Stepping out of isolation with balance and grace...and honoring yourself.
This pandemic has been a unique experience that we have shared on a global scale, however, each individual's experience has been unique on a very personal level. This past year of self-isolation, shelter-in-place, and social distancing has removed us from our daily routines, relationships, physical contact, and the communities that support and sustain us in the different aspects of our lives.
With the vaccine becoming more wildly available and businesses, school, travel, recreation, and the like reopening and returning back into a physical space we find ourselves transitioning and readjusting yet again.
Although we are excited and relieved to see each other and to be able to enjoy dining out, group activities, getting massages, haircuts, and go shopping again, we may not realize the challenges that come with reintegration.
Experiencing anxiety over being back in society is common, even with many of the precautions still in place. For one, we may not feel 100% confident that we are safe. Returning back to shaking hands, hugging, and sitting next to a stranger on the bus or a park bench can easily provoke a stress reaction in the body which has very real emotional, psychological, and physical impacts.
Many of us have gained weight from being at home, less active, and from emotional eating. We may feel self-conscious, shame, or embarrassed. We may not want to run into acquaintances we have not seen in over a year because we do not feel good about the way we look.
Also, the isolation we have been experiencing is not unlike being in a retreat. We have been going inward for many months and willing or not, that changes who we are on some level. It can be challenging returning to a world that is used to interacting with who we once were and not fully knowing who we are now or who we are becoming.
So...how can we reintegrate back into our daily living and how does Ayurveda support us with our relationships with ourselves, our families, and our communities?
Our Ayurveda Self-care tools...
First things first.....BREATHE....AND LISTEN
We are wise and when we listen we can hear what we need.
Take a few moments to STOP every day. Light some incense, burn some resin, walkthrough and purify your home. Find somewhere comfortable to sit and take some long slow deep nostril breaths and let the mind calm, let your body relax, travel inward, and listen. You will hear what you need to do for yourself. Developing our inner voice is essential to connecting, calming, gaining clarity not only for good decisions but also for new ideas. This is one area of life that WE DO have control over. So utilize your breath and be in control of your own mind.
If you're familiar with Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing), do at least 10-20 rounds morning and/or evening to increase this practice. This pranayama/breathing exercise is good for all ages and helps to bring a deep balance and can lead us into a deeper state of knowing ourselves and finding our center through balancing the right and left hemispheres of the brain.
COMMUNITY CARE IS HEALING
It takes us out of survival mode and grounds us with love. Find some time to reach out to stay connected with your communities and loved ones. Do this on the phone, video, or in-person depending on your own comfort level. Talk about how you are feeling and offer the power of listening to those you care about. Give others the opportunity to get to know what you are going through and how this pandemic has impacted who you are.
Holding space for each other and allowing the expression of our feelings out loud can be a powerful way to process and move emotions. Sharing with our communities reinforces our gratitude and healing energy in and around us.
If you are not ready to socialize, it is ok to let your loved ones know. You can communicate " When I am ready I will let you know, but thank you so much for thinking of me and your invitation, I look forward to it in the future :)". This allows honoring where you are at and giving the space you need.
GET OUT INTO NATURE
If your holding a lot of energy and don't know what to do with it, get outside, walk and find a tree or plant to be with. Look for a spot to put your hands on the earth and let all that energy out. Finding time to connect with nature is essential in releasing emotions. Observing nature brings the beautiful images of trees, plants, water, and earth to our awareness and supports a calm mind. This could be taken into a reflective awareness of the five elements outside of us and within us.
CREATE ROUTINES AND CALMING ENVIRONMENTS
Daily routines help us to stabilize our nervous system. Use regular meal times and sleep to support and ground our overall nervous system and mind. Clean the air, smudge your homes, light incense, use essential oil diffusers. Allowing plant medicine to surround your home increasing health, as well as bringing more calmness and clarity.
DIET AND EXERCISE
What you eat is as important as when you eat. Chose foods that nourish you and support your digestive system with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Drink hot teas with herbal infusions that offer a calm mind, support digestion, or increase the immune system.
Movement helps the body transition by increasing circulation, mobilizing joints, and strengthening muscles and tissues. If your having trouble not feeling like your getting enough excercise, get out for a walk of at least 40 minutes and build that up to 3 days a week. And dont forget MUSIC, that makes you want to get up and dance, or sway or sing....
Rest early and rise early, let your body rejuvenate and build your immunity.
Avoid day sleeping as it will cause more congestion and sluggishness in the
body and mind. And lastly remember that....
You are your own best healer.
Ayurvedic Practitioner and Educator.