Thankfully, I was ready for this. I spent 6 days sequestered at a retreat center in early March. I took some time to unplug from the world, to live a slower simpler life, and to reset my brain. Most of the hours consisted of me watching my mind, observing my thoughts. I sat quietly, or walked slowly, or worked mindfully at my yogi job, while trying my very best to stay present and aware.
And now I’m home. And I’m sick. Quarantined with a presumed case of the corona virus. I’m spending most of my time resting, sleeping, exerting very little energy, and (oh boy!) observing my mind. I’m doing my best not to get carried away with doomsday prophecies. I’m not letting my mind wander to any imaginary futures. Stress is bad for the immune system. And I need all the immunity I can muster.
So when my mind runs free to the worst case scenarios, I bring it back to this moment. Inhale. Where am I? Exhale. In my house. Breath in. Is my family safe? Breath out. Yes, they are. Inhale. Can I take a deep breath? Exhale. Yes, I can. Breath in. What sounds do I hear? Breath out. The fish tank. A car driving by. Inhale. How is this very moment? Exhale. It’s okay. On and on with questions about this present moment. Until I have firmly grounded myself in the here and now.
Most of our anxiety comes from projecting into some unforeseen future. Anxiety and stress are no good for the immune system. Stress and panic are no good for our collective immunity.
We are each sequestered in our own heads. We have to do our best to stay grounded in the moment. Be mindfully present, and accept the present moment. If you’re being forced to slow down, and simplify, try to see it as a gift. If you’re on the front lines and being forced to work harder and take risks, know that you are a gift.
We will get through this one moment at a time. And it will be much easier if we stay grounded and calm.
If you’re getting carried away with worst case scenarios take a few minutes to sit quietly and scan your senses. Ask yourself:
What sounds do I hear? What do I smell? What do I see around me? Is there a taste in my mouth? Can I feel the clothes against my skin? Can I follow my breath?
Take a big breath in, and then sigh a big sigh.