(Healthcare workers, Law enforcement/public safety/first responders)
The following is an article providing suggestions to frontline workers about ways to restore resilience, cultivate grounding, calm and ease within, support health/well-being and offer ways in which to support making clear and skillful decisions. These are offered with the intention to help, support and heal.
–SPEND TIME IN NATURE–
Research shows that just 10-20 minutes outside per day can boost our immune system and help settle our nervous system- aiding in benefit to both our physical and emotional health~
As you work– Take a few moments as you work:
- Look out the window take in the blue sky, the green of grasses, or the greatness of a tree and feel how this supports your inner landscape
- Bring a plant to work- put in space you share with colleagues and with patients
On your break– GO outside-
- Breathe the fresh air- focusing on the qualities of the air- temperature, air on the body/skin
- Connect to the natural sounds- bird songs and wind
When at home– Take time to be outside
- Take a walk-spend time letting your senses be immersed in nature- focus on what you hear, see, smell and connect to with touch
- Garden- trim a plant, dig in the dirt to plant/transplant something in your garden or home
- Look at and soak into your being the new flowering buds of spring and the new wildlife emerging in this time of year
Mindfulness allows us to meet the conditions of our life with more ease and resilience. Just 5-10 minutes per day of practice can help you to alleviate stress and worry and give you a place to feel grounded and connected to yourself in and amidst these stressful times. When we provide care to others we must care for ourselves to effectively take care of others- mindfulness meditation can be the opportunity to provide an opportunity of self-care.
As you work- Inviting mindful moments to be present to your activities-
- While walking feel your feet on the ground (ask yourself- where are my feet? What sensations of stability/steadiness/ground do I sense at my feet?)
- While moving between tasks at work- feel your breath and focus on lengthening your exhale
- While in an activity at work- bring attention to your senses- what do you see, feel, hear- Be present to THAT moment of the sensory experience with meeting it for the first time- let go how you expect it to be/or how its been- BE present to the experience of that sense in THAT MOMENT
On your break- Please take your break.
- Practice mindfully focusing on your breath for 5 minutes- Stabilize your body into a supportive posture and invite your attention to focus on your breath. Attend to the qualities of your breath like pace-fast/slow, temperature-cool/warm, movements-expansion/contraction, as best you can no need to change how the experience is that you notice- instead rest your focus into notice its all changing, coming and going, allowing yourself to ride the waves of whats here.
- Practice Mindful Walking for 5 minutes- Go outside and find a place to walk, move your body. As you walk bring your attention to the experience of you body walking- each step-shifting, lifting, swinging and placing your body into each movement. Allow your attention to focus on the sensations you feel in your body in these movements, the steadiness, the momenting, the balancing….keep your awareness on the body as it moves and changes with sensations- you may also want to feel your breath as you move. Let go of needing to get anywhere while you walk- just invite your body to move and be present to it as it moves.
When at home- Practice formal meditation for 20 minutes- research shows this to be a beneficial duration for well-being improving immunity, regulating the nervous system and helping stress, anxiety and depression.
- Connect to mindfulness meditation resources- to support you with guidance for longer practices. Many of us right now are offering freely mindfulness meditations to support the stress associated with this time. Insight timer is a free app to use for guidance. Find practices that support what you might need. I have a link on insight timer you may find helpful- I am uploading meditation practices specific to support the stress of frontline workers https://insighttimer.com/rochellecalvert
- Consider finding practices that provide you with meditating to develop- groundedness, balance, ease, health, connection, and compassion- for yourself, your community and others.
- Practice movement-based mindfulness/meditations- when we have increased stress its important to move, release, shake off the stress. You can connect to practices of yoga, Qi gong, stretching, or walking
The following are free online- mindfulness in nature events Im offering for support. Each of these is offered from 10am-1130am PST.
