Mindful Awareness in an Unsettling Time: 10 Things You Can Do
By Karen More
This year has been a lot. It has brought about some next-level fear and anxiety. It has made me crave certainty and the ability to plan. I’ve felt lonely, isolated, and deeply saddened. And I’ve also connected to myself in a way that I never have before. And I’ve started to speak up and use my voice in a way that I never have. The pandemic has caused me to stop and really look at everything exactly as it is. And the pandemic has given me time. A lot of time. I’ve never had this much time alone. And I’m actually growing quite fond of this time with myself. Don’t get me wrong, when theaters open I’ll be excitedly putting on an outfit and hopping on the train to 42nd Street. But for now, I’m grateful for this time to connect with myself. I’ve shifted from mostly anxious to mostly content. I’ve grounded myself in ritual and self-study. I’d like to share what’s been helpful to me, and I hope some of these things will resonate with you:
After a tough week, I had the idea to ask myself this question every morning:
What can you do today to raise your vibration? Or you might prefer: How can I lift my spirits today? What can I do to bring joy to my day? I started to do Twitch and Allison’s Boss Family Workout, which kind of felt like going out dancing in the 90s. A good step touch to a hip hop beat really shifted my energy to a more positive place.
1. I like to start my day with a ritual.
I make some tea and then I do meditation. I have a meditation app that has daily meditations that are about 7-9 minutes long. I appreciate that amount of time because I can commit it to it. And it’s the perfect amount of time for my tea to cool off. Or if you prefer, taking some slow and steady breaths is a great way to start the day.
2. After my meditation, I like to read a chapter from a spiritually uplifting book.
I prefer a book with short chapters because again, I can commit to that.
3. Moving my body is another important part of staying grounded.
I love yoga and that’s my favorite way to move. I’m currently healing from a knee injury, so I haven’t been able to do my regular yoga classes. I’ve been doing some gentle pilates, stretching, and theraband arm exercises. It’s a very low-intensity routine, but that’s the key for me. Having some sort of movement-based routine keeps me feeling aligned and connected to my body.
4. I’ve come to love podcasts.
It seems like everyone has started a podcast and I’m here for it. There are so many awesome conversations out there. And I just like having different voices and new ideas floating around my apartment.
5. I definitely talk on the phone a lot.
I reach out to friends and connect with someone daily. FaceTime is probably my primary motivation for putting on make-up and wearing clothes that aren’t sweatpants; so I try to schedule video chats too. Honestly, doing my hair and wearing an outfit has done wonders for my spirit.
6. All those books I’ve been wanting to read, I’m actually reading them.
Remember I mentioned how much I love podcasts, well there are a lot of authors promoting their books on those podcasts. I’ve ordered quite a few new books. And I’ve never appreciated reading as much as I have during the last 9 months.
7. I’ve also been honing my DJ skills.
I can make a really good playlist. I’ve been known to create playlists for all kinds of things: my personal theme songs, empowerment, manifesting, love, self-love. Making a playlist brings me joy. But turning it up, singing loudly, and dancing around my apartment brings me the most joy…maybe not so much for my neighbors.
8. Home organizing is a thing.
The show The Home Edit really normalized my passion for going all the way there with organizing. I don’t question why organizing makes me so happy, I just know that it does. And for real, a space that’s free of clutter definitely makes me feel calm and peaceful.
9. An evening ritual is a wonderful way to end the day.
I’ve gotten really into bubble baths. I look forward to them every day. And now that it gets dark so early, that evening wind down has become more of a late afternoon thing. After my bubble bath, I’ll put on some comfy clothes and always a pair of fuzzy socks. And then I listen to an Oprah and Deepak meditation. I like to be under a velvet blanket to add to the cozy factor.
10. After my meditation, I enjoy eating a delicious meal.
I’ve been thinking about all the different ways to nourish my body. I just like that word, nourish. I’ve been eating more whole foods and less processed foods. And I’ve been savoring the tastes and textures of everything I eat.
And I’ve become kinder to myself. I’m not so hard on myself these days. I’m doing my best, and that might look different each day.
Ultimately, I’ve established some rituals and routines that feel really good. And I want to feel as good as possible. I hope that you’ve connected to some of these ideas and that you might even want to try them out. I asked a friend how he’s been staying inspired during this time, and he said, “I just keep trying to stack one good moment onto the next.” I love that philosophy and the visual of stacking moments. How can I create a good moment for myself today? And all the moments won’t be great, but let’s not focus on those. Let’s bring our attention to those good moments that we’re building upon. So here’s to creating and stacking good moments by the choices we make to care for and love ourselves.