Life has looked different for all of us over the past seven weeks (and counting). Staying grounded and finding a sense of peace during a global pandemic isn’t exactly easy, but fortunately, there are practices and plants that can help. Here we’re sharing the power of plants with our personal rituals and tips to keep you feeling your best through these unprecedented times.
It’s important to recognize how easy it is to feel stressed when your daily routine is interrupted, your social interactions cease, and your sense of normalcy is off kilter. The first thing to focus on is to stay connected to your sense of purpose- whether it’s your job, your family, etc. This is a grounding and reassuring way to keep a common thread running through your days during this time.
The power of the breath
Now is a great time to pick up breathing exercises or dive deeper with your practice if you’ve already been experimenting. The stress & uncertainty of all that we’re experiencing tends to cause tension in the chest. This is where our lungs are housed and where this pathogen takes effect. Breathing deeply to get energy flowing through the lungs can help you feel immediately at ease.
Breathing exercises are helpful to calm the Nervous System down and to get into a state of bliss. Take advantage of this easy technique- now that we have the time, we are able to see the powerful effects. Four-seven-eight breathing is one simple breathing technique for a pretty immediate effect when you need it. This simply requires breathing in through the nose for a mental count of four, hold for a count of seven and breathe out through the mouth for a count of eight, following the same mental cadence. Doing multiple rounds of this exercise can dramatically relax the nervous system. If you want to get serious immune stimulating and nervous system altering results, explore the Wim Hof method. ‘The Iceman” is famous for the breathing technique he developed to access the autonomic nervous system and activate immunity. His approach and online course are very accessible. Check out the Vice video on Wim and get breathing!
Adapting with Herbs
Another way to cope with stress is by adding adaptogenic herbs to your routine. This is one of the best things that both traditional & plant-based medicinal systems have to offer us. We’re able to use adaptogenic herbs like Reishi, Ashwagandha, Ginseng, Tulsi, and Rhodiola to buffer the negative effects of continuous stress and the ensuing exhaustion that stress hormones can create. These herbs also moderate the stress response itself, so we’re more resilient.
Reprograming with Reminders
A simple yet powerful practice for rewiring our stress response involves just your cell phone, of all things! This is a way to deprogram our neurological response to whatever might be causing us stress- by simply setting an alarm to ring on a regular basis (once an hour or even a few times a day, most important is not frequency but consistency). Every time the alarm goes off, it acts as a reminder to drop the negative thought loop and take a step back from all the mental noise swirling around. Give yourself a positive reminder to internally repeat when you hear the alarm ring to enhance the effect. There’s very little effort required, as the alarm does the work of grabbing your attention and ultimately conditioning a new, more positive way of thinking.
Ultimately, any rituals or practices themselves have a grounding and reassuring effect when things around us feel unpredictable and especially challenging. What are your favorite ways to stay grounded? Have any tips, tricks, routines or other suggestions for us? Share in the comments below!