What can you do in this lock-down from your root?
How can we prevent shutdown in this lock-down? When fear hits us we constrict and our bodies become tight and painful. We shutdown. And even though many of us are trying our hardest to keep positive and not let overwhelm get the better of us, we are still struggling.
What can we do?
Movement and breathing awareness are vital. Moving your body either dancing for ten minutes to your favourite music and shaking all the parts of your body, lifting your legs, stretching your arms, extending and coming to stillness, just moving with attention and awareness of moving your body in fresh ways.
Squats, lunges with attention on just feeling yourself in your legs, swinging gently your hips, pelvis and from the base of your body i.e. your sit bones, your root and the soles of your feet grounding moving your legs your feet like they were dinosaur feet. Big powerful movements all around the space.
The base of our body is our root and in Indian medicine is the root chakra, which is about our sense of safety in the world. Many people have lost their sense of safety because of this pandemic and are anxious about the unknown and it’s no surprise especially if we are spending much time watching the news, the NHS cannot guarantee to take care of our medical needs anymore and we are facing a financial crisis. We connect the root chakra to our sense of belonging in our families and in our communities and affects our immune system too. So what can we do?
- Move your body
- Eat healthfully
- Grounding in gardening, exercise or cooking
During trauma work the therapist helps the patient to find agency, and this is something we can start to do during this crisis as Bessel van de Kolk talked about in his short video for NICABM. To begin to get a sense of agency, we need some structure and so lets start structuring our day during lock-down. Here’s an example:
1. eat breakfast
3. cook some cakes
4. take a nap
5. Speak to a friend and share something about yourself and listen to how things are for them
6. Paint a picture
7. take a bath
8. Eat dinner
The structure will make each day meaningful, give a sense of accomplishment and help with nourishing our root chakra.
If you have children
Knowing that it is okay for your children, especially younger ones, to appear they are reverting to baby behaviour. Don’t make this wrong, allow them to regulate themselves in this way. Children instinctively know what to do in times of crisis, instinctively know how to soothe themselves. As much as you can, bend your knees and your back and get down to their level to validate their experiences and their feelings and just be with them, speak to them from this level.
Follow your children lead
Homeschooling is good and needed and also is building safety and attachment. Being with your children and just ‘be’ with them. Sense into them, allow them to ‘be’ in your space without expectations, just exercising the ability to feel them from your heart and feel into their hearts. Hold them, touch them with love and reassure them of their beautiful essence.
With your partners?
They will show their stress in unique ways and perhaps not expressing this outwardly. You may be more expressive and reactive and your partner internalising this more or vice versa. Ask them what it’s like for them and validate it. Imagine how you would like to be remembered by them, like if something were to happen to you, how would you like to live on inside of them? This will bring attention back to life. This will help you change focus from the despair of losing life to the repair of sweetening life with your energy, your thoughts, your focus, body and your words.
Get Creative and give yourself permission to play for 5mins a day!
It’s really important to not be hard on yourself, so perhaps spend a moment to notice what you are telling yourself about this time. How are you speaking to yourself? Then ask yourself, what would I say to my seven-year-old self? I’m guessing it is something different, something more sweet and affectionate. Can you change this and speak to your adult self like this, now? Drawing, Dancing, Singing, Sculpting, Planting, Cooking, Strength, Training, Skipping are all examples that you might like to try and enjoy! Also, watching funny movies that make you laugh from your bellies can be so healthy and will get those good hormones circulating around your body.
On this note, I want to share this poem by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Be safe, be grounded and be kind