There is a certain buzz in the air and it’s not just the bumblebees enjoying the blossoming flowers 😉. We are allowed to dine indoors, take off our masks in small gatherings outside and many folks are being called back to the office. Over one hundred million Americans have been vaccinated. Children are going back to school, and graduations are being held in person. A police officer was found guilty of murder and an ounce of justice was served. Some folks received stimulus checks and some have had their unemployment benefits continue. There is a welcome sigh of *relief* for many.
On the other hand, the virus is mutating and unremitting in other parts of the world and even in some states in the U.S. We are cautioned to be hypervigilant at the same time we are encouraged to start going about our lives again. Children are back in school but for shortened days and half of the week, creating a nightmare for parents who work and have to figure out transportation. Unemployment has run out for some and jobs are scarce. Even though there was a guilty verdict for one police officer, the deep roots of systemic racism and a flawed criminal justice system continue to exist. We are being told to breathe deeply and hold our breath at the same time.
The buzz in the air is also inside of us. In my practice, we often call this anxiety. We can also name it as excitement, fear, hesitation, stress, discomfort or uncertainty. The idea of ‘going back to normal’ or the city ‘opening up’ or ‘going back to the office’ provokes a response in all of us ~ not so pleasant for many. As most of you know if you’ve read any of my newsletters, blogs or social media posts, I am a great fan of mindfulness as a practice for helping to cope with difficult situations, stressors and to simply stay grounded and centered during times of uncertainty. Below are a few steps that I’ve found particularly helpful for myself as well as my clients to aide our nervous systems, our minds and bodies, to calm the buzz, acclimate to this new season and help us blossom along with the flowers. 🌷
Name It To Tame It
Dan Siegel, MD coined this term although it is a common practice for any of us who regularly practice mindfulness. Naming what we are thinking, feeling, and sensing is the starting point. If we aren’t aware of what is happening in and around our bodies and minds, we can’t address it. I have a wonderful collection of guides available on mindsttead.org (basically an Etsy store for mental and physical wellbeing products) including one of my favorite, Mindfulness Tips: Notice and Name, which walks you through the steps of noticing and naming what you are experiencing to calm the nervous system. If you don’t know what is right or wrong, you can’t begin to enhance it or change it.
Author and activist, Sonya Renee Taylor, beautifully expressed the opportunity we have before us, “We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” Now is the time to ask yourself what is the garment that you want to stitch? How do you want to re-enter your social-life, your work-life? Are there any new hobbies or exercise routines that you started during the pandemic that you wan to continue? What family-time routines and activities do you want to continue? Is there anything you want to ‘leave behind’ ? Take time to journal, or share with a friend some intentions you have for yourself as Springtime unfolds and the world opens back up. Stitch your own garment.
Be Patient, Be Kind, Be Accepting of Yourself
If you aren’t ready to dine indoors yet, don’t. If you don’t want your kids going back to school because the transportation will be a nightmare to figure out, keep them home. If you can’t imagine resuming a commute to the City and working in your cubicle again, despite the eagerness you may have to see your colleagues, see if you can negotiate a gradual return. You choose what you need. Give yourself permission to go slow or jump right in ~ whatever is best for you (and your family). Offer to yourself the same compassion, wisdom and advice that you would offer up to your best friend.
Reach Out for Support
You may be feeling the buzz of the new season and the receding pandemic, which can be both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking. While there are new opportunities and new beginnings all around, the awareness of an upcoming fire season and drought are also present, and our country is still alive with conversations about difficult topics including racism, inequality, healthcare, climate change and budgets. This may be the time to reach out for support ~ friends, family, therapy, church, yoga classes, dance classes, social justice organizations. If you regularly take your car into a mechanic, how about taking yourself in for some maintenance or repair 😉? We are not meant to do this life alone ~ we are meant to have support, companionship and guidance to be our best and healthiest selves.
May you live with ease, may you be happy, may you be healthy and happy.