By Fallon Nickelsen
Amid ever-changing information about the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are feeling heightened and heavier emotions. Incorporating some mindful practices into your daily routine can help build healthy coping skills that can promote grounding and relaxation. Being mindful doesn’t have to look a specific way. It can be a very small addition to your daily regimen that could have life-changing results. Each person is different, so find something that will work for you! Celebrate each step along the way; no matter how small it may seem, it could have such a positive impact. It could be something as simple as drinking an extra glass of water every day or taking 5 extra deep breaths before bed.
Take time to focus on the present, be intentional and thoughtful about where you are and how you are feeling. Releasing thought patterns such as self-doubt or judgment can seem challenging at times, but honor your path and try to trust your own process as you invoke more compassion and awareness.
Below are some helpful tips and resources to support your individual mindfulness journey.
Keep up your Ascendiglow and remember our Core Values: Mind, Voice, and Heart.
- Drink fluids– such as water, warm water, and lemon, herbal tea, etc. Just the act of drinking warm tea can be soothing and relaxing and just the boost you need for the day.
- Breathe– Taking time to take a few focused, deep breaths is a simple way to check in with yourself and is one of the best ways to lower stress in the body. When you breathe deeply, it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax and the brain sends a message to your body.
- Outside time– Reconnecting with nature can help you refocus your energy.
- Movement– Exercise is known to boost endorphin production, improve your mood, and support overall well-being. Just a short walk or 15-minute stretching session can do wonders. Some other things to consider: Yoga or exercise classes via zoom, exercise videos
- Meditation– Meditation promotes emotional health, enhances self-awareness, may reduce age-related memory loss, boosts the immune system, improves concentration, improves sleep, decreases blood pressure, and assists with stress and anxiety reduction. See links below for more information and helpful guides.
- Massage– Give yourself a hand massage. According to a 2008 study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a five-minute hand massage can lower stress levels. If you can’t find anyone to give you one, you can massage your own hands. Try using essential oils like Ylang Ylang or Lavender with Fractionated Coconut oil into your palms and massage slowly.
- Sleep– Ensure that you are getting enough sleep. Sufficient amounts of rest provide bodies with an opportunity to recover from the day’s activity, improve energy levels, and reduce stress.
- Music– Music can help restore some of the cognitive functions, sensory, and motor functions of the brain. Music has also been known as a “wonder drug” that energizes your mind, eases stress, evokes emotions, and soothes your soul.
- Journaling– Journaling is good for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Some of the virtues of journalism include: stress reduction, improving immune function, improving your memory and cognitive processing, strengthening emotional functions, and boosting your mood. See the helpful links below.
- Generate a support system– This may be the most important tip since we are limited to our typical in-person interactions during this time of uncertainty. Remember we are all getting through this together and connection can be formed in a variety of different ways such as phone calls, video chats with friends and family, writing letters, etc.
- Essential oils– Essential oils are a great way to recharge, create balance, boost your immune system, and support healing. Here are my doTerra links for oils:
Essential Oil Blends For Diffusers:
-4 drops Lavender or Serenity
-3 drops Ylang Ylang
-2 drops Cedarwood
-4 drops Wild Orange or Citrus
Serenity: sweet, warm, and calming: diffuse, apply 1-2 drops under the nose, back of the neck, inhale in cupped hands, apply over chest (apply with a mixture of fractionated coconut oil or other lotion of choice) great for sleep, bedtime, anger, irritability, agitation, anxiety, restlessness, colic, etc.
Adaptiv: Relieving, Centering and Enlivening: good for chaotic environments, lack of tranquility, loss of composure, anxiety, menstruation, addiction, overthinking, mental fatigue, lack of focus, colic, etc. weak muscles, growing pains, wrinkles, breakouts, irritations, brain- Use same as serenity
Peace: brave, composed, flowing. used for nervousness, irritability, restlessness, confusion, insecurity, worry, ADD, ADHD, mental strain, hyperactivity, addiction, anorexia, childbirth and recovery, allergies, overreaction, colic, calming, infertility, meditation
Balance: stabilizing, centering, and sweet. used for stress, anxiety, jet lag, travel anxiety, mood swings, stress, neurological conditions, convulsions, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, tranquility, meditation, anger and rage, fear, grief, trauma
Lavender: calming, regenerating and healing, Great oil to have on hand for anything really. sleep issues, anxiety, teeth grinding, stress, colic, sunburns, allergies, hay fever, scars, burns, cuts, wounds, blisters, bug bites, hives, nose bleeds, pink eye, high blood pressure, migraines, headaches, emotional balance
Yoga Oil Kit- great for meditation, grounding, and yoga.
Deep Blue Lotion- great for sore muscles
- Belly Breathing
- Sit or lie flat in a comfortable position.
- Put one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly elevate your hand upward. Your chest should stay as still as possible.
- Breathe out through your mouth with pursed lips like you were whistling. Feel the hand on your belly go downward gently as if you were pushing all the air out.
- Do this breathing 5-20 times. Take your time with each intentional breath.
- Ujjayi/Ocean Breathing
- Sit or stand erect with your neck and shoulders relaxed.
- Inhale deeply through the nose and slowly exhale out the mouth constricting your throat making an “Ah” sound, like you are trying to fog up a mirror. (This breathing technique gets its name from the soft hissing sound you make.)
- Do this breathing 5-10 times.
- Alternate Nostril Breathing
- Find your favorite seated position. (You can also sit on a cushion or chair if you’d like.)
- Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Place the middle and index fingers of your right hand in between your eyebrows and let your little finger float towards the sky. Hove the right ring finger close to the left nostril.
- Exhale completely via the left nostril, and slowly allow the air to filter back in. At the height of the inhalation release the right nostril and press the left nostril close before you begin to exhale. Switch back and forth for about 10 rounds, being sure you completely exhale and inhale before switching nostrils.
- Take one full inhale and exhale through both nostrils to end.
- Essential Life
- Calm App
- Insight Timer
- Headspace Meditation
- 10% Happier
- Stop, Think & Breathe
Mindful Audible Books:
- Brene Brown books are AMAZING! “Dare to Lead,” “Daring Greatly,” “Rising Strong,” “The Power of Vulnerability,” “Braving the Wilderness,” “The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting,”
- The Art of Happiness
- Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
- The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness
- Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams
- The Miracle of Mindfulness, by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief by Jon Kabat-Zinn
- Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
- How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in 10 Minutes a Day: A Guided Meditation, by Andy Puddicombe
- The Art of Meditation by Daniel Goleman
- How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers by Toni Bernhard
Mindful Links and Apps:
- Mindful.org has great resources and free guided meditations
- Online Journal: Penzu App, Jour: Journal for Mindfulness App, Perspective: a Mindful Journal App, Stoic: Mental Health Training App, Five Minutes of Gratitude Journal App,
- Sada- Angel Bedtime Meditation- Sada is my favorite. I used it during nap or before nap time when I taught Preschool.
- Headspace app has some good ones too and the calm app
- You can look on Itunes and Spotify too
CORE VALUE WELLNESS TIPS
VOICE (how we speak)- Our Ascendigo community offers a safe space to share and listen to honest communication, leading to creative innovation and compassionate change.
MIND (how we think)- Ascendigo strives to promote expansive thinking and a climate of inclusivity, resulting in possibility, learning, and growth.
HEART (how we feel)- Our passion is what cultivates courage-building and meaningful connection through our brave work and showing up with our whole hearts.