Mindfulness During Covid-19 Lockdown: Why you should start today and resources to help
Does this sound like your life at the moment? The children need help accessing an online maths program, someone has just knocked over a cup of tea, the dishes from breakfast are sitting in the sink, you’re trying to make dinner, and your colleague, who you’ve been trying to catch all day, is now free and is video calling you?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. This scenario is happening not only in my house but all over the country, and further afield, as it is now estimated more than 50% of the global population are under a Covid-19 lockdown.
We all know the importance of keeping up our physical wellbeing in these times, but the protection of our mental wellbeing is fully deserving of the same focus. Feelings of sadness, worry, boredom and lack of control are commonplace across all ages. One way in which we can all show ourselves some much needed self-compassion is by taking time to practise mindfulness.
What is Mindfulness?
Whilst mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism and meditation, you don’t have to follow any particular belief to give it a go. It is a technique you can learn that aims to bring your attention back to the present moment. This can help people to:
- Become more self-aware
- Gain perspective
- Regulate emotion about situations that may be causing anxiety and worry
- Feel calmer
- Be kinder to themselves and others
Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre explains mindfulness as “…allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly.“
To practise mindfulness the only resources you really need are a little time and space for yourself. The aim is to try and train your brain to focus on the present, without wandering into what has already happened and what may come, for a period of time. If you are new to mindfulness this post may help you with where to start: https://www.mindful.org/how-to-practice-mindfulness/
Why is it more important now than ever?
The School Chaplain, Paul Sweeting gave this insight into why taking some time to practice techniques such as mindfulness may be useful in the current situation:
“As I have talked with different people, the words that they have used to describe our current situation include: weird, strange, bizarre. I agree! There are some upsides to it all for many of us, but most of us also feel stress, worry, fear – and being in the home so much can bring lots of pressure on relationships and peace of mind when we are used to having more space. Others of us will feel isolated and, alone with our thoughts, could worry excessively.”
“One of the really good things going on right now is how people are trying to help one another in lots of different ways. Emma has put together some ideas to help you make use of mindfulness to help you through the coming weeks and maybe you could make use of it. First thing in the day, last thing at night – whenever suits you…“
Setting the same time aside each day to practice some kind of mindful activity is a really good way to start. As a family this could be done together, teaching our children as well as ourselves useful coping strategies both for the current time and in the future. Or it could be you taking five minutes alone at the start of the day.
Practising mindfulness can help to keep us in the present, deal with the worries we are all experiencing and focused on the things we can control.
The everyday ways of practising mindfulness
Some every day activities you can do and practise mindfulness at the same time include:
- Keep safe and practice mindfulness at the same time by washing your hands, as explained in this video
- Exercising – alone or as a family
- Eating a meal
- Drinking a cup of coffee
- Doodling and colouring
- Listening to music
Whatever feelings these unprecedented times are generating in your house, it is important to remember that it is OK to feel sad, angry, upset or fine and getting on with it – everyone reacts differently. Hopefully some of these mindfulness resources will help you, and your family, to take time and exercise some self-compassion during lockdown, and beyond.
Free online resources and information to help you practise mindfulness:
Daily mindfulness and meditation app for your phone: https://www.smilingmind.com.au/thrive-inside
Headspace Meditation Exercises: https://www.headspace.com/covid-19
Mindfulness Resources from Mindful: : https://www.mindful.org/free-mindfulness-resources-for-calm-during-covid-outbreak/?utm_source=SocialAnimal&utm_medium=referral
Child Mind Institute information: https://childmind.org/article/how-mindfulness-can-help-during-covid-19/
Breathing exercise from Every Mind Matters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfDTp2GogaQ&app=desktop
Further resources from Every Mind Matters: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/