Get Outside & Get Off Social Media -- A Yogini's Guide to Dealing with the Coronavirus
Heidi Wirtz is a professional rock climber and yogini. She runs Earth Play Retreats, taking people on climbing, surfing, yoga adventures around the world. Heidi is co-leading the first Four Corners Guides yoga & meditation retreat this fall with meditation instructor Tom Weiser. She graciously allowed us to reprint this on our blog. It's full of great suggestions and sage advice on how to stay healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.
As we move forward in these unclear and uncertain times the amount of stress, anxiety, and even panic that many of us are experiencing is also rising. This is completely natural as our normal lives have been disrupted. I have created some simple ways to help cope during these uneasy times. Hope they help!
First off it is important to realize that the entire world is also going through the very same experience that we are witnessing in our own lives. As you may or may not be aware, we as humans are all connected. When there is a collective anxiety and fear rising within this many people the ripples (or waves in the case) can actually be felt by us (especially if you are sensitive), though it is not actually our own anxiety. This is not to discount what you are going through at this time, but rather to assure you that some of your anxiety is likely coming from outside of your own being and out of your control.
We only have control over our own experience and unfortunately cannot likely do much to control the collective anxiety, except by not adding to it. This being said, it is imperative that we pay attention to these feelings and try not to cling onto them. We should try and notice the feelings and let them then pass on--somewhat like we do when we watch movie credits on a screen. We see them roll by and don’t get attached, but rather just watch them keep rolling by. It is a practice, so just try to notice and breath it out. This is a great time to focus on yourself, engage in self-care practices and remember to breath!
Speaking of breathing: deep, relaxed, belly breaths is really helpful. There is a lot of research that shows that one of these breaths will very quickly switch our nervous system out of the flight or fight response. This type of breathing is nearly impossible to do when you're in the midst of a high anxiety event, so I recommend practicing when you're not in that state. The more of a habit it is, the easier it is to access when you need it. 5-10 deep breaths whenever you think of it.
Stop the Social Media Madness
Get off social media and turn off the news, and do something else instead, such as drawing, reading or journaling. It is best to find a balance between being informed vs being inundated. I am writing this also as a reminder to myself.
This is actually my #1 in terms of self-care and anti-stress. Nature is definitely something that we all need! Thus, it is super important to get outside during this time! Recent research has found what nature-lovers have long expected: spending time in a green space, such as a park, provides benefits for one’s mental and physical health. Exercising in a park, instead of inside a gym or your house, has shown to provide mental health benefits as a greater sense of well-being. Walking for 20 minutes in a green space has been proven to help children with ADHD improve their concentration, even working as well as, or better than medication. People who live in more natural settings have better overall health, even when research has taken into account economic differences.
Anyway, we all know that getting outside makes us feel better!! So, get out every day if possible!
Get plenty of sleep. We might notice that we are more tired lately. This is from the stress that is likely plaguing us. I am feeling it for sure. It is super important to listen to this and get the sleep that your body wants and needs right now. No need to get behind on sleep and stress your system more than necessary.
Meditate and do yoga
This is a great time to start or enhance your practice. One of the best ways to ease stress and anxiety is to practice yoga and meditation,
I created a series of yoga videos with Climbing Magazine a while back, and we are currently offering the course for free. The link is below.