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5 Little Ways to Practice Quarantine Mindfulness
I’m sure you’ve heard the seemingly endless quarantine catchphrases by now… Even if you think you don’t know what I’m talking about, you probably do. Commonly-used expressions like “this quarantine is just a great time to just slow down,” or “what a wonderful opportunity to put life on pause,” or even, “we’re going to come out of this so thankful!”... those are quarantine catchphrases. Rinse, recycle, repeat in every conversation.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve noticed that being physically isolated from the outside world doesn't necessarily equate with being mindful. Rather, mindfulness is something that you need to put in effort to practice. And in such a strange time, mindfulness can be the last thing, well, on your mind.
I’ve put together a few tips that I’ve been using to stay mindful during physical isolation. They may not bring a sitting-in-a-remote-monastery-on-a-hill-23.5-hours-a-day level of tranquillity, but these tips will hopefully, at the very least, help you to notice your surroundings, ground yourself, and slow down your breathing.
If you need a refresher before we begin, or want to learn more about mindfulness itself, you can also check out some other mindyourmind mindfulness content here:
My Take on Mindfullness...
The Mindfulness of Pure Experience
Here’s a list of five little ways to practice mindfulness as you go throughout your quarantine day:
1. Take a walk (with just you).
“Forget” your headphones at home. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb. Leave the family members behind. Maybe even leave the dog behind. Just go on a nice, leisurely stroll and be alone with your thoughts. Notice the world around you. What do you see, smell, hear? Try to slow things down on your walk.
2. Indulge in Every. Single. Bite.
If you’re like me, you’re using this quarantine to eat everything that’s in the house, and then occasionally using the money you'd otherwise spend on “outside things” for food, food, and more food. (I’m not judging here, I’m just saying that I know what it’s like). A few days ago, I found myself scarfing down a whole lunch in just under four minutes as I watched Netflix. That’s when I realized I’ve stopped eating food to fuel my body, feel good, or even taste yummy things, and instead seem to be eating for the sake of eating. Next time you do the same, stop yourself. Pay attention to your food, your chewing, and the way it tastes. Savour every bite. And try to be mindful of what you’re putting in your body.
3. Stop the unnecessary multitasking.
Do you eat, scroll through Instagram on your phone, and watch something on a bigger screen, all at the same time? I do! Even though we might be more relaxed being at home, pointless multitasking is something that many of us have become accustomed to. Fight the urge to do 37145981 things at once, and try to just do one. It may be harder than you think, but your mind will thank you for a little less busy-ness in your day.
4. Get off the damn Zoom calls. Actually, make time to detach from all technology.
Another lovely quarantine catchphrase seems to be “we may be physically isolated, but we are socially connected!”. I just want to say that we can be thankful for the technology that allows us to stay connected, and still use this quarantine as a time to step away from it. Zoom calls, social media, and our technological connection abilities are wonderful, and it’s also great to choose to not use them on some days. Don’t feel pressure to incessantly “catch up” with people, or to stay on top of what everyone else is doing. Some peace does come with getting away from all of that, and there’s nothing wrong with it. A great deal of mindfulness can come with just taking it easy, by yourself, in your own house, for a day or two.
5. Read a book. Any book.
There’s no better way to focus your attention on one thing. When you pick up a book, you can really immerse yourself in just one realm of thought. Reading words on paper can be one of the best tactics to ground yourself, and if you find a book you enjoy, it can also become a sort of mindfulness technique that brings you pleasure. If you do want to try e-reading, put your technology on Do Not Disturb, and try to simulate the experience of reading an actual book.
Good luck with these strategies, and have a lovely, peaceful day!
Simran grew up in Markham, Ontario and is a fourth-year student at Western University.
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