There’s no easy way to say it: for a lot of people out there right now, things look bleak.
In response to the global coronavirus pandemic, governments around the world have taken drastic measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Gatherings of more than 10 people are cancelled. The gears of the food and beverage industry have ground to a halt. The daily routines of thousands have been upended with work from home imperatives. For many people in the Chicago area, the tension is palpable.
And that’s just a consequence of information that we know in regards to the COVID-19 situation. Add an overarching sense of instability brought on by the daily implementation of world-shifting policies to all of the stresses imposed by actually adjusting to a complete reorganization of day-to-day life for pretty much everyone in the country, and it’s not hard to feel the anxiety creep in.
In these dire times, it seems that people need a way to chill.
“It is imperative to stay calm during times like this because when you are not calm you don’t make good choices,” Claire Mark, Co-Founder, Co-Head of Teacher Training, and Meditation & Yoga Guide at Chill, said about reducing stress at this time. “If you’re in a not calm headspace for long periods of time it can affect your health, and clearly this is a time when being healthy is important.”
Chill, an organization that makes it easier for people to live less stressed, more mindful lives through the practice of meditation, understands how the psychological components of anxiety can physically affect the body in ways detrimental to overall wellbeing. Given the current circumstances, anxiety is mounting for a great number of people, making an already difficult situation that much harder. For Mark, meditation is an effective way of curtailing some of the effects of that anxiety.
“When we practice meditation we can choose to let go of those thoughts that might be causing our anxiety or frustration or fear, and we can focus on thoughts and emotions that are more positive and hopeful,” Mark said. “When we change in that positive direction it has a direct affect on our physical health.”
In recent years, people have increasingly pursued meditation as an alternative way of alleviating anxiety and managing the tactile impact of mental health. If you’ve been thinking about meditation, or just been downright curious about it, experts say that now more than ever is the perfect time to integrate meditation into your life, given the confluence of major life disruptions and the great degree of unknown variables in the future.
“Now is an important time to start integrating meditation into your life because no doubt you are feeling the stress and anxiety of this ever changing situation,” Mark said. “Meditation will help you cope with all of those unknowns.”
To help you get on track with meditating from home during these trying times, we reached out to the experts at Chill to give us some simple meditations you can do on your living room or bedroom floor.
Before you start meditating, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind to get off on the right foot:
- You need a reason, or an intention—a “why” to your practice.
- Start with just a little bit so that it’s manageable.
- Try to meditate at the same time every day.
- If you can do it with someone else, that is ideal, Having some accountability in your practice helps a lot.
- Try to use guided meditations where possible. Some people find it challenging to just sit in silence (especially with everything that’s going on now), which prevents them from directing their thoughts. If you’re a first-timer, definitely start with guided meditations.
And, when you go to do these meditations, remember: it’s not about stopping yourself from thinking altogether. Your mind is meant to think. Meditation is about paying more attention, moving from reactivity to response, and consciously choosing a more mindful existence as we move through our lives.
So, here are four easy meditations you can do from home to handle anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Looking for more ways to chill? Check out Chill’s IGTV sessions every weekday at 9am and 12pm CST for more guided meditations and tips on practicing mindfulness.