Our mental and physical wellbeing are paramount for us to survive this period of quarantine. It is an incredible time to really see where we are at. I have always been interested in the emotional and physical wellbeing and how it affects our bodies. For example, if something emotionally upsets me, I automatically feel pain in my right shoulder. It is amazing how my body tells me through physical pain if something doesn’t feel emotionally right to me. For years I have not made the connection but after much self-discovery I now understand, and it is a fabulous tool to have. It alerts me that I’m not comfortable with the situation or that I’m not being truthful to myself. Perhaps in this period of cocooning, observe if anxiety and fear fuel a lot of your pain. If you do notice this happens to you, what can you do?
1. Thank your body for this alert
2. Stop in that very moment and breathe and remind yourself what you love about yourself and this moment
3. Unlearn your pain – why do you have this pain; how does the pain benefit you? Write down the benefits to you for this pain, this may seem like the craziest idea but it works!
Of course we all breathe; we must to stay alive, but do we actually breathe properly? For years I have suffered from a lot of pain and when I have seen various alternative doctors, they have all told me to breathe. Initially I thought it was an infuriating answer, but after a while I thought I had better give it a go and it worked. I started looking into my breathing, what was I doing wrong? In truth I was not breathing to my full ability, I was shallow breathing to keep me alive but not to thrive. It is all about breathing from your belly, to your chest and to your head. There are several wonderful yoga breathing exercises, click HERE . I am also a huge fan of Wim Hoff, I discovered him on the Goop Lab (Netflix) and now I’m a dedicated follower. I even do a cold shower every day! Please give him a go, and tell me how you feel?
You can find meditation through regularly practicing a handful of strategies that help us to unwind, reduce stress, have fun and be creative. Playfulness and pleasure are critical to sustain our ability to function at our best, so take some time out each day and just sit with your body.
APPS/ ONLINE we love:
CALM (this is portal of peace and calm, when you register you complete the Daily Calm so you can target more specific meditations for that moment in time)
BREETHE (another portal to help you create space for yourself and deal with the everyday challenges, my nephew loves the music to sleep to)
AURA (amazing for those with seriously busy lives, it will quickly calm you from those intense moments. They are 3 minutes to 30 seconds reminders to be back in your body.)
HEADSPACE (they have branded themselves as “your gym membership for the mind”, it offers sleep music, meditation and soundscapes to help you get to sleep. Brilliant.)
MARK GROVES (not technically about meditation but he is brilliant to explore when wanting to go on a path of self discovery)
SMILING MIND – (wonderful for the whole family especially in this time where we need to remember big and small members of the family are affected. This app is free and has been developed by educators and psychologists)
COSMIC KIDS ( this is a winner for our children, we really enjoy doing it too)
This is not necessarily for everyone, but while in this moment give it a chance! Chanting and praying are a beautiful way to release your inner most thoughts and feelings. Shobana from Shobana Cooke Wellness first alerted me to using my voice in chanting, praying and the power of “OM”. I can honestly say it has had a huge impact on my mental and physical wellbeing. Over the years I have suppressed my voice and it has made me physically ill. Releasing my inner anxiety, love, and thoughts has been so empowering. I try to chant every morning, often in the shower if my day is busy, or I will sit in a quiet place and have a longer session, allowing all my frustrations, love, anxiety to flow out. I particularly love chanting the Gayathri Mantra if you are looking for a starting point. Prayer too can be a form of verbal journaling and it is a wonderful daily practice, we all need a connection with someone or something.
It is a way of recording how you feel especially in this crazy moment of world history. As you write, think how in time your grandchildren can learn from your writings. They will learn the politics of it all in the class room but a journal records the day to day aspects which otherwise might get lost; the mundane parts of getting a slot for shopping but also the little bits of joy, like a stunning sunset. This is a time to pass on our records to future generations. Journaling can also help you clear your head, make important connections between thoughts, feelings and behaviors and allow your creativity to flow. I have often journaled in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, it frequently reveals what is truly on my mind and helps me to resolve my internal issues.
Moving our bodies regularly in a way that is enjoyable will do wonders for your physical and emotional body. I really notice a difference when I don’t do any exercise in a day. Yes, we can’t escape and go for a long run around the parks or by the sea, but we can do so much from home. Try something new, I have realized that I love working out on a exercise bike. I put my headphones on and listen very loudly to Drum and Bass and have a right old dance. I don’t care how I look I just flipping love it! If you look on social media many of your favorite gyms and trainers are now doing activities online
So, I believe it is a good thing to keep in touch with the world at this time, we shouldn’t completely isolate ourselves and it is important to keep updated especially with local news. However, our world does not need to be consumed with Covid-19, there are other things happening, like cute baby panda being conceived! How about listening to some of the good news in the world. CLICK HERE There are positive stories and I really encourage you to tune into them. I love listening to podcasts and I particularly like BBC Sounds, but my feed was blocked up with Covid-19 stories which is not the best listening at night time, so now I actively search for more positive podcasts, I love from Apple Podcasts the Deliciously Ella, Anxiety Slayer, Heart and Soul, and Crowd Science,
So I appreciate Sri Lanka is not the easiest of places to obtain books at the best of times but now more than ever we have resources to online books. Reading is a wonderful escape from our lives and a chance to learn something, please let me know other books you love and we can add. Here are a few which I just love:
Thrive – by Arianna Huffington
Daring Greatly – by Brene Brown
The Conscious Parent – by Shefali Tsabary
My Feel Good Book (for Kids -) by Francoize Boucher
My Hidden Chimp (for kids) – by Professor Steve Peters
Silk Roads: A New History of the World – by Peter Frankopan
Elephant Complex – by John Gimlette
The Offing – by Benjamin Myers
The Paris Architect – by Charles Belfoure
The Binding – by Bridget Collins
The Second Sleep – by Robert Harris
Noughts and Crosses Series – by Malorie Blackman