by Christi Ashby and Jill Hamilton Buss
Right now, there is much more than the normal upheavals we have had in our lives – and lots of uncertainty. When will the pandemic subside? What is the new normal? How can we support our brothers and sisters who are hurting?
While the answers are not always clear, there are some reassurances. Life will go on and the appearance of precious new babies each day is a reminder and a blessing. With the current slowdown, families and friends with whom we can commiserate, cheer on and rally around have become a valued focus. The tiny details have more significance now that we are taking the time to appreciate them. A simple walk in a park, a quiet moment of reflection or the sight of a new blossom can bring much-needed joy. But everything is still overwhelming.
With a much quieter schedule, I am finding some peace and comfort in painting. I asked Orange Appeal contributor and mental health counselor Jill Hamilton Buss for a few tips.
Sigh Out Loud (SOL) – Take a deep breath, counting to five as you inhale. Exhale for five seconds, with a loud, audible sigh. It’s almost a moan. Just let it all go. Do this a few times – it feels really good.
Stretch, Bend, Hang – Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, arms by your sides. Slowly raise arms to a “top of the jumping jack” position as you inhale deeply. Exhale slowly as you gently slump forward and dangle your head and arms, touching the floor if you can. Just hang there for as long as is comfortable – 15-20 seconds. Bend your knees if you need to. Swing and shake your arms and shoulders. Release that tension.
Palm Push – Stand and stretch your arms, hands and shoulders – especially if you’ve been sitting at your computer most of the day. Take a few deep breaths and then close your eyes, if comfortable, and put your hands palm to palm, like in prayer, and press with firm pressure for 25-30 seconds. Continue taking slow deep breaths and focus on the breath or the sounds in the room.
#1 Strategy – WALK/MOVE – Go for a walk outside (even 5 – 10 minutes can help). Jog in place or do jumping jacks. Get that negative energy OUT!