The pandemic has been here longer than anyone has expected. You might think by now we are used to being isolated in our home, wearing masks, setting a routine with whatever we have adjusted our lives to. Right? Not really. In a way, we will never get used to this new “normal” because part of us is still longing for the old to come back. Another part of us is never going to settle for this kind of life. Why should we? The answer to this question can go in many different directions. For this blog and our Health and Wellness audience, let me take the answer in the direction of self-care and wellness.
Hitting the reset button during the pandemic requires special discipline and determination because we can’t just pack our bags and book a flight to fly off to an exotic place for a weekend, or take a short trip out of town to stay at a rented cottage until we restore our inspiration. Anything that requires getting out of your house requires second thoughts and lots of caution during the pandemic, especially when the weather is getting cooler again and when staying indoors is becoming more suitable. So, “resetting our button” takes creativity and it is probably better to be done at home, where it is safest without a lot of sanitizing and cleaning and being cautious.
Hitting the reset button can be learning a new skill to practice at home. For example: learning how to meditate is a skill that takes consciousness on our part. You have to spend some time concentrating before you can get to meditate. Often, when we just sit down and quiet our mind to get ready for meditation, we are not quite there yet. Very often, that’s when we notice certain aches, pain, or discomfort in our body when we are sitting down quietly. Perhaps you find it uncomfortable in a certain sitting position or can’t even get to a comfortable sitting position. That’s when it breaks your concentration. Take heart! I have a few tips for you.
Personal tips on how to settle into a meditation position:
- Prepare a nook in your house where you could put a chair, a sitting mat, or a yoga mat for sitting.
- It will be ideal if you can easily find a nook that is free from noises (whether from the rest of your family or from your neighborhood if you live in a city). But if that is not accessible, make do with your internal focus and “block out” the noises as they come.
- Close your eyes and turn your focus internally. Perhaps start with your breath. Notice how you breathe. Put one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Notice the rise and fall of your belly and chest as you inhale and exhale.
- This is how you “block out” the noises that come to you: If you hear a noise, let it pass you. Just come back to your breath and notice once again on the rise and fall of your belly and chest with each inhalation and exhalation.
- Don’t fight the noise. Accept it and notice how often you have to consciously turn your attention back to your breath as each sound of the noise comes to you.
- Let it go and let it pass. Use your breath to guide you back to your internal focus.
- You will develop a rhythm if repeated noises keep happening. Rise above the noise and develop an internal focus using your breath.
- After you settle into a comfortable position. Focus on the present moment. Let your thoughts go and accept what your mind wanders to without dwelling on one thought or thing in your thoughts. At first, it may take some discipline to control yourself from acting out your thoughts if you are a Type A or an action-prone individual. Let your thoughts go. Let them pass. Keep coming back to your breath no matter how many times.
Playing Music in the Background helps to Create an Ambient Noise with your Environment
It may be helpful if you can use music in the background to create an ambient for your meditation. The kind of music to play in the background depends on your preference and varies from individual to individual. For me, I like classical music or meditation music, or just the sound of waterfall to create the ambient. I also set a timer to give myself a start time and an end time. But I give myself an allowance of 5 to 7 more minutes to settle into my comfortable sitting position. If I wanted to meditate for 10 minutes, I would set my timer for 15 or 17 minutes. I suggest that you start with a shorter time duration when you first start to meditate. It will be more encouraging for you to see your progress over time.
Even as a yoga teacher, meditation doesn’t come easily for me. It is something that I have to learn and consciously to practice. In the beginning, I started with moving meditations, and only gradually after I have learned from a teacher could I come to sitting meditation.
As the weather is getting cooler in the fall now, I know winter will be here soon. I have mentally to prepare for the cold and snowy days ahead. My mind easily comes to a quote I used in my term paper during my school days. It’s the famous quote from Albert Camus.
In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.~Albert Camus~
It’s from my heart to yours. Happy Meditating! Namaste!