It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed by anxiety during these unprecedented times. I definitely have felt overwhelmed these past couple of weeks. It is important to know that your feelings are valid. You are valid, and your feelings are valid. Allow yourself to just feel your feelings. Don’t feel pressured to push them aside or cover them up by distracting yourself. Being attentive toward your emotions and allowing yourself to feel your feelings are important parts of mindfulness and healing. So feel away! It is completely human to do so.
Being attentive toward your emotions and allowing yourself to feel your feelings are important parts of mindfulness and healing.
Once I have given myself time to feel my feelings, I like to turn to some grounding exercises to help me regain a sense of balance. These exercises help me relax and allow me to focus on moving forward, however that may look like, because sometimes moving forward means to practice stillness and allow yourself more time to rest. Some of my favorite, simple grounding exercises are:
- Take 10 slow deep breaths. Say the number of the breath to yourself as you exhale.
- Stay hydrated: drink a glass of water. Dehydration can impact our physical but also our emotional health. I personally get headaches and feel very fatigued when I am dehydrated. If you have a reusable water bottle, challenge yourself to keep it full at all times! Refill it when it’s getting low, and consider setting a goal for how many glasses you want to drink a day.
- Be mindful of your surroundings. This could include pointing out five things that you can see, five things that you can touch, and five things that you can smell. This grounding exercises helps you return to the present moment and regain a sense of balance. I am personally into aromatherapy. Rubbing on some of my Bath and Body Works aromatherapy lotion, or resting my neck on my lavender-camomile warm compress helps me ground my senses and relax my mind. I also like to give my favorite stuffed animals big, warm hugs.
- Remember: this, too, shall pass. Everything is difficult and overwhelming right now. It’s especially overwhelming because most of us have never experienced something like this before. Repeating positive thoughts to myself and reminding myself that this, too, shall pass, has helped me get into a better headspace and look forward to the future.
- Listen to some peaceful, instrumental music. Or put on your favorite playlist and have a dance session in your room! This will help you get moving (and groovin’!) and may brighten up your day.
- Journal, or use art to express your feelings.
- Drink some warm tea or hot cocoa. Treat yourself to your favorite warm beverage.
- Meditate. I use an app called Insight Timer for meditation. It is free on the App Store and Google Play and has tons of free resources to help you with sleep, stress, and anxiety. I typically select a calming sound, such as bird sounds and waterfall, select a time (usually 10-15 minutes), lay down, and close my eyes to meditate. A bell will ring when the time is up. You can adjust the sound and volume of the bell. There are also free, guided meditations available on the app: https://insighttimer.com/meditation-app.
- Give yourself an affirmation. You are doing well! You don’t need to be mastering an instrument or cultivating a new hobby and remaining super productive during this time. You can if it helps you, but taking care of yourself is the most important thing to do right now, and that can simply entail feeling, coping, resting, and healing.
Again, I want to remind you all that it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed right now. These are strange, unprecedented circumstances. Remember to show yourself some extra love and grace and remember that the advocates here at the SSAC are still here for you!
An SSAC Advocate