Taking a mindful moment to pause, breathe, connect and feel calm will give you sense of peace, love and happiness during these days of isolation. Priya Khan, founder of Little Crystal Minds, shares her tips for mindfully isolating, encouraging us to take each day as it comes, focus on the now and make the most of the opportunity.
Take this moment to slow down and take each day as it comes. We are so used to rushing around every day and being on autopilot, it can feel strange when we stop or our routine changes. There is no more auto pilot and we now have to steer and navigate our way in this new life we have. We have often craved this time, and now we have it, we don’t know what to do!
Let’s first take a mindful moment of acceptance and allow ourselves to navigate inward so we can handle the outside world. Give yourself time to accept this new world we are in, this new way of living. Practice a mindful pause each day to accept the feelings and emotions that come up - notice the emotion, sit with the feeling and it will soon pass rather than storing it up within. It’s also really important during the days of isolation that we allow each family member to have at least 15 minutes me time away from everyone else each day. It's hard work being around the same people day in day out with nowhere to go so provide an escape from it all, an area in the house or even a cushion where each family member can sit and just be.
Let's all stop for a moment, literally feel the ground beneath your feet, place your hand over your heart and take 3 or 4 nice, slow deep breaths (in through the nose; out through the mouth) and see if you can find some appreciation for this global pause from the usual grind, from the frantic pace of our busy lives, from all the stuff that we consume and that consumes us.
Give yourself that moment at least twice a day to ground yourself and focus on your breath. This will be your anchor to handle any anxiety, frustration, stress or sadness that you might be feeling. I would highly recommend doing this exercise with your children and family during the day, let’s all start to build in mindful practice that will start to connect you to yourself and to each other with love and compassion.
Once you have connected to yourself through breath work, allow this isolation time to give you the opportunity to build strong connections with your family. Incorporate special time with each child where they get your full attention, just you and them. Give each child 1-2-1 time for at least 15 minutes each day. Start with a chat on how they are feeling, ask open ended questions about things that you observe, such as “I saw earlier that you looked a bit sad or distant and I've been wondering if you are ok, I’m here for you, if you are worried you know that it’s okay to feel that way, how are you doing, what do you need?”.
Ensure your children have a safe, special moment to express their feelings. Always empathise and show compassion no matter what they say... validate their feelings. During special 1-2-1 time, bring in some fun as well. Let your child be the teacher, they will love having some control and a say in what they would like to do during this time. I would also recommend family time once a week, the weekend is a great opportunity to break the daily routine. Discuss what each family member would like family time to look like, for example watching a movie, playing board games, making crafts, having a karaoke night or disco, or playing outdoors in the garden. We have time to ensure each family member is heard and has be given the time to do something they enjoy. Children want nothing more than to be heard and feel special.
Introduce a gratitude practice. It’s a game changer. Your perception of the world changes as you become mindfully aware of gratitude. As your gratitude increases, so does your happiness! Why? Because gratitude helps make sense of the past, brings peace to the present moment and can create a vision or acceptance for the future. You can increase your gratitude and happiness simply by bringing images to mind that give you a sense of joy.
Bringing a gratitude practice into your home is easy. In the morning when you wake up or just before bed time, either alone or as a family, name 3 things you are grateful for today. Or another option is it have a gratitude jar for everyone to write down and put in things that make them happy and they are grateful for. You’ll find it starts to become the simple things, like having a safe home, loving family, health, listening to the birds singing, chatting to a friend online. With my family we are now showing gratitude to our health service every time we wash our hands, thankful for all the workers on the front line and those keeping the grocery shops, pharmacies, schools running.
Let It Go
Let go of the need for control. All of us have this need. When we don’t have control, it can feel very scary, we feel powerless and fearful. Having limited choices make us feel vulnerable. This is when anxiety can really kick in, when we feel we have no choice, no control, no say. I urge you during this time to let go of this need, because it’s always those things we have no control over that makes us anxious, stressed and annoyed. If we can’t control them, why waste our time and energy on allowing these thoughts to consume us.
This will then automatically filter down to our children and how we handle them. We start to live in fear during our everyday lives. So, let go of control and focus on areas in your life you have some say and influence over. My circle of control diagram, shows you those areas we have no control over right now which we still allow to consume us, rather than letting them go, and those areas we have some control and could benefit us and ease our fears and worries. Use this diagram to let go of your need to control those areas we have no say in and let’s focus our time on what is most important to us right now.