During uplift and chaos, the only way to feel like yourself again is with a dedicated grounding ritual for uncertain times. Not only do we need to reel in all loose edges and find our footing, but we need to be reminded of our control.
There may be increasing amounts of variables outside of us in which we have zero authority. This is an opportunity to check in with ourselves and release what is beyond our reach. By doing this, we can discover a treasure field of manageable gems, and in exchange, remember where our authority lies.
I know how uncertain this time is and what it feels like to be isolated.
You are not alone.
We are in this together.
Accept where you are in this moment. The changes you have been forced to make are meant to test your nervous system. At times, they don't seem fair, nor do they shed a glimpse of hope. So, acknowledge that it's going to be hard for awhile. It was designed to be. Because you are worthy of the benefits and progress you'll have made on the other side.
Please know that while our planet is in a state of uncertainty, you are capable of bringing balance and certainty into your life right now.
Connect with the earth and with your core in this grounding ritual, for this uncertain time.
From Familiar to Unprecedented Uncertainty
Right now, you may be lamenting old patterns and the familiar consistency of your everyday life as you knew it. It's okay to mourn this part of you that felt safe, organized, and stable.
What I urge you to focus on is what is. Take a look around you. Simply observe what you see without judgement.
You are home.
Being at home is the ideal place to find your center. Let your guard down and let be. This is your sacred space and I want you to let that bit of information sink in.
You are in your sacred space.
I am riding this wave alongside you. Currently, I am self-isolating and redesigning my life at home. As an introvert, I'm secretly (and not so secretly) rejoicing. While I love to be home, and treasure creating a life here, I struggle with maintaining a schedule each day that doesn't feel forced or ridiculous.
Looking online at other people living their "lives as usual" kind of makes me cringe. Before the quarantine, I primarily worked outside the home. On my off days I did laundry, meal planning, food prep, and set aside time for self-care rituals from time to time. I longed for the days in which I could return to painting, get to the ceramics studio, and write for the blog.
Well, it appears I have all the time in the world and no clue whatsoever how to manage my time. It's like opening a stack of completely blank printer paper. There's no agenda, no sense of urgency. So, the immediate response is to feel frantic, upheaved, and uncertain.
Well, I've got just the thing for you, Babe.
Remember how I said "we're in this together?"
I meant it, with all my heart.
I'm a procrastinator, perfectionist, and oddly enough, a people-person. So, I miss not having obstacles in the way of getting other things done. I obsess over every detail and keep busy just by creating problems or messes. One of the things I loved about my job was the interaction I had with other people, coworkers and customers alike. While I get stuck in my head so often, it was the complete randomness of being available that kept my anxious mind at bay.
So, I get it.
What really matters is that we work together to find our centers. Before we know it, we'll back out there on the front end of our lives, engaging with others, and feeling whole again.
But we have to stay sane.
And one way to do that is by having a go-to grounding ritual that makes you feel safe and stable. Every day may be uncertain for you right now. So, the one thing I suggest you take seriously is you. Your wellbeing is the foundation for how well you can be grounded for your family, and your loved ones. They need you right now. They need to know that you're okay.
A Grounding Ritual For Uncertain Times
Today's ritual suggestion is just that. It's a suggestion. You are your own guide and I'm simply here to reassure you of your humanness. It's okay to feel every emotion you have every day. Of those emotions, you may feel anger, sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, boredom, depression, and fear. It's okay. Consider the following suggestions and most importantly, decide to make a change that is in your best interest.
Commit to a consistent sleep schedule.
Waking up every day around the same time and going to bed around the same time is ideal under quarantine. Any time your life becomes chaotic or unpredictable, prioritize your sleep schedule. Maintain a consistency that optimizes your sleep and supports your nervous system.
Perhaps your schedule has changed and you are overwhelmed by time that is not accounted for. It's important to block out that third of your day with sleep. In case you didn't have the flexibility to experiment before, give yourself permission now. Know for certain how many hours of sleep your body and mind require each night.
Because your bedtime is predictable, naturally, your day will start to wrap up on its own. My goal is to be in bed by 10pm, so I'll usually tidy my workspaces, put laundry or dishes away, and sanitize surfaces around 9 o'clock. Some nights require less time to get the house back in order, but regardless, I suggest creating a blank canvas of sorts for the following day.
