During this stressful time of living in the era of COVID, it is easy to lose sight of what holds us in one piece. Stress can get the best of us. Our heads fill up with news stories, and those closer to home - stories of fear, of loss, of uncertainty. It is easy to lose our footing on our sanity sometimes. We start listening, believing, living the fear and the anxiety that surrounds us, allowing it to infiltrate our very being. We start to lose hope, lose sight of a clear future, lose our way.
I challenge each of us to ground ourselves each and every day. There are many ways to do this. Each requires intention. One technique may not work for another. I have two ways that I ground myself. One day I may chose one technique, another day I might choose the other. On really challenging days, I will do both techniques.
The first technique I use is my 5 senses. We are so blessed to live in Colorado, with so many open spaces, beautiful views, and hiking trails. Going for a hike, I intentionally go through my 5 senses. I feel the ground under my feet, I smell the grass and flower aromas in the air, I listen to the song birds (and search for the elusive, yet very vocal, Meadowlark), I look at the sky and clouds, I touch the bark of a tree. Once doing this, I am reminded of the beauty and constancy of nature. This gives me peace - there is an order and a balance of life that I fit in. I am reminded that, one way of another, things will be okay.
The other technique comes from a dear friend, Karen Brass (internationally-respected motivational speaker, author, educator). She shared another technique passed down to her by her father, an Auschwitz survivor. Every day, intentionally "exercise your mind" (read the news, read a book), "exercise your body" (go for a walk, hike, lift weights, run, ride a bike), "exercise your spirit" (mediate, pray, worship), and "do something nice for another person". (You can learn more about this amazing man's story from Karen Brass' books, Trauma Filters Through (2018) , and I am a Standupster (2012). When I feel out of control, anxious, or fearful, I run through this list to consider what I may have not accomplished this day to help support myself.
These techniques may help you, or may even just start you on your own list-making journey to intentionally find your place of peace and balance. Let's move through this difficult time being intentional with our kindness, with deep breaths, and gratitude for all our blessings, great and small.