Ten simple suggestions to be mindful of in order to stay positive and identify the opportunities that these days are providing us.
Practice Gratitude – One of the best ways to bring your mind back to a positive outlook, is to spend some time daily, focusing in on what is good about life right now. Actually writing a list of things you are thankful for on a daily basis helps to sink in the feeling of thankfulness.
Avoid getting sucked into the 24/7 News Abyss – The stream of news about COVID-19 seems endless and it feels at times as if we have nothing better to do than consume it. Avoid being inundated by limiting your exposure to one or two brief periods of updates per day, especially if you are becoming overwhelmed or feeling hopeless. Be aware of what you are exposing yourself to, and how it is impacting you positively or negatively.
Laugh a Little – We are designed to experience a wide variety of emotions, but sometimes during high stress or intense emotions, we can get stuck in too serious of a mindset. There are times when we need to be intentional about finding things to lighten the mood and laugh about, because they are not occurring as naturally as we would like. If you haven’t had a light-hearted moment in a while, be intentional about seeking them out. Make life fun for yourself, and those around you.
Establish Routine – Humans tend to function better with some degree of structure to their lives. Just because you can sleep in and wear jammies all day, doesn’t mean you should. Putting some artificial structure/schedule/routine into your days can help to feel like you are accomplishing something and having some control over some aspect of your life.
Add Variety – Despite our need for routine, adding something different into the mix is vital to prevent every day seeming like a blur, and a repeat of the day before. Commit to the structure of a daily walk in the park, but pick a different park each day. Do something different to make this day stand out from the others.
Rest! Enjoy the change of pace – Do you remember those days when you complained about how busy you were and how much was on your plate, and how you could never get anything done because you were taking your kids around to all of their activities? Guess what? This may actually be the break you have always been longing for! This is an unprecedented opportunity to slow the pace of life, to really spend time learning to breathe deeply and find calming, peaceful moments.
Learn Something – This may also be a time to pick up a skill, study a topic of interest, or get through that book you’ve been wanting to read. We are accustomed to having a wealth of information at our fingertips, but no time to do a deep dive into the topics that really interest us. Now may be the time.
Projects – For many, enduring this ‘shelter-at-home’ period may feel like helplessness, no control over life, no end in sight. What a better way to combat those feelings than by tackling a home improvement project that you can control and finish. Maybe it is a hobby, or an art project. But take the time to feel the control you have over your surroundings, and the sense of accomplishment in getting something done. If you are interested in learning how to make a prayer shawl, contact me and I will be happy to provide that information.
Stay Positive – These days can be ones of identifying unique opportunities that we have. Clearly, not everything about the current situation is positive, but good things may still come out of these times. It is what it is, but it will become what we make it. Try to stay focused on those positives!
Pray – There are many types of prayer that can be soothing, calming, and centering. Now would be a perfect time to learn a new prayer method. Centering Prayer is something that I have loved, and something that I know that Fr. Rick enjoys as well. Centering Prayer is a modernized prayer method based on the intuitive prayer rooted in Lectio Divina and popularized by Thomas Merton. It compliments and supports other modes of prayer, and facilitates resting in the Divine Presence. Centering Prayer offers a way to grow in intimacy with God, moving beyond conversation to communion, which is perfect at a time when we cannot receive the physical sacrament of communion. Google it, research it, and try it. There has never been a better time to try a new form of meditation and prayer!
Stay healthy, in body, mind, and spirit.
-Mia Ah Sani
Director of Pastoral Care
Social Justice & Charity Coordinator