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Finding Peace during the Pandemic

Techniques I use to help me during the Pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a very stressful event for many people, me included. Fear and anxiety about the disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in both adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make you feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety. Lockdowns and restrictions can have a bigger impact on us then we realise, as we try to cope and navigate our way through 2020 and beyond. Coping with stress in a healthy way will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone.  Learning how to cope with stress at this time will help you through this experience and with whatever life throws at you next.

In the first lockdown I decided to turn my attention inwards as I couldn’t go out. It has been a very fulfilling experience as I worked on myself using Hypnosis, Mediation, Journaling, Nature and connecting with my Family.  This journey has brought me closer to the ones I love, given me a greater realisation as to what I do have in my life and helped me to tune into myself at a deeper level.  As a hypno-psychotherapist my daily life pre-covid was overwhelmed at times with the work. Doing my best for clients takes up a lot of emotional space in my inner world, as I figure out the best course of action for each client. The time away has reenergized me and I think allowed me to become a better therapist.

Here are some of the tools I used:

  • Hypnosis: Self hypnosis or listening to a hypnotic audio will calm the nervous system down. This will allow you to restore balance to your system and quieten the mind. Guided hypnotic audios allow one to go on inner journeys and to connect with inner resources. These latent talents are within each of us; it is just a matter of getting quite and using your creative imagination.
  • Stay Grounded: Grant yourself the time and space to acknowledge your feelings. This can help you stay grounded with the current state of life. Weather permitting walk bare foot outside this will discharge excess energy from the system. Practice a Grounding exercise like: pressing your heels into the ground and feel your feet connect to the earth. While pressing your feet into the earth spread your toes and press – with equal pressure from your big toe to your baby toe, from the front of your foot to the back of your heel – and feel how your feet connects to the earth and how the earth exerts a constant pressure back towards your foot. You can find more grounding techniques here
  • Breath: There are many breathing techniques that can help to calm the nervous system down. When the subconscious mind feels you are in danger it activates the Flight or Fight response. Deep breathing from the belly will subdue this response and calm you down. One Minute Breathing: This exercise can be done anywhere at any time, standing up or sitting down. All you have to do is focus on your breath for just one minute. Start by breathing in and out slowly, holding your breath for a count of six once you’ve inhaled. Then breathe out slowly, letting the breath flow effortlessly out back into the atmosphere. Naturally your mind will try and wander, simply notice these thoughts, let them be for what they are and return to watch your breath. Watch your breath with your sense as it enters your body and fills you with life, and then watch it work its way up and out of your body as the energy dissipates back into the universe. If you’re someone who thought they’d never be able to meditate, guess what? You’re half way there already!
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  • Check in on yourself. Take time throughout your day to stop what you are doing to notice what is happening within and around you. Try to be curious and nonjudgmental with whatever shows up as you consider what you are feeling and what you might need at the moment.

Stop

Take a breath

Observe

Proceed

  • Coping skills: With training you learn to relax at the first sign of the stress response (tension in your muscles, quickening of breathing and heart rate) and counter your anxious thoughts with coping thoughts, when faced with a challenging situations. You will develop confidence in your ability to handle any situation, no matter how upsetting it may feel at first.

Coping Thoughts:

  • I live in a safe environment
  • I keep myself and my family safe.
  • What exactly do I need to do now?
  • Any tension I feel is a signal to use my coping skills and breathe.

When you encounter stress in life, your body tension is your cue to begin to relax. At this time repeat to yourself your coping thoughts. This can be tricky at first but with practice, relaxation and coping thoughts it will become second nature.

  • Spend time outdoors: Take time each day to go outside, connect with nature. Walk, garden or just sit looking at the beauty. This connects us with the earth and allows the recognition that we are all part of this glorious creation, a part of nature.
  • Connecting with others: Step away from social media and connect with people on a more meaning full level. Give friends and family a call or face time, socially distance for a chat. Even if you don’t feel like it initially, after you will feel uplifted and better able to cope during these difficult times.
  • Journaling: There is nothing like getting things out of your head and down on paper. It frees the mind of excess thoughts and stops thoughts going round in circles. Write it all down, how you feel, what you are thinking, emotions, negative thinking and positive realizations. Journaling is a great way of unburdening yourself and creating space for clarity.

As we as a global community learn to live with Covid-19 and continue to help each other and keep each other safe and supported then we will become stronger as a people.

If you would like a free guided hypnotic audio to help you on your journey through this pandemic please email me ruth@ruthallen.ie

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” – Buddha

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