-ACTS OF CONNECTION/KINDNESS–
The experience of COVID-19 IS bringing us closer together and helping us to realize how interconnected we are AND how we can turn to each other for support. We are all in this together- please know there are MANY people holding each one of you as frontline workers in our hearts and in prayers and sending you ease, health and love. Also many of us are here and want to help- please reach out when you need something to your community near and far- if its food, support for childcare, access to PPE, an ear to listen, a heart to hold the challenges with you, mental health support. Please choose your well-being and connect for support. Please see on instagram #thankshealthhero #ClapForOurCarers #solidarityat8
As you work- Be present to your community-colleagues/staff and patients- you are all in this together as you move through the illness of the virus together
- Take a moment as you work to offer eye contact and a kind head nod to someone you don’t know well but is working beside you
- Offer a kind word/phrase to someone who is working with you- I see you, thank you, I appreciate you, I care about you too
- Stand with presence with your patients- offering your being WITH them however it is… is an amazing gift of connection and kindness.
- Connect patients and family to online therapy support. You are not in this alone to provide the medical AND mental/emotional care of your patients. During a time when families can’t provide the traditional forms of emotional support by being with their loved one- you can access mental health professionals for your patients and the needs of their family to support them in this time.
On your break- Connect to beings that you allow you to feel supported, cared for and loved.
- Call a loved one- check in with them to just connect and have support. You may want to find a topic to connect on- e.g. how your children or pets are doing (maybe ask for a pic :), something that was positive today, or ask for prayers or support while you continue to work
- Connect to the support of nature- nature provides us with air to breathe, beauty to take in, aliveness to be present to- allow yourself to feel how nature is below you, above you and around you offering connections of support.
When at home- Let your body, mind and heart receive the caring that is being offered from your community, the country and this globe.
- Virtual connection- schedule when you are off time to connect in the ways you can with the people you love and are supported most by. This might be to schedule a dinner/happy hour/dessert hangout/meditation/walks- to just be together- through the new ways we have to remain safe, doing our part and still connected.
- Take time to spend in the presence of the beings that are able to be with you. Connect to your family, partners, pets, plants- touch, hold, hug, connect- and allow yourself to spend time feeling these connections being of support to your inner being. Spend enough time cultivating these connections until you feel your nervous system begin to settle, calm, feel grounded and supportive.
- It’s ok to say no. In this time we can feel pulled to do more in the spirit of helping and being able to do our job. To be effective we need to be able to have resources available within and around and sometimes this includes boundaries.
- Connect to resources that can help with your mental and emotional needs. In this time with the physical/mental/emotional challenges arising with COVID-19. In these weekly meetings, I’m offering free support to the mental/emotional health and trauma-related challenges with the support of mindfulness, nature and somatic health. These are available every Sunday at 5pm PST.
This can be a great time to get out onto paper the things that are on your mind- it can be helpful to have out in front of you what your mind is trying to work with, and then reflect and provide yourself with supportive ways to deal with what is challenging you. Also, be willing to write about the things you are traversing right now and how you are getting through them in these stressful times You may also want to consider writing things you are grateful for each day- from as simple as hearing the song of a bird, to having a connection with people who love you. Looking back on this at some point in the future can help you to see the things you’ve faced and how you coped and resourced yourself through the experience.
–CONSUME INFORMATION/MEDIA THAT UPLIFTS YOU–
Read, watch, listen, scroll to inspiring and uplifting stories and content. In a time when the information that we are getting is so intense it is important to balance what type of other information we take in. Listen to your favorite songs/artists, watch funny movies (maybe even a christmas movie- as those can bring good feelings on :), read books that inspire you, get you lost in a great story, etc. Take care of your mind to support your well being.
Some local resources I have found to connect to the uplifting stories and support as we traverse this challenging time are:
Steve Carell and John Krasinski Interview On Some Good News:
–LIMIT CONSUMPTION OF MEDIA ON COVID-19–
I would encourage you to find resources that are clear and informative regarding ways to manage staying informed on COVID-19. One of the best resources right now is the World Health Organization (WHO)- you may want to subscribe to them on Facebook or visit their website for information – https://www.who.int
You may also want to connect to resources within your agencies, governing boards that are providing ways to have accurate and up to date information.
I would also suggest only 1 hour or less per day spent on updates AND if you can spend time reading the information you can have more agency by choosing to read, rather than watching what is presented by the television modalities you may watch.