Then, I'll have about 30 minutes to get myself ready for bed. That means committing to my evening skin care ritual, oral hygiene ritual, and reviewing my list of to-do's for tomorrow. Because I spend a good portion of my day standing, or walking and running with the pup, I like to really coax my body into rest mode at night.
I take a large back cushion off my couch and use it as a bolster for my legs. Depending on how tired I feel, I'll set up camp in my favorite nook in the living room, or lug the bolster to my bed. My goal is to get my body in a position that cues my parasympathetic nervous system to take over and my sympathetic nervous system to take step down.
You may also lie down on the floor or sit at the edge of your bed with your legs up the wall for 10 minutes. Allow the blood to flow in the opposite direction. Imagine this inversion unleashing calm and serenity to wash over you. Breathe normally with your left hand over your heart and your right hand over your belly.
Before climbing into bed, prepare yourself a delicious, grounding tonic to aid in deep sleep.
The warmth of this tonic will surely urge your body to slow down and make room for the deep sleep that your body needs right now. During times of heightened stress or emotional upset, it can be difficult to quiet our minds and soothe our hearts. This tonic truly relaxes me and I often find myself peeling my limbs from the sofa and dragging myself to bed.
If you already feel tired, but want an added comfort before turning in, enjoy this grounding tonic in the hug of your bed. Dim the lights if possible. Express gratitude for making it through the day.
You made it. You are safe.
When your eyes open in the morning, take a big, deep life-affirming breath. You are here and the world awaits your daily intention. There is no pressure. Enjoy a good stretch and move through your slow morning ritual. You've got this.
Set an adaptable daily intention.
Ground yourself in an adaptable daily intention. Having a simple, yet flexible schedule in place helps to block out your time. By having blocks of time to work with, it can feel easier to prioritize your day and reduce the overwhelm that options can offer. Keep it simple and stick with a schedule that works for you and those living with you.
As we both know by now, things can change at a moment's notice. Remember that we are adaptable. Anything that comes our way can be figured out. So, set an intention each day, give yourself some parameters, and remain flexible at all times.
What I have found to be true is that having a few things I want to accomplish each day keeps me grounded. That's why I keep a running list of things to do and review that list each night before going to sleep. Choose 2-4 things you'd like to get done each day. For larger projects, reduce to one or two each day.
The idea isn't to pack your days with busy work. You'll quickly realize, if you haven't already, that everyday tasks and chores will consume a noticeable amount of time as it is. This reality is amplified when you're home with a partner or entire immediate family. Go easy on yourself and start with small intentions.
When you feel like your daily intentions are underwhelming, or even spark a creative flow, by all means, keep going. As an artist, I know firsthand how unexpected flow states can be. These flows are magic, so do not break your concentration. When you feel like the few small tasks get completed rather quickly, determine whether you'd like to tackle one more, or if you need a rest.
The key is to listen to your body and really air on the side of underachieving.
Ritually rest when it feels impossible not to.
Every day, schedule in a block of downtime. Allow yourself to recharge. The time of day isn't a rule set in stone. Follow the rhythm of your body every day and honor its desire to rest. Have no judgement about when, just rest.
I typically wake up around 7am. By 10am, I've taken the dog out to play in the park, prepared breakfast, cleaned up the kitchen, and sat down to write a rough draft for a blog post similar to the one you're reading now. This may not seem like a lot of activity, and many days that's me just getting started; however, on other days, I'm ready for a nap once 10:30am rolls around.
I don't try to fight this urge to rest unless I have an important appointment or a time-sensitive engagement. Otherwise, I crawl into bed again and sleep anywhere from 25 minutes to 2 or 3 hours.
Perhaps you aren't an avid napper like me. In that case, decide when in your day you're most likely to need a break from your activities. For children, it's helpful for them to see an end to a segment in their day and know what's coming next. For adults, the same can be true, especially while we're on the topic of uncertainty.
Give yourself those nuggets of certainty throughout your day. Rest can be as ritually enjoyed and predictable as breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Be creative with how you rest. I'm an introvert, so socializing, planning and scheduling, and trying to "do" things all day exhausts me. That's when I really need to lie down and sleep to recharge. If you're more extroverted, calling to check in with a close friend or family member may be the kind of rest your body requires.
