Staying Mindful During a Pandemic

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By Madison Hanscom & Kelly Cave

We are living in a turbulent time. Unfortunately, when life becomes hectic, we may unintentionally place our mental health on the backburner. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals are feeling extreme financial strain and are trying to juggle increasing priorities. Many people who typically work in professional spaces are now working from home with spouses and/or children and are trying to establish new routines. Amidst the painful anticipation of this unfolding situation, and the current stress we are experiencing, it is important to keep mental health in the forefront.
Mindfulness is described as a moment to moment, non-judgmental awareness. Being mindful involves paying attention in the present moment without reacting or judging1. A mindful person will notice what is happening at any given moment while it is happening. The convenient thing about mindfulness is that is can be practiced anywhere! Even while you are at home social distancing.

As things become more complicated and uncertain, many people find it difficult to be fully present. Luckily mindfulness is something that can be learned and developed.

Steps you can take to practice mindfulness:

• Set “deep breathing reminder” alarms on your phone and reserve a few moments every hour to practice deep breathing.
• While you are spending a full 20 seconds washing your hands, take the time to think about the people and things you are grateful for.
• Find a meditation practice that works for you and make it part of your routine. There are lots of free resources online to search through.
• Consider the wellbeing of those around you. While you might be experiencing fear or anxiety, there might be others also in turmoil. Think about those in your life who are at higher risk, such as older individuals and those with chronic diseases, and consider reaching out to them (virtually, of course!).

For more background information on the benefits of mindfulness and how it is related to work, see our previous blog post on mindfulness and the workplace. For more mindfulness resources, visit mindful.org. As always consult the CDC website when making any decisions related to COVID-19.



References
1. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2015). Mindfulness. Orthogonal rotation in consciousness, 6 (6). P. 1481-1483.