Britta Van Dun
Social Distancing & Self Care
Most of us are accustomed to leading robust social lives. We are now being asked to work remotely, to practice social distancing, and even self-quarantine. How do we comfortably navigate the shift from extroversion to a more inward routine?
For some, more time at home is a welcome change. I’m a triple Scorpio, so I've been social distancing since birth. For others, minimal social interaction is akin to solitary confinement. For most of us, it’s a mixed bag. We are all navigating big changes - whether that be home-schooling children, suddenly working online, avoiding travel, closing offices, making special accommodations for at-risk loved ones, or navigating the complexity of continuing to work in the public sphere. It’s challenging to not spiral into legitimate worry. Wherever you land on the spectrum, a few ideas to help re-consider this pandemic as something of an opportunity.
Stay the course with an open heart, cultivate faith and keep social distancing <3
I imagine you're already engaging these practices, and, just in case: When you must be in contact with people, places and things, wash up, wipe down and don’t touch that sweet face of yours. Washing with soap and warm water for 20 seconds is more effective than just using sanitizer, though sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol has been proven effective too. The recommended distance between people is 6 feet - air hugs are swiftly replacing air kisses. The virus can live on cardboard/paper surfaces up to 24 hours and glass surfaces as long as three days. Please take the time to disinfect and clean hands and shared-surfaces as often as possible. If you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue or elbow, and, you guessed it, wash up. If you or a loved one is sick, stay home and contact a medical practitioner.
Please check reputable media sources daily, but don't lose yourself down the rabbit hole. Facts matter. Stay informed and avoid alarmist or hysterical outlets. I’ve noticed a subtly charged pressure to join fear-based thinking under the guise of misinformed medicine, civic duty, financial insecurity and the general unknown. Researchers and specialists agree that social distancing can "flatten the curve" of the otherwise exponential threat of this disease and slow if not halt its course. My personal best choice was to stop seeing clients and friends in-person and absolutely limit my time in stores. I've majorly upped my hygienic game. I hope others will do the same as it really can limit the duration, spread and severity of this disease. That said, fear tactics and hoarding basic necessities lowers our vibration (and immunity) and leaves underserved and under-resourced people at a higher risk. We are all in this together. Literally. Please consider others and share resources in safe ways. Also, rather than calling people out on their perhaps less cautious choices, let's call people into better self and community care.
With imposed and elective quarantines, many people are joining online groups and connecting with friends and colleagues through apps like FaceTime and Zoom. For those on the front lines, please communicate with your teams, supervisors and other first responders when you need a break, when you need to vent and what additional resources need to be implemented at organizational levels so that your well-being is prioritized along with your patients. It’s also crucial that while we spend less actual face-to-face time with our loved ones, we continue strengthening our connections through different apps. The other night, a friend suggested we all get together over dinner - on a group chat from our respective homes. I'm so glad she did. We are not alone.
Speaking of not alone, please enjoy time in nature. Walking, hiking, running, biking, wandering. All offer wonderful solo opportunities to smooth the nervous system and align with the greater world around us. The harmonic vibrations of nature keep our physical and mental bodies healthy. If you live in the desert, spend a few slow minutes in front of a saguaro cactus. Receive its vitality. With eyes closed or open, dial into the resonance of Fairy Duster - calms the nerves; Paloverde - releases mentation and judgement; Camphor Weed uplifts the spirit and vitalizes the solar plexus. Go beyond stopping to smell the flowers, commune with your favorite plants (and animals) and listen to what they have to teach us.
Eat a whole foods diet. Cook most of your meals & serve warm for easier digestion. Get creative in the kitchen. Maybe try recipes you’ve earmarked for a rainy day. Between online meetings, activities with the kids, phone calls, and daily essentials, drop a NYT one-pan dinner in the oven or prep a soup on the stove or bake a special treat. Whenever you can fresh veggies, greens and fruits! Common botanical boosters that support the vital Qi of the lungs and immunity include astragalus, cordyceps, and elder leaf tincture. Vitamin C and Zinc are also great. Ask your Chinese Medicine practitioner about modified Yu Ping Feng,which aids in the prevention of Pneumonia as well as other preventative measures that you can take based on your individual constitution. I hesitate offering blanket ideas on the treatment of cold/flu symptoms at this time. To highlight possiblities, Licorice Root, in combination with other herbs, has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to successfully treat respiratory illnesses. The formula Qing Fei Pai Du Tang, for examples, has been shown effective in the recovery of SARS (2003) and recent COVID19 cases in China and Thailand. This is to say, if you contract something - not hard to do during this pretty stressful season - there is of course hope and numerous effective, holistic treatments available. Just ask.
With more time at home, create soft routines and intersperse work with creative projects parceled in phases, chores you’ve been meaning to do and nourishing rituals. I start each day with “I’d like to . . . “ In the past few days, between remote sessions with clients, my soft goals were to write this post, research remedies, bake up different veggie frittatas (named brittatas of course), patch the roof, go for a hike, practice yoga, paint, take a bath, organize books. These are all soft goals that I let linger in the air as feel-good possibilities. I find myself walking into the goals when I’m ready and the time is right. It’s amazing how much more I actually accomplish in a day with this approach. Its different than writing a list of to-dos by which I (downward) measure my productivity or drill down on “shoulds” or “Every day, I will." All of which make my inner rebel/kid grimace if not dig her heels in hard. Soft goals are grassroots, they're open-ended and adaptable, and, they answer the question “what would genuinely look and feel good in this moment?”
While concerns around Covid19 are legit and leave much to be revealed, every moment gives us the opportunity to choose. To resist or to accept reality as it is. To create or to spiral. To remain connected or to feel alone. To come to a stop or to grow. Like all mirrors, this pandemic reflects our programmed fears, highlights our capacities and can elevate our awareness to new levels. Easier said than done, right?
I 1000% encourage you to take a few scheduled minutes every day to actively "time in." Observe your thoughts, feel your feelings, invite the mind to soften and the body to relax. Touching into ease, even for a few minutes, can reset the mind, inspire new perspectives and elevate our vibration so that we align with more of what we need and less of what we don’t. As the saying goes, worry is like praying for what we don’t want. Let’s clear away dissonant energies and calibrate our intentions towards what we do.
To that end, please consider creating a space for meditation. Sit in a chair or lay down, whatever is most comfortable. If you’re not accustomed to mini-vacaying with meditation, start with a timed 3 minutes and follow your breath. As the mind wanders, notice that the mind has wandered and return to the breath. Gently, simply. Other practices that cultivate alignment include, but aren’t limited to, stretching, exercise, gardening, making music, joking, writing, praying, casting rituals, crafting, painting, reading spiritual and funny texts, dancing, singing, listening to your favorite music, podcasts, books and and and. Whatever feels genuinely supportive and soothing to *you.*
A daily meditation that I love is slowly scanning the sensations in the body with a soft inward gaze - from head to foot and foot to head. I breathe into any areas of tension and invite contractions to relax. After a few passes, I draw attention to the energetic field around my body and feel the cocoon-like support of that. Then I sense into the support of the earth and the sky, the land, the plants and all of creation. All is well. We are not alone. We are always supported. I rest in the awareness of that support, of that union, for as long as I am able and then re-focus on the breath and physical sensations again. Weaving awareness between the body and the world, back to the body and back to the cosmos again. Play in your meditation, see what conjures stillness, ease, faith and wellness in *your* body/mind.
I am thinking of you and wishing you the best during this time and always. If support would feel good to you, I’m available for Intuitive Healing sessions and Remedy consultations via Skype, FaceTime and phone. +1 917.519.2432 and email@example.com