How to Ground Yourself in Times of Ambiguity
With offices asking their employees to work from home, universities switching to online classes, events cancelled, and the many people “stranded” at home at the moment, I hear from my clients and feel myself a sense of disconnection, loss, and increased anxiety. This time is so ambiguous, nobody really knows what is right or wrong, what to do, or how to protect ourselves without losing our sense of normal, our daily routines.
Personally, my plans to travel to Europe are now challenged, which definitely makes me feel all kinds of things, and calm is not really one of them.
Though what I also see is, this time actually is an interesting opportunity to understand how important such routines (and travel plans) are for us to feel stable, grounded, and connected (many of my friends and family are in Europe). And I do believe it is an opportunity to evaluate which of the routines we absolutely love, which ones we actually can do without, and what we might want to do instead.
So to ground yourself and create meaningful connection through virtual meetings there are actually many things we can do. And as I know from my coaching experience many different ways of doing that, I thought I’d share them with you.
Move your Body
Let’s start with movement to ground yourself and create the space your mind and body needs to make informed decisions, to respond instead of habitually react.
1. Breathe: Most important is take a deep breath - in and out - repeat, and if you want to learn more about that google / youtube: “breathing techniques”, “pranayama” etc.
2. Walk: best de-stressor ever for those of us who are able. Yes, ideally in nature, at a park, etc. I know that this might be a bit more difficult at the moment, but I guarantee you, going out into whatever amount of nature you can find will clear your mind, and creates space for you.
3. Exercise: There are actually several yoga poses (google/youtube: “grounding yoga poses”, “restorative yoga” etc.), and if you have lower back issues, some of the practices you have learned can be very helpful too. Just do what feels good to you. Do not pile on extra stress, just relax into the postures, breathe and ground yourself.
4. Dance: It’s easy, it’s fun, and you can do it in your kitchen. And if you have any of those dance game consoles, dust them off and use them again. In fact I am a huge fan of dancing in the kitchen.
5. Meditate: There are so many different ways of doing this, that I bet you can find one you like. If silent meditation is not for you, try a visualization meditation / yoga nidra (a beautiful way of escaping to the beach in your mind), or a body-scan (Jon Kabat-Zinn has several), as has Dr. Kristin Neff (self-compassion expert). Tara Mohr has a beautiful Inner Mentor Visualization and one on Fear from her book Playing Big (you’ll need to sign-up for her newsletter - it’s worthwhile, I love reading it myself).
Creating Meaningful Connection
1. A few years ago I watched a video by Shiloh Sophia, “How to have Red Thread Cafe”. This is a beautiful practice to do virtually with your friends and family to have a coffee over. For me coffee has a special place in my life, so it is an easy ritual to adapt. But you can easily make it your own: Pick your favorite beverage, decide on the time of day, chose an activity or topic to connect over with your friends and set up a zoom/Google Hangout/Skype or any other kind of video chat.
2. Talk to your partner and play with your kids. It is the time to make the most of those hours that you used to spend commuting – focusing on relationships is rewarding all the way around.
3. Cosy-up in front of a great movie - don’t forget the popcorn, hot chocolate or whatever your family’s favorites are.
4. Or pick a book that you read to your whole family. (e.g. Harry Potter, etc.)
5. If you sing or play instruments in your family, do that together. If you have a backyard, go out and play. Yes, get the silly kid’s games out - this is all about fun and playfulness.
To get crafty or creative you actually do not need much – I highly recommend YouTube if you need inspiration and tutorials for the type of arts or crafts you’d like to do. Use the pens, papers, pencils you have at home to start doodling.
1. Join my online workshop: Tree of Life - a fun, creative and grounding experience on March 29, at 10am PST. All you need are the aforementioned pen, paper, pencils or markers - no experience needed. Limited to 12 people.
2. The School of Visual Philosophy here in San Jose, CA, actually just published a few online classes called $10 Tasters, they teach various creative techniques.
3. A Work of Heart - another great art workshop and shop in San Jose also has some neat Youtube videos out for inspiration on various mediums and is going to release a series of 7-min videos for art in 7 steps. Make sure to check out her webpage. She is also offering discounted online classes during shelter-in-place.
4. There are so many tutorials on YouTube that you can spend months learning everything. Try something new! And do not forget to make it fun or a virtual event with your friends. How about crochet, trying a new recipe, doing macrame, creating a dreamcatcher, scrapbook, collage, a vision board. Or pick up your camera and create macros from things around your house, doodle, zentangle, paint rocks with nailpolish,... The Frugal Crafter and many others have beautiful ideas for you. It’s your choice!
5. Journal! Reflecting this way can be more than words. You can create an art journal where you doodle, draw, paint etc. You might need to get one with thicker paper or watercolor/mixed media paper, so the paper doesn’t warp.
More for your senses
1. Consider essential oils, and learning about which might be helpful during this time.
2. Bubble Bath / Long shower - This can be totally relaxing if you do it not just for cleaning your body. Consider allowing yourself this treat from time to time.
3. Get out and smell the roses. After all, Spring has started!
4. Get your hands dirty: Get muddy, gardening, potting plants, molding something from clay, finger painting, etc. Or bake some bread or make some cookies!
All these I things I do myself and/or engage my clients in - as much or as little as they like. And everybody loves when they find their own unique way of expressing and grounding themselves.
Nicole is a Leadership Empowerment Coach. She can be reached at https://www.nicolekleemann.com/ -- and the resources in this blog post can be found there also.