If the strange set of current affairs has you feeling a bit wobbly and ungrounded - you are not alone!
Millions of people all over the world are feeling unprecedentedly physically, financially and emotionally threatened and vulnerable. To say this cumulative energy is overwhelming would be an understatement.
After having a mini-meltdown of my own the first two weeks of quarantine, I wanted to share a list of proactive activities that I'm using personally to help bring a sense of grounding, strength, balance and peace into my life.
1) Nature. Studies have shown that spending 20 minutes a day in nature can greatly improve levels of stress and anxiety and even stimulate melatonin production, which is adversely affected by too much screen time. Fluorescent lights, computers, printers, televisions, copiers, pollution and cell phones emit positive ions which can lead to headaches, low energy levels, nausea, brain fog, increased stress and anxiety and low libido. Forests, lakes, beaches, mountains, clean air, rain and waterfalls emit negative ions which balance the human body by neutralizing free radicals, enhancing immunity, soothing the nervous system and supercharging cell metabolism. Eating your lunch in a park or your backyard, laying down on the ground (earthing), walking through the woods or on the beach (if permitted), watching the sun rise or set and sitting underneath a tree are all accessible ways to incorporate the healing powers of nature into your everyday routine.
2) Sound. Sound healing has been used for thousands of years to heal illness and restore mental balance. A Tibetan or crystal bowl sound bath can work to break up old energies that have become trapped in the subtle body and nervous system, helping to release feelings of heaviness or being "stuck." Binaural beats and Solfeggio frequencies work to trigger specific responses in the brain such as anxiety and addiction relief. If you don't have access to a sound bowl, there are plenty of options available on YouTube. Instead of watching the news or listening to a morning talk show, I throw one of these videos on when getting ready for the day.
3) Water. Water helps stimulate healing in the sacral chakra - the energy center responsible for our emotions, creativity and sexuality (read more about the healing power of water in my blog post here). If you're feeling uninspired, try spending some time close to the water - a pool, lake, creek, stream, river or the ocean, or if you're pressed for time, drink a glass of water with lemon, lime or cucumber. Allow your cells to soak up the hydration which will boost circulation and digestion and fuel your brain. Epsom salt baths are another tried and true healing tool for busting through a bad mood as they draw out toxins, reduce inflammation and cleanse the aura. Shop my detox bath salts and ritual bath kits here!
My go-to bath recipe:
4) Move. The root chakra rules the bones, blood, adrenals, legs and feet and governs our sense of strength, stability and safety; engaging the muscles in the lower extremities through activities such as running, hopping, jumping, walking, dance and weight training increases energetic flow in this center. Increasing strength empowers us on a physical and psychological level. As we become stronger, so our body cultivates a sense of security and stability. This doesn't mean we have to become body builders, but as weight training can help improve bone density as well, I like to incorporate it 2 to 3 times a week (I keep all of my weights under 8 lbs). Body weight resistance exercises like Pilates or dance are a great substitution if you don't have access to equipment or are averse to weight training - any activity or movement that helps you feel strong, confident and empowered is perfect!
5) Volunteer. Helping someone else can quickly help shift perspective and break us out of the small world of our minds. Even though volunteering helps others, it's actually a beautiful form of self-care which touches on all three pillars of happiness (in Positive Psychology - pleasure and gratification, embodiment of strengths and virtues & meaning and purpose).
6) Body Scan. So much of modern life is lived in our heads - bringing awareness to the body as a whole - all of the muscles, tendons, bones and their accompanying sensations, increases the feeling of connection to our body. Try performing a body scan every morning before getting out of bed. Start from the toes and slowly working your way up, taking note of all of the sensations you may feel, observing without judgment which areas may be holding tension or resistance and honoring your body where it is that day.
7) Garden. Digging hands into the rich soil strengthens our connection to the earth and has been proven to help lower stress levels and alleviate symptoms of depression.
8) Aromatherapy. Essential oils vibrate much higher than the human body and promote balance by communicating directly with the limbic system to soothe and regulate the nervous system. Patchouli has grounding energy and also helps fight body shame; cedar, vetiver, and myrrh are also good options. I like to dab a bit of patchouli on the soles of my feet when feeling ungrounded or out of control. The Luminous Aura Meditation Spray also works quickly to soothe the mind and promote relaxation while the Namaste High Vibrations Sacred Smudge Spray works to dissolve negative energy and draw out mental tension.