Completely disengaging in an activity or project is important too. Whatever it means to you to rest, take this ritual seriously. Honor your nervous system and remind yourself that you are safe and grounded in this moment. Cherish this fact.
Meditate morning, noon, and night.
Make meditation part of your grounding ritual for uncertain times. You can't always know how the day will unfold. Regardless of how well you plan, or how prepared you are, there's always a slight chance that things won't always go as predicted. It's okay.
Life is unpredictable. And we know it. By starting off your morning with a meditation, you are building the foundation and trajectory of your entire day. Even as little as 5 minutes can be a powerful start.
Meditation not only helps with calming anxiety and easing depression, it also requires us to breathe consciously. By breathing consciously, we are calming our nervous systems, boosting our immune system, and refocusing our attention to the present moment.
Of course, this is what you read or hear about meditation everywhere. If you haven't developed a meditation practice, just getting started may be your biggest challenge every day. But know this: the hardest part of meditating is choosing to do it every day. It becomes easier with practice and it will prove to become an essential element to your wellbeing.
Meditation may be your key grounding ritual for uncertain times. Focus on deep belly breathing. Inhale through the nose to expand the belly. Exhale out the mouth. Repeat for 3 to 5 minutes, any time.
I tend to meditate once a day, either in the morning or in the evening. Some days, I turn to meditation multiple times when I'm feeling unsettled. Another ritual I love is inviting a goddess into my sacred space. Also, having a connection to a higher power may ease any tension or worry. Let go of what you have no control over, and embrace what is going well in your life.
Get outside to feel alive.
Fresh air is the essence of spring, which is the season upon us as this post goes live. There is nothing like opening the windows to refresh our homes. To protect yourself from drafts, and to ground down, step outside.
Making it a habit to set foot in nature has become my favorite grounding ritual for uncertain times.
Early morning and late afternoon are great times to leave the house. Maybe where you live, the mornings are cool and refreshing. Late afternoon catches the sun and its warmth without the uncomfortable heat.
I go to the park 2-3 times a days and have never felt more connected to my neighbors than during this isolation period. We're all in this together and it's natural for each of us to want to be around other humans. Even if just to see each other again. Nobody feels forced to talk to one another, and sometimes we don't say anything. But there is a kindness to this shared experience and I feel it deeply.
If you feel safe and are healthy enough to leave your house, a walk can be good for your spirit. Again, this is just a suggestion. Remember never to shake hands or invade someone's 6-foot safe-keeping. Be considerate, and be kind. Step aside for the runners. Take turns on the exercise equipment. Don't touch your face until you return home.
Take it easy and take good care of yourself, whatever that means to you.
We're in this together.
As a culture, and a planet, we are coping with unexpected financial and emotional hardship. This hardship translates to every avenue of our lives. Our nervous systems are being tested with all the fear and change we experience during these uncertain times.
Know that we have never been more equipped or more knowledgable, in the history of humankind, to solve this pandemic and save billions of lives.
I am aware of the increasing number of lives lost to the coronavirus, and the peaks predicted to come. My heart goes out the families whose lives have been touched by this virus. I cannot know the depths of pain and suffering this outbreak has caused for so many of our people. If I had the words to express my compassion in a way that could bring comfort to you and your family, know that I would write them here.
It is a privilege to connect with you here on sipping sun. My prayer for you is that you stay safe, maintain your health, and stay grounded during this uncertain time. It may only be you, self-isolating in your home, but know that your wellbeing is essential to others.
Reach out to your family and your friends regularly. Ask them how they are doing and what changes have been made in their communities to protect them from this virus. Offer to shop for those who are most at-risk. Give away excess food or supplies. There is plenty for all of us. Please don't hoard resources.
Magnetism comes when we no longer live with a scarcity mindset. Be smart, and considerate. Have respect for everyone, as we are all in this together. Lend a smile in the park. Wave to your neighbor. Say hello. Genuine connections happen online every single day. Take this genuine disposition with you into the park. Your kindness and consideration can be heard and felt from 6 feet away.
You've got this, girl. And if you believe this grounding ritual will help someone you love, please share it with them. Continue this dialogue and let me know how you are grounding in ritual during this uncertain time.
I'm here for you, always, and appreciate your effort to remain strong for yourself and others.
For added support, allow me to virtually show up at your door. No risk whatsoever.