Take a Break, Keep Perspective, Be Kind in Uncertain Times

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a perfect storm of unknowns. Educators, parents, and students are experiencing anxiety and overwhelm in the face of school closures and uncertain timelines. Try these three mindful practices to ride the waves of this challenging time.

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a perfect storm of unknowns from many different angles – including testing and treatment for the virus itself, school and business closures, and the uncertainty of how long this will last. It can be a lot to process and can make for a mind that is “greedy” – wanting to know everything it can in order to help us feel safe and informed. Staying updated with news can be really helpful, however, the urge and high frequency can increase the sense of overwhelm. Below are three tips to help you use your mindfulness practice in this moment.

3 Mindful Practices for Uncertain Times

1:  Manage Information Intake

Notice what happens inside of you as you take in and share information. Ask yourself: Is this bringing my anxiety up? Or calming me down? Do I already know everything you need to know at this moment? Do I need a break?

2:  Keep Perspective

Use perspective and try to hold multiple truths – “both/and.” Under duress, the mind starts to narrow in and grasp onto one thing – this tunnel vision can actually feed the overwhelm. But this is not the only thing happening in our day and in our lives. Try to find one good thing that is going well in the world around you, one thing you’re grateful for, a funny moment you remember, a delicious meal….something that is pleasant. Holding that in our attention can open us up to “both/and.” The mind can hold that both – the good things and the challenges that are present. For example, “I am having a thought that I should turn on the news again, and I am so grateful to be eating this delicious snack.”

3:  Don’t Forget Kindness

Be kind to yourself and others. We don’t have to beat ourselves up for how we feel. We are having biologically appropriate reactions to an unusual situation. We know that this will not last forever, so while this is here, can we offer ourselves some kindness and tenderness as we would offer a child who is frightened?

We’ll leave you with this poem by Ravenna Raven – shared by Jelena Popovic, a teacher in the Mindful Schools Mindful Teacher Certification Program.

Seasonal by Ravenna Raven

Look how quickly
the snow melts
into spring –
blossoming things
will cast long shadows
over the land
and summer is
coming again.

The seasons teach us
how to feel
at ease with
letting things go
just as soon as we get
used to the snow.

Invest in yourself and change the future of education. Join the next cohort of the Mindful Schools Certification Program.

Alan Brown is an educator in New York and the Lead Teacher of the Mindful Schools Mindful Teacher Certification Program.

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