Just breathe: try this simple meditation to ease lockdown stress
Many of us are prone to anxiety. Throw ‘social distancing’ into the mix and life gets tougher –it’s unsurprising that there are concerns about the state of our mental wellbeing over the next few weeks and months.
In response to the unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, lots of gyms have begun offering online workouts, and now you can also get your wellness fix digitally, with a growing number of meditations and breathwork sessions available online.
Will Williams, founder of Beeja Meditation, is helping with a series of free, live guided meditations aimed at helping people cope with stress, anxiety and loneliness in lockdown (every day at 1pm on Instagram, @beejameditation). “Meditation is good at calming anxiety,” he says. “It helps synch up processes that your body needs to get its neurochemistry back into a good place.”
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There are varying meditation techniques out there, but Williams recommends keeping it simple. “The problem with trying to practice one of the difficult monastic techniques when you’re anxious is it can leave you feeling even more anxious because you think you’re not doing it properly.”
Beeja is inspired by the Vedic school of meditation, which uses mantras (that you repeat silently to yourself) to guide you into a peaceful state.
To people who struggle to quiet racing minds, don’t try too hard. “Learning to do it in a relaxed way tends to give the best results,” says Williams.
Create a warm-up and warm-down routine. Close your eyes, get settled and reconnect with your body, “allowing yourself to gently parachute into the experience and then cruise out of it”.
Meditation can help fill the void left by a lack of human contact that comes with social distancing, he adds. “We’re tribal creatures who are used to bonding and there’s obviously now a drop in tactile interactions, so using meditation to connect with yourself is absolutely vital right now.”
It may even boost your creativity, too. “Out of all the cognitive functions, meditation massively increases creativity, and what better time to get creative than right now when we’ve got all of this time on our hands and limited options of how to spend it?”
After anxiety, sleep is the next most common issue for which his clients seek help. Williams says meditation helped him to beat insomnia. “Use it to get a really good night’s sleep. You want to be waking up with lots of energy so you can make the most of isolation instead of feeling imprisoned by it.”
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Follow the Health Department’s latest updates on the Coronavirus (Covid-19), including the NICD’s prevention methods. Travellers from Covid-19 affected areas are advised to stay at home for up to 14 days. If you develop any symptoms contact your doctor or clinic, they will advise your next steps. For more information visit the National Institute for Communicable Diseases website or call 0800 029 999. Alternatively send HI to 0600 123 456 on WhatsApp.
During this time, people across our country have offered to help through the Solidarity Response Fund. To assist or for more information visit https://www.solidarityfund.co.za/.