Staying Grounded during the Circuit Breaker

By Avanti Nim Rastogi

If you find yourself feeling emotions you aren’t used to feeling, and defaulting to behaviours which may make you happy in the moment, but which you know aren’t necessarily helpful in the long term, be kind to yourself. We are in an unprecedented time of uncertainty right now, and it’s only natural to feel unbalanced, or out of control. 

There is no correct way to handle this situation, and there are two distinct patterns emerging as to how people are moving forward; some believe the best thing to do is to stick to their routine as closely as possible, and others feel like it is all they can do to get by – one day at a time. Neither way is wrong, and only you can understand and decide for yourself what works best for you. 

But one thing that can help both types of personalities (in general, but more specifically during this time) is a good foundation to boost your baseline of positivity, and to give you a sense of internal grounding, so what’s happening outside of your control doesn’t have as much of an impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing.

This includes both long-term behaviours, and exercises for short-term relief. Please feel free to use any combinations of the below suggestions, and mix it up till you find what suits you best.

So here are some things you can do:

Build good habits 

· If you can incorporate some sort of movement into your daily life – be it yoga, dance, walking, or really anything that gets your heart rate up for thirty minutes a day, you will feel healthier and more positive. 

· Eat well. You don’t have to eat like a personal trainer, but try to include more fresh fruits, vegetables, and sources of good fats like nuts into your diet. It can be a simple swap of carrots instead of that pack of biscuits at 5pm, for example. 

· Try mindfulness. Meditation is the ultimate tool for inner well-being, but it can be intimidating for a beginner, so please don’t expect to immediately become an expert at it. Mindfulness is a way to ease yourself into meditation, and the truth of it is that it is simply about slowing things down. You can practise mindful eating (where you savour the texture, flavour, and touch of every bite), mindful walking (where you let your senses take in everything around you like the sounds of the birds, or the unevenness of the ground beneath your feet), or even a mindful conversation with a loved one (where you sit with an open posture, and truly listen to what they are saying). 

· When struggling with what feels like a mountain of thought or feeling, it can be helpful to write things down. Sometimes, when you put your thoughts to paper (or app), the visualisation makes it easier to untangle the unhelpful ones from the ones that serve you. Also, the act of expressing your feelings helps to make you feel more unburdened, and gives you an outlet without fear of any judgment. 

If you need immediate relief from anxiety or mental discomfort, try one these breathing exercises which have helped us immensely in the past

· The 4-7-8 breathing technique: simply inhale for four counts, hold that breath for seven, and then exhale it out slowly through your mouth for eight. Run this through several times, and it will help bring your anxiety level down. 

· Pursed lip breathing: the act of pursing your lips while breathing brings a focus to the act, and thus, helps to slow it down. By focusing on the shape your mouth is forming, you are much more aware of your breaths, and it requires deliberate effort. This is also helpful when you’ve been exerting yourself, as it allows for deeper inhalations and exhalations. 

All the suggestions above are merely that: suggestions. As mentioned before, there is no correct way of dealing with this instability, and we are all struggling to revert to a state of normalcy, and none of us can deal with it in the exact same way, so don’t worry if you aren’t ready to dive in yet. These are just some tools that have been shown to help others, and we hope they can do the same for you. 

We hope you found this useful, and as always, stay well.