As we head into another month of COVID-19 shutdown and social distancing, it’s important to take stock of our mental and emotional health. We may have initially been optimistic about new opportunities we could explore, such as baking bread, reconnecting with old friends via FaceTime, or taking up knitting. But by now, the novelty of having a “stay-cation” has worn off. Many people are feeling a sense of exhaustion and even defeat as we all face an uncertain future together. The millions who are unemployed face the overwhelming stress of lost income. And, we all face the stress of having our usual supports and routines taken away. The places we love to relax and enjoy – gyms, restaurants, and even State Parks – may remain closed for some indefinite time.
Now is the time to find new ways of managing our stress levels and supporting our mental, emotional, and physical health. Here are three things that you can do at home to maintain wellness and reduce stress during the COVID-19 shutdown.
#1: Tune-up Your Nutrition With a Detoxification and Purification Program
While it’s natural to feel sad about the closure of most restaurants and pubs, try to take advantage of this time and focus on nutrition. Under captivity at home, you may have to fight the urge to indulge in sugar and alcohol, or to snack on unhealthy “comfort” foods. A healthy alternative is to use the Standard Process 21-day detox and purification program. It’s a great way to purify your body and jump-start your metabolism. The program is designed to help you maintain a nutrient-dense diet that resets your body and promotes long-term metabolic efficiency, allowing you to feel lighter, more energized, and less sluggish overall. Plus, you may sleep better and feel more balanced throughout your day. For more information about our detoxification program and its benefits, click here.
#2: Reduce Stress, Anxiety, and Pain With the Inner Smile Guided Meditation
This classic guided meditation is a personal favorite for relieving pain and discomfort in my body. You can stream it for free until June 30, 2020, and learn how to use it yourself. Narrated by Dr. Fritz Smith, the founder of Zero Balancing, you will learn how to create and feel a working energy field in your body by coupling the movement of your breath with the form of an “Inner Smile”. Adapted from an ancient Chinese Taoist meditation, the Inner Smile offers you the opportunity to reduce stress, anxiety, and tension in your body by working with the principles of Zero Balancing and the 5- Element Theory of Chinese Medicine.
A single complete meditation cycle, with three “Inner Smile” breath variations through each of your organs, takes just over 20 minutes. You can practice the Inner Smile meditation in either a sitting position or lying down: you be the judge of what is most comfortable. During the guided meditation, just imagine the gently curved shape of a smile – expanding from the center outwards – as Dr. Smith guides you through each of the organs and the associated Five Element colors.
Once you are comfortable with the technique of the Inner Smile, be creative with it. I often use short sessions of the Inner Smile meditation (silently to myself) as a way to relieve pain and discomfort in my body. If I am having trouble sleeping, I use it before I fall asleep in bed. I am often surprised to find that I am unconsciously holding tension somewhere (for me, usually my forehead). Once I notice it and bring an Inner Smile, I can sleep peacefully.
Here’s my personal technique:
Lying comfortably on your back, breathe naturally, and bring a smile through your entire body. The smile begins at the center (solar plexus) and expands outwards in all directions – head to toe, side to side, a big three-dimensional smile. Enjoy that smile for a few minutes. Next, shift your awareness to any area of the body where you notice the tension. This could be an area of pain, or somewhere that you may be holding stress unconsciously. Bring an Inner Smile to that area of held stress, letting the smile expand through the area. You may wish to do this several times, and feel the tension dissolving with the smile. When you feel ready, end the session by bringing a big smile through the entire body once again.
#3: Book a Telehealth Session With Your Acupuncturist
The Inner Works Acupuncture office is still closed for regular appointments, although we are scheduling for urgent care. Remember that we do offer telehealth appointments to our clients so that you can feel connected and supported during the COVID-19 shutdown. There are many ways that we can continue to serve you via a telehealth appointment, such as: evaluating and managing a new or ongoing health concern; providing health counseling and making recommendations for managing your health condition at home; offering herbal prescriptions; developing a nutritional therapy plan; and more.