National Mental Health Month
The COVID-19 virus has taken a lot away from how we experienced the world in the past, so there is much to grieve. And grief is heavy. It can make us feel like we are walking in quicksand or moving through molasses. Our thoughts lost in a thick fog. It takes time to navigate all the emotions that present themselves and sort through the thoughts that grow from the uncertainty.
So to help us all move through the collective conscious grief the world is currently experiencing, I thought it was important to honor National Mental Health Month by looking for the silver linings Mother Earth is calling on us to see at this time. After destruction, comes construction. After the rain, comes the sun and rainbow. After the dark night, comes the light of day.
So, take a moment to consider the following intention-setting ideas being offered to us by Mother Earth to honor the silver linings that may define our new normal moving forward:
- Better public health hygiene. Consider the benefits of the international attention given to the proper way to wash your hands. This ongoing world campaign has raised the collective consciousness to a new level. Back in 2008, October 15th was designated Global Handwashing Day to raise awareness that washing our hands with soap is a key factor in disease prevention, specifically to reduce respiratory and intestinal diseases by 25-50%. With the heightened level of fear currently, perhaps we are taking this advice more seriously and will continue the practice of frequent, proper hand washing or using the hand sanitizers that are being installed in more public spaces.
- Healthier greeting rituals. Do you know the history of the handshake as a greeting? Perhaps take a moment to do a little research on it. From there, consider how you might want to begin your own ritual for greeting someone you meet for the first time without physical contact to reduce the spreading of germs. I personally always struggled with hand shaking, especially when I had to be taught how to do it right! I much prefer to use Namaste, the age-old traditional greeting in India. Namaste simply invites the palms together at the heart center with the thumbs close to or touching your heart center (aka Anjali mudra) as you tilt your head forward and say ‘Namaste’. Perhaps you might prefer the traditional Japanese greeting of bowing. Either option will allow us to maintain the physical distance recommended while also demonstrating through our body language that we honor the connection to others.
- Respecting Mother Earth. Someone shared something with me recently that moved me deeply. I was reminded that the trees are the earth’s lungs, as they inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen (aka photosynthesis) for us to breathe. With the increased worldwide number and severity of fires we experienced last year, we burned Mother Earth’s lungs. So is it really so surprising that she would push back with a respiratory disease that brings us high fevers and shortness of breath? She is crying out for our collective attention and respect. And when we could not figure out ourselves how to work together to reduce climate change, she created a situation that no country could ignore and forced our hands to join forces. With the drastic reduction in cars on the roads, airplanes in the sky, and boats on the water, look how she is rewarding us with cleaner air and clearer water. And, although these observations will be temporary, might they be drastic enough to support major infrastructure and/or societal changes to support Mother Earth’s intention to help us thrive? Might we all agree to set this as a collective intention?.
- Working from home. The benefits are many, running the gamut from more individual flexibility to less traffic on the roads. As we have seen through this crisis, we are finding news way of doing our jobs remotely. There has been a significant reduction in severe car accidents, so much so many car insurance companies are giving people refunds. Might companies embrace letting (us) introverts remain working from home on a permanent basis? If this became the new normal, we would reduce all costs associated with onsite work by somewhere between 25-50% (the guestimate of the number of introverts), such as the wear-and-tear on our roads, pollution (both air and noise) office space, gas, and car repairs, none-the-less the boost in our mental and emotional health from eliminated time stuck in traffic and away from our families. Productivity and job satisfaction has been shown to increase in an environment that supports less distractions and sick time is reduced. And, oh by the way, less people in the office means less sick people in the office which equals less spreading of germs! What do we really have to lose?!
- Back to Basics. This time has challenged all of us to really reflect on what we will end up missing in our lives by being forced to pause for longer than a moment. It brings to mind the mantra, less is more. It provides each of us an opportunity to create a new baseline measurement of what we sense feeds our souls versus simply filling our lives with distractions. As we are finding ourselves getting back to the basics of what is needed for good physical health, including regular sleep, conscious eating and daily exercise, we can give ourselves permission to decide for ourselves what truly nourishes our mental, emotional and spiritual health, Doing less and being more supports Mother Earth, reduces our stress, invites peace of mind, and supports a deeper connection with ourselves and others. When we can learn to simplify our lives, living with less and loving the freedom it brings, we can truly understand that less is more!
As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!