This pandemic has been challenging for everyone. I thought that living out of town and being naturally more introverted I would be immune. That was SUPER not the case. I didn’t realize the small breaks I had come to rely on. The minute interactions like small talk with a cashier or feedback from my students in a studio yoga class were something I didn’t realize I would miss until it was gone. With the closure of almost everything and the added push to stay home and stay safe it's become a priority to carve out a little piece of "me time". I've learned to put more emphasis on my need to decompress and be myself while balancing everything else in my life.
Research has shown that regular meditation can help us manage anxiety, stress, and can help us manage our emotions. More and more people have come to feel reliant on their meditation practice to help them feel centered and calm.
Here are some tips and strategies to help support your spiritual practice during this time:
1. You don’t need an hour. If you’re thinking of learning to meditate, you may have gotten the impression that you need to set aside a giant amount of time. False. Start small. Set your phone timer for 3-5 minutes. Some poops take longer. Cognitive scientist Dr. Amishi Jha’s research found that in a sample of U.S. Marines preparing for deployment, meditation sessions as brief as 12 minutes produced cognitive improvements. Another study found that 10 minutes of daily meditation improved GRE test performance in undergraduate students. Does this mean that we should all meditate for 10 to 12 minutes per day? No, but it does suggest that some of the effects of meditation kick in beginning around the 10-minute mark. Ten minutes, evidence suggests, does seem to be a minimum threshold for some of meditation’s benefits to occur. It also happens to be a very doable length of time for many people. Let 10 minutes be your first goal but start small. Maybe break it up into two 3-5 minute attempts a day. Two poops!
2. Stay connected with your support group. I know I’ve needed the support of close friends. I would never describe myself as extroverted, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have my people that love and support me. It wasn’t until a visit with a close friend that I realized I wasn’t actually doing ok. Where she had accomplished a career change I had struggled to stay focused a motivated and had even start believing I was too dumb to accomplish anything. That was not me! Thank goodness for my support team.
3. Include your family. Don’t feel afraid to share your practice with your babies. There’s nothing wrong with sharing what you’re passionate about and what makes you feel good. What drives you. Having an understanding of what drives and motivated others is a great tool for anyone. Teach this to your babies. Let them be compassionate, strong and open minded.
4. Lean on your partner. I’m not sure where I would be without the unconditional love and support of my other half. It wasn’t until I opened up that my partner shared that he was also struggling.
5. Practice, practice, practice. Learning to meditate is like learning a new skill or strengthening a new muscle. Would you attempt to learn to play the guitar in one sitting and expect greatness? Nope! Same goes for meditation. Show yourself the same compassion and kindness you would show others learning something new. You aren’t supposed to sit cross legged and have a blank mind on the first, second or even third attempt. Some just can’t get the silence and decide to use a guided meditation. THAT IS OK!!!
What is your passion? What makes you excited to learn and grow? Hold on to that with both hands and don't let go. Let's lean on each other, learn and grow together.