During times of turmoil and ambiguity, we can become unsettled, anxious, and disconnected from the anchors that we draw emotional strength from. During our recent periods of lock downs more than one-third of Australians felt disconnected from family and friends. People in those industries that haven’t stopped during this period are vulnerable to burn out which may reduce immunity and overall quality of life.
Our resilience bandwidth also reduces and our emotional peaks may be experienced more intensely.
Grounding or Centring are techniques that may calm us, slow down our emotional state and enable us to become mindful of the present. The terms seem to be used interchangeably but I use centring to describe the proactive routine you can follow and grounding as both making a connection to the earth and as a response to an anticipated trigger.
Centring as I practice it is about self-care and this means different things to different people. Some examples include cultivating a practice of mindfulness, of gratitude, meditation, physical movement such as yoga. You can incorporate rituals into your day which make it richer. This might be turning off social media and notifications and prioritising reading for an hour. It could be free form writing in the style of ‘morning pages’ or a more creative style. It could be a walk around the block after dinner. It could be eating around the table. A bath. Listening to music. Calling people instead of just texting to maintain a social connection (or as my wise friend calls it ‘the human connection’). These practices do not have to take a long period of time. You do not have to do them all. Find something that fits with you.
The easiest way of ‘grounding’ is by barefoot walking. Try it. Chose a lawned area that is soft on your feet and walk through it. Feel the cold, wet grass on the soles of your feet. The sides. In between your toes. It is not unpleasant on a Spring or Summer day. It might not be something you try in snow or in winter! You could try the other methods in those seasons.
Use rough and tumbled stones as sensory objects you hold in your hand and slowly turn them over like a natural fidget spinner. Having a stone/s that has meaning for you – perhaps something you have collected on your travels or a crystal you appreciate the colour or metaphysical meaning of – adds to the process. A simple calm moment.
Image Thanks to Brina Blum for sharing their work on Unsplash
You can take a deliberate pause break before meetings and visualise feeling connected to the floor, to your chair, feel your thumb and index finger make circles against each other. Breathe. Extend your inhale and your exhale. Be in that moment. Slowly come out of it and ready yourself for the meeting, zoom call, home school. The next thing you have to do.
Look at creating moments that cultivate self-care and compassion. Make time for the activities you find restorative.
And reach out to a health care professional if you are struggling.