Power-up with mindfulness to survive and thrive today – and tomorrow
By Manny Marrero, MOT, OTR/L, CCHC Behavioral Health
The following is part two of a two-part series on mindfulness in the changing times around COVID-19.
As a mental health professional, I see the effect the historic COVID-19 pandemic is having on my patients, my family and friends, my neighbors, our community and the world that surrounds us. Life as we knew it changed a few months ago and we continue to take measures to protect ourselves and our community.
As we adapt to a new normal, a new set of routines can help make that new normal more bearable – even help you thrive now and in the future. In part two of this series, we’ll continue to explore simple adjustments to the way we live, being mindful of the way we look at our current situation and spend this time.
Be Mindful with Everyone
I know this is hard for a lot of people. You love your friends and family, and it is hard not to go for visits with your grandchildren, go out to dinner with friends the way we used to, and enjoy the little things we took for granted for so long – like heading to a movie on a lazy afternoon, or running into an old friend at the grocery store and hugging them. But, and I know this is a big “but” because those moments cannot be replicated… but, we are so lucky to be in an age where technology provides us with tools to create fun and special memories, albeit of a different sort.
A lot of people have already been planning wine nights with friends on Zoom and making special Facetime calls to grandma and grandpa, but there are some other cool tools that let you take social action a step further. You can host a game night with the Houseparty app, watch a movie with your best friend no matter where they are using Netflix Party, or even meet new people on Bumble. Right now, in this time in history, there are more ways to socialize from a distance than ever before. Take full advantage of it.
Be Mindful with Yourself
Spending time with yourself can be hard when you’re not used to it, but once you get to know yourself – I promise it’s not so bad! Adding meditation to your day can help in so many ways. It reduces stress hormones and muscle tension, supports proper sleep habits, improves the immune system, boosts positive feelings, and helps you live more mindfully in all the areas we talked about.
There are so many ways to get started. Check out the Calm app, download Insight Timer, or join me on YouTube for free guided meditations that I upload weekly. It takes as little as five minutes a day to find benefits from meditation. This ten-breath guided meditation is the perfect introduction and is about the length of a commercial break.
As we find ourselves in this time of changes that seem scary, remember, we’re all in this together. Finding new ways to connect with ourselves, our loved ones, and our community will help us get through this, and we could even be better for it in the end.
If you are in need of mental health services, they are still available during this time. Many mental health counselors offer private telehealth services, and here at Cape Cod Hospital, our inpatient and outpatient programs are still open. Help is just a phone call away.
To access CCHC Behavioral Health services, call 508-862-PSYK or email GetPsyk@capecodhealth.org.
Manny Marrero, MOT, OTR/L, is an Occupational Therapist in the CCH Partial Hospital Program
Putting Out the Fire:
Watch Dr. Kumara Sidhartha talk about the vital role nutrition plays in preventing or managing long-term inflammation.
Try an anti-inflammatory alternative to ice cream with this Chia Seed Pudding.