9) Crystal energy. Any silver, brown, black or red crystal will help dissolve negative energy and increase feelings of strength and stability. Similar to essential oils, crystals emit a high vibration that isn't affected by mood swings or external circumstances. Check out my root chakra 'earth' set here or here for specific crystal recommendations (bloodstone, black kyanite, red jasper, obsidian and shungite to name a few) or my 'Peace Out' crystal set for anxiety support here. Ancient Roman soldiers used to rub crushed hematite on their bodies before battle as they noticed this increased feelings of strength, endurance and stamina. Read more about crystal energy in my blog post here.
10) Sing. Singing is a wonderful way to raise vibration, activate the heart and throat chakras and harmonize ourselves with the Universe. If you don't feel comfortable singing, you can hum or chant - Om is an accessible chant and is the primordial sound of the Universe.
11) Face your fears. Spend some time meditating or journaling about the fears that are currently present in your life. This is not an easy exercise as quite often these fears can be hard to let go of. We've been carrying them around so long they start to feel more like old friends who have kept us safe. Take some time to examine what fears you have outgrown, thank them for their protection and lovingly release them into the ether.
12) Use Affirmations. Choose a simple sentence that's easy to remember and repeat it to yourself often. Recite this to yourself whenever you feel doubt, fear and insecurity creep in.
13) Yoga. Poses that encourage connection to the earth through the tailbone or feet and legs such as easy seated pose, seated forward fold, child's pose, tree pose and mountain pose all help stimulate energetic flow to increase feelings of stability and connection.
14) Guided Imagery. Envision a swirling disc of brilliant red light spinning smoothly in a clockwise motion at the base of your spine. Then imagine this red light spilling into your legs and feet like liquid lava, infusing the cells of your body with feelings of safety, strength, security and abundance.
15) Journal. Questions to help facilitate healing include:
16) Walk barefoot. Walking barefoot has been proven to improve immune function, digestion, circulation and inflammation as well as stabilize the body's biological rhythms.
17) 5-4-3-2-1 method. This widely-used coping method for anxiety helps bring focus to the present moment which can be helpful when fear is taking over and creating worst-case scenarios in our minds. How it works: In this moment acknowledge and name five things you can see around you, acknowledge and name four things you can touch, acknowledge and name three things you can touch, acknowledge and name three things you can hear, acknowledge and name two things you can smell, acknowledge and name one thing you can taste.
18) Breathwork (pranayama). The benefits of pranayama - intentional breathing, are seemingly endless and include increased immunity, circulation, brain, metabolism, energetic, digestive and detoxification function, decreased stress and cortisol levels and stimulation of the vagus nerve which helps calm and soothe the nervous system leading to improved rest and relaxation. Three-part (abdomen, diaphragm and chest) breath is an accessible way to begin an at-home pranayama practice - click here for instructions. Read my blog post here for two easy pranayamas to begin and end your day!
19) Change focus. This can be easier said than done, especially when fear is getting the best of us. One of the practices I use most often is purposeful distraction. How it works - choose a color then try to identify all of the different shades of that color you can see in the environment around you. So if I choose blue, I'm noticing the cobalt in our back splash tile, the royal blue stripes in the kitchen rug, the bright aqua of the sky etc. You can continue with each color until you feel calm.
20) Gratitude. Gratitude changes everything. In the midst of a crisis or what feels like our world falling apart, it's easy to forget to be grateful for what we do have. This ends up working against us as it keeps us in lack consciousness which attracts more of that energy back into our experience (you can read more about the science and psychology behind gratitude in my blog post here). Writing down 3 to 5 things you're grateful for each day has been clinically proven to significantly improve levels of happiness and contentment in life - these can be simple and uncomplicated - fresh water, fresh air, infrastructure, sunshine, birds singing, the sunrise etc.
How have you been finding peace in this strange time? Which of these healing practices resonates most with you?
Do you have the capacity to receive AND hold on to what you think you want?
Let’s try it – how does it feel in your body to imagine inviting a loving, healthy relationship into your life?
Where do you feel this in your body? What sensations do you feel when you imagine this? How does it feel – expansive or constricting? Do you feel a sense of lightness at the prospect of sharing your life with a supportive partner, or does the thought of this agitate you because your nervous system is used to chaotic relationships? Did you have to self-soothe as a child so now the thought of living with someone else makes you anxious because you are truly most comfortable alone?
Tomorrow marks the Fall Equinox and signifies one of two days out of the year (the other being the Spring or 'Vernal' Equinox) when day and night are almost exactly equal lengths and the entire planet is most in balance.
Taking our queue from Nature's rhythms, this week is the optimal time to examine balance in our lives.