• tamera

WFH & Maintaining Balance: Part 2 – mindfulness, relaxation, meditation

Updated: Nov 23


Meditative walk in nature. > "When The Soul Is Serene In Walden" by Jose Luis Mieza Photography CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This is the second post in a five-part series providing tips and recommendations to adjust to our ‘new normal’ of embracing the home office and keeping COVID-19 at bay. The stress and anxiety the circumstances of self-isolation, social-distancing, and lack of physical contact has caused need to be managed and easily undertaken for them to stick with each persons’ unique self/ daily routine.


Check out the first post in the series: sights, sounds, scents if you missed it.


In this post I'm focusing on some techniques I’ve been using to manage through the last 9-months, with a focus on managing & positively influencing our thoughts and feelings through mindfulness, relaxation and meditation. I’ve divided these into tools/tips for bringing in calmness, positivity and balance to what can feel like a never-ending non-routine.


Mindfulness, Relaxation, Meditation:


If you’re human, the circumstances of the pandemic have worn you down, and we’re not out of the woods yet. This winter is going to be tough. Prior to last March I’d been studying mindfulness and have been a yoga practitioner for about 2 decades on and off as my business schedule & raising twins allowed. What I’ve never been able to do properly (whatever that means) is relax in self-care and meditate. With meditation it always felt like a chore and my mind wouldn’t quiet.


The self-isolation had me in a unique position and quandary. I knew that I needed to master my own mind and take good care of myself to remain productive and not go stir crazy. I decided to reach into my mindfulness/yoga mindset toolkit with some internet thrown in to help me along with the sitting and meditating part.


These worked until I realized something I’d instinctively known all along – meditation is a mindset (as is mindfulness), not an activity. I didn’t need to sit and chant for 5 minutes, I just needed to be still and at one, in an extended moment. There’s a reason the Yogi I follow, David Swenson, says “turn your practice into a meditation”. That insight along with some other resources I found put me in the right frame of mind to build a mindful day from when I wake up to when I go to sleep (most of the time, external factors tend to throw things off).


Then there is the whole healthy ‘self-care’ relaxation piece that so many of us toss to the side as unnecessary or feel guilty centering; consider it indulgence no one has time for. However, it is fundamentally necessary for our whole wellbeing. Over the past few months, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about wasting time and started prioritizing my physical health beyond exercise and healthy eating, but truly from a “Me Time” perspective. I’ve found it’s helped me reconnect with myself and my emotions when I do.


Finding a focus of stillness. > "Meditation: God's View" by ronsho CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

We all manage our emotions differently, but the constants we all have is the foundational desire for things that comfort us. Where mindfulness and meditation enter the equation in our daily lives is to provide a balance, a focus and an intention. What works for me may not be your cup of tea. My intention is to provide some inspiration for how you can incorporate things that help you maintain your even keel as best as we all can during a pandemic.


As I went exploring the digital mindfulness and meditation realms, I found a ton of useful tools, but everything is just out there in a random hodgepodge. I practice mindfulness and am soon to be a ‘Certified Master Mindfulness Practitioner’ so the way I come at practicing in this context is through self-awareness and thoughtful questioning of my own mental and emotional state. For example: taking a third-party (or second- if you are dealing with internal matters) view of the situation; examining the possible while remaining grounded in the present, challenging my assumptions about any given situation that is causing me stress; recognizing what is a real or a perceived fear. Staying grounded in these basic, but often forgotten, concepts has helped enormously when the “what ifs” enter my thoughts.


Setting intentions for the day when I wake up and sit with my tea or coffee and lemon water while watching/listening to nature and relaxing music has also helped enormously. 5 minutes of expressing gratitude and setting my attitudinal intentions for the day, along with my motivational ones starts me on a positive path before diving into the challenges of the day.

These two combined have helped me out of some tough spots. But I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried to add (traditional) meditation to the mix early this summer. I did this by exploring various guided programs (Headspace, Calm, Audible books, podcasts, to name a few) and various styles/time lengths. The shorter ones worked for me to an extent, but I still found myself wandering off into thought about to-do’s and COVID, instead of clearing my head. They may work perfectly for you, but they weren’t all the way there for me. So, I branched out and decided to take a virtual 1995 yoga YouTube lesson from Yogi Swenson. And that’s when the two clicked for me. Meditation can be both sitting silently being guided into a state of being, and being fully and only in the moment you are in… such as yoga, running, gardening, sitting still watching the rain, fishing, cooking or doing a Rubik’s Cube. If it’s an activity that is focusing and mentally/physically healthy, being present in the moment is itself a meditation. So now I use both techniques. My morning meditation is sitting and being present in my mindful intention setting and focusing fully on my yoga practice. Whatever works for you, it does help elevate and calm the mood.

Binge-watch in moderation. > "Day 14 of #covid19alphabet N is for Netflix" by toddpop1 CC-BY-NY 20

The last piece is allowing ourselves the permission to chill out, relax, and feel healthy external comfort that compliments the inner. Despite doing exactly that in normal life once the pandemic hit I started to feel antsy and guilty about it. Over the late spring/summer I started giving myself permission to take the time to pamper myself, veg out and binge watch 80s/90s favourites, start learning to bake, take long soaks in the tub with a good book, stay in my pj’s all weekend, and take the time to build a library of books, videos, podcasts, and the like I want to get to. It’s important to try not to see it as insignificant, because we aren’t meant to be unsocial creatures, and that’s what the virus has forced us to become. Anything we can do to take care of our whole person is something that I’m all for.


Most of all, we need to give ourselves permission to be human. To want to be selfish sometimes and take time to ourselves to do things that bring us individual joy. {insert disclaimer here about healthy choices, relationships, et al}


The combination of these purposeful activities (or ones that work for your personality and life) can help your body and mind regulate the sameness, yet constant changes we all find ourselves dealing with.


Do you have any favourite activities or resources that are your go-to’s?

Example resources to explore:

Calm and Headspace guided meditation apps.

The Mindful Minute podcast.

21 Days of Meditation Audible audiobook.

30 minute Ashtanga yoga routine – David Swenson

Meditative video – Green Soundscape

Mindfulness courses - Udemy


These are a few resources I've found useful, some are paid, some are free, spend some time exploring to find things that work for you!


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Until the next time I hope you found this useful and find ways to incorporate mindful activities into your daily life.


Next in the series focuses on: Movement, Food, and Connections.


Namaste :)

[none of the companies or products mentioned are sponsored or affiliated]






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