmed by the coronavirus updates. With a little awareness and some mindful practice, you can cultivate calmness and increase your mental resilience.
The benefits of practicing mindfulness during COVID-19 include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Being in a mental state where you are able to help others such as family members and friends
- Not getting overwhelmed by new updates
- Avoiding impulsive shopping
- Staying grounded in decision making
- Feeling better equipped to cope with whatever challenges could arise
- Reduced feelings of loneliness
Activities to enjoy at home during COVID-19
Arts and crafts
Games and puzzles
Tidy your house
Connect with family and friends
Cooking and baking
Staying calm during times of uncertainty such as the recent COVID-19 outbreak has many benefits for the health and wellbeing of yourself, your family, and society at large.
Being mindful, staying calm, and exhibiting compassion are essential to overcoming these difficult times.
Let us work through COVID-19 together as compassionately, efficiently, and mindfully as possible.
Together, we will get through this.
You are not alone!
Photo thanks to @timmossholder