Compassionate Self Care for Collective Anxiety

Are you experiencing anxiety related to the political climate and the COVID pandemic? If so, you’re not alone. Stress levels in the US have significantly increased with so much uncertainty and potential threat around us. As we approach the election and the time thereafter, here are some suggestions that might help – Remain embodied rather than becoming swept away by worry and rumination.
  1. Press the soles of your feet into the floor. Feel the back of your legs against the chair. Lightly tap your body to come into the here and now.
  2. Become curious about what anxiety actually feels like in the body. Then take three conscious breaths. Breathe into the feeling, holding it with kindness; breathe out with a sigh of relief.
  3. Practice Yoga, Tai Chi, or Feldenkrais. Run, walk, lift, stretch, bike, move.
Use your visual sense, memory, and imagery
  1. Look at form and color all around you. Find five things that you enjoy seeing.
  2. Call up memories of timeless places – mountains, oceans, the endless sky. Recognize that we are passing through a brief moment of time and that all things are moving and changing. Recalling various periods of history can help too.
  3. Visualize the earth from the moon.
  4. Remember a place where you felt safe and at ease. Fill in as many details as you can, using memory of all five senses.
Take in the good
  1. Consider all the kind and compassionate people you know – well-known people or those that you know personally. People who have been there for you, for the community, for the country, for the world.
  2. If you are a person of faith, feel the presence of your source.
  3. Tune in to the goodness in the world ... making a practice of deliberately looking for it.
Tend to your thoughts and emotions
  1. Trungpa Rinpoche, as quoted by Pema Chodron, “Place the fearful mind in the cradle of lovingkindness.”
  2. Breathe into your heart space as though you could warm your tender heart, imagining that your breath could gently massage your heart.
  3. Allow any discomfort in your body to get as big as it needs to be, letting it be felt and known by your kind awareness.
Perform small acts of kindness for yourself and others
  1. Light a candle, cook a special meal, buy fresh flowers, take a warm bath, use aromatherapy, read a good book, get out in nature.
  2. Send a friend a card by mail, drop off some cookies, pay for the person behind you at the convenience store, fill a birdfeeder, give the kids extra attention and love.
Recognize that you are not alone
  1. Many others are feeling just like you. As you breathe in, have the wish that they could allow their hearts to open and relax. As you breathe out, send out a wish for relief to the millions of others who feel anxious and stressed.
  2. Offer your support and care to those in need as best you can and seek support from others when you need it. Recognize when support might be beneficial.
  3. Set the intention to be patient with yourself and others who may feel irritated and claustrophobic.
Limit intake of news Take action to help create the world you want for yourself, your children, grandchildren
  1. Your contribution is needed, however seemingly small.
  2. Join with others who share your vision – many small drops will fill a pail.
Meditate – it helps alleviate stress reactivity, anxiety and depression Connect with community
  1. Maintain connection with people who share your values. Stay connected to your church, temple, synagogue, book discussion group, support group, or any other groups that might be appropriate for you.
  2. Participate in Tapestry’s Community Conversations or drop into a Mindfulness class.
Get support if needed Sometimes we can be overtaken by anxiety, stress, depression or PTSD, despite our best efforts at self-care. Don’t hesitate to reach out for additional help. May we all be safe, well and happy. And may compassion and lovingkindness prevail.