After businesses begin to reopen, I could not wait to get out of my 900 sqft. apartment. It felt like the walls were starting to close in on me. The first place I went was to my local nail salon with a mask in hand. I was in desperate need of self-maintenance you know the usual manicure and pedicure. After being shut down for so long, I was a mess. I thought that going to get pampered just a little would help my mental state of mind of being quarantined. I was extremely excited. It felt like I had been in a dark cold cave somewhere. I was greeted with a smile by the owner. I was really glad to see her and my favorite Nail technician, and they politely seated me right after they double wiped down the seats and head rest before I could sit down. I remember saying to myself, “Wow this is going to be the new norm!” Shortly after being seated, these two ladies walked in and were waiting to be seated. One of the nail technicians greeted them and ushered them over to their seats. Social distancing was in full force. She told the two ladies, “You cannot sit next to each other, but you can sit across from each other.” All I heard was one of the ladies shouting repeatedly, “But we are family, but we are family!” What happen next was shocking! The young lady started sobbing profusely. It caught everyone’s attention in the salon. The young lady just continued to cry louder and louder. The owner came to her aid. Asked her, “What’s wrong, are you ok?” The lady begins to apologize for her emotional outburst. Still while crying, she explained that she was having a nervous breakdown because she could not interact with her family because they were essential workers in a hospital, and it was just taking its toll. I remember thinking how this pandemic is taking a toll on people’s mental, physical, and emotion health, and how I didn’t want to have a mental or emotional breakdown similar to hers; hence, the saying a human earthquake. Prior to finally being able to leave my house. I was having trouble sleeping, staying focus and attentive while working from home. I was feeling very anxious and claustrophobic in my apartment. I was experiencing Cabin Fever. For those of you who do not know what “Cabin Fever” is, the according to Merriam Webster Dictionary (1863) it is extreme irritability and restlessness from living in isolation or a confined indoor area for a prolonged time. I begin looking for ways to occupy my mind and time. I was feeling every bit of those symptoms including loss of an appetite. I knew something was off with me. I started researching things to do that would help combat anxiety and “Cabin Fever” without taking medication. Besides, I could not go to a doctor for help during the pandemic. They were closed and not seeing patients. I stumbled across a You Tube video for guided meditation. I had never meditated before, and at this point I was willing to try anything to relieve my symptoms. Guided meditation is sitting still in a relaxed state that allows someone to guide you through the meditation with calm words and/or music. The ideal times for meditation are in the morning and at night. In the morning, your body and mind are still in a relaxed state from being in sleep mode. At night, your mind and body are starting to wind down into a calming and relax state that prepares your body for sleep.
According to PositivePsychology.com, here are just a few of the benefits when you practice daily meditation:
- Natural Stress Stabilizer
- Controls anxiety
- Promotes emotional health and well-being
- Increases attention, heighten awareness, and more focus
- Improves sleep quality
- Increases energy level
- Improves psychological assets such as motivation and strength
With all these benefits meditation has been the best free prescription for my mind, body, and spirit. Meditation was my saving grace. Guided and movement (Yoga, a hike, gardening, etc.) meditation has been infused into my daily routine. I do it once in morning and before I go to bed. I sleep so much better than before. I wake up refreshed. After doing guided meditation in the mornings, I am energized throughout the day. I am calm and I can focus more on my work; and just overall, have a positive attitude. I feel absolutely wonderful! My nightly routine consists of maybe PI-YO which is yoga and Pilates mixed or guided meditation for at least 20 minutes to an hour.
Kids can benefit from meditation as well. According to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), they suggest that parents should encourage children to learn and practice elements of meditation such as breathing and relaxation techniques every day as kids need to relax their minds too from a long day of typical school activities. Meditation for children of all ages will improve attention span, fosters self-confidence and self-esteem, and it enhances academic goals and achievements (Chowdhury, 2020). Make it a family affair. If you are a beginner, I suggest start out with guided meditation for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day and increase as you get better at it. Happy meditation! It can change your life as it did mine!
Chowdhury (2020) 5 Health Benefits of Daily Meditation, PositivePsychology.com
Merriam -Webster (1828) Cabin Fever. MerriamWebster.com