In this tumultuous time of anxiety and stress, our daily practices can make a real, tangible difference to our mental, spiritual and physical health. The constant state of worry and uncertainty that is occurring causes our bodies to remain on high alert, ready to protect us at all times. The problem with this is that we are not designed to stay in this Sympathetic nervous system state, we actually need to relax in order for our bodies to do their jobs well! Relaxation or a Parasympathetic nervous system state is an important and necessary time to work on deep cellular healing and keeps our immune systems strong and healthy.
We need to find strategies to help give ourselves that needed rest. While a trip away sounds mighty fine right now that is not feasible or attainable. We need DAILY practices to soothe our spirits, connect to our souls and to feel grounded and stable.
Here are some simple rituals and practices that we find helpful. Consider incorporating these into your daily life or use them as inspiration to find solace that speaks to you.
Nature is where we find our most profound and tangible rest. There are so many studies about the Japanese practice of Forrest Bathing (it’s a thing and it’s amazing!) We tend to be disconnected from our natural world as a society and we forget that we are animals of the Earth first. This can be a walk or hike through a trail in our neighbourhood parks, a beach walk gathering shells or when time doesn’t allow, it’s a focused and directed observation of the view around us. Sometimes it’s as simple as observing the tress blowing in the wind, the exact colour of the bird flying by. The linking theme is the intention behind the practice. This is not a time for Instagram photos, texting, mental grocery lists, or counting calories. This is a quiet focused moment to literally feel the Earth beneath your feet and get grounded. In yoga, we say “Root to rise”
You have to do it after all to survive! Having some kind of breath practice is a game changing ritual. There are so many great online resources to start your breathing practice that I urge you to explore, from Headspace to Youtube videos. Ideally you are creating a small amount of time twice a day to simply sit and breathe. Even a few minutes can make a real change in your mood, energy and sleep.
A simple seated meditation:
Find a comfortable way to sit or lie down. Don’t get too tricky about it, you don’t have to do anything fancy, except be in a position you can stay in for a few minutes comfortably. Maybe remove your glasses and pop open that tight top button though.
Close your eyes or gaze just ahead of you, no big movements with the eyes, keep them soft. Meld the inner and outer experience together here.
Now breathe. Just in and out, nothing tricky, through the nose if you can. Don’t even try to change it or control it. Think of yourself as an observer – just watch the breath without any judgement. Watch your mind as she drifts in and out of this observation. When your mind drifts off, which it will, just ever so softly guide your focus back to the breath and begin the process again.
Some tips –
your attention will drift, that’s ok – it’s normal – doesn’t mean you aren’t “good at meditation”
Some people find counting the breath helpful, just count ten breaths, when you lose focus, just start again at breath one.
Some people enjoy using a mantra (a word or statement to focus on) “I am calm”
Some people find focusing on the “out” breath helpful or focusing on the feel and texture and sound of the breath.
This is mostly a practice of simply Being. Be in the present moment, right now, right where you are.
Tiny Pockets of Pleasure
This is what we call those little moments we find throughout the day to reset. Can you find pleasure in your daily rituals? That first sip of coffee, maybe using your favourite mug and looking out the window and seeing the first tulips. That extra five minutes in the shower, stretching out your neck, feeling the hot stream of water and imagining your tension washing away down the drain. It can be anything at all that YOU enjoy. Sneaking pleasure into your day brings more joy into your life. Use your senses to feel alive, delighted and surprised by your own life. This is simple and it’s free. You will find your mood improve or shift more easily, your patience increased and your stress levels go down as a result. Try to avoid “getting through the week” as though you have to grind through your own life.
Our favourites are using our Cosmic skincare oils to massage onto face and neck (and a nightly foot massage!) as a self-care tool where we use the therapy of massage and touch to feel grounded and supported.
What and where can you embrace feeling pleasure throughout the day? This should be a daily cumulative experience where you are filling your cup constantly all day long. This is a meditative practice that feels good!
You are what you eat
Think of your body as your home. Your vessel and what you have to work with on this Earth, for this life. You have what you have – instead of wishing you were: skinnier, taller, curvier … think of how you can nourish and support the body you have. Think of food as an opportunity to truly fuel yourself, support your mind and body to carry you through this world. You know what to do here. Eat the rainbow, mix it up, aim for local, can’t go wrong with fruits and veggies, drink your water. Eat slowly. Feel gratitude for having food. The art of saying Grace is quite beautiful and profound no matter what your feelings on religion.
I hope you feel inspired to seek joy in your everyday. Search for mindful moments that light you up. Your list is probably very different. Create ritual out of the mundane. This life is a gift and we can make the choice over and over to live it with purpose and on purpose.
Make life Cosmic