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How to Get Grounded During a Global Health Crisis

Stress is a Normal Response to the Coronavirus

It’s an uncertain and scary time for all of us; facing the global health crisis related to COVID-19 is stressful. As this post by @the_queer_counselor states, any feelings of stress, fear, and anxiety are normal responses to the coronavirus.

Stress can cause us to move into fight, flight, or freeze. In these states, our nervous system goes into overdrive. If we continue to be exposed to the stressor, as we are with the news and the real concerns of this virus, it is challenging for our nervous system to relax and recalibrate. Consequently, we might begin to experience symptoms like racing thoughts, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, headaches and so on. Again, this is normal given the circumstances; it is not shameful or wrong to be feeling this way.

That said, if/when we feel ready to shift our energy (and as Fanny of @yinyogamagic reminds us, this may not be attainable right now), there are ways that we can support ourselves and our nervous systems in reestablishing a sense of groundedness or safety. We can empower ourselves to process the stress and soothe our nervous systems. One reason grounding is important is that stress compromises our immune systems, and this supports us individually AND collectively.

Practices for Getting Grounded During a Global Health Crisis

  1. Focus on your breath. Notice that YOU ARE breathing. What parts of your body are moving? What is the quality of your breath? If it feels right/safe, notice what it feels like to breathe into your stomach/belly.
  2. Stand barefooted on the Earth. Grass, dirt, and riverbeds are great, and if only rocks or asphalt are available, this works too! 
  3. Hula hoop OR do the movement of hula hooping, keeping your feet rooted to the Earth and circling your hips in a way that feels soothing or stretchy.
  4. Do a set of lunges and squats. Work until your leg muscles feel awake, alert, and/or heavy.
  5. Take a slow, mindful walk. Notice each step.
  6. Lay down on the ground. Rather than a bed or a couch, try laying on the firm ground. Bonus: lay down outside on the Earth!
  7. Hold rocks, stones, or crystals in your hands. Or, lay down and place the stones on your body in places that feel supportive for you.
  8. Stomp your feet while reciting an affirmation. For example, “I am steady and strong” or “I am safe and sound.” (Bonus: Do this barefooted and outside!)
  9. Hug a tree. Really. Feel how grounded and sturdy they are.
  10. Wherever you are, notice whatever parts of you are touching the ground or a firm surface. Notice how you are being held and supported. By the Earth, a chair, your bed, the couch, and so on.
  11. Spend time gardening or doing yard work.
  12. Lay down or sit with extra blankets on your torso or legs. Weighted blankets can be helpful tools for grounding!
  13. Sit or picnic in a park or garden or forest. Let yourself be surrounded by nature.
  14. Eat a meal that includes root vegetables.
  15. Take a sensory journey using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. Notice what you are seeing, feeling, touching, hearing, and tasting. Take time to inventory and/or engage with your surroundings.
  16. Practice self-massage or Abhyanga. Spend time showing your body care and love.
  17. Try a rooting or grounding meditation on YouTube. Search and find one that speaks to YOU.
  18. Open windows (or at least blinds and curtains) so that you can see and connect with the elements outside. Natural light can be grounding and energizing.
  19. Give yourself a foot and/or leg massage. Give attention and love to the roots of your body!
  20. Use sandbags to lay across your body as you rest, meditate, or relax.

Staying Connected During the Corona Virus

We all navigate this challenging time both individually and collectively, it’s a good time to check in with and name our support systems, which can include people, places, and things. Knowing who we can count on (even from afar) can help us feel grounded too! Please comment below if there are other grounding practices you love; I’d love to learn from you!

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