Self Care is More Important Now than Ever Before ~ Grounding Ideas for Lockdown

For those of us who can, it’s so important that we stay home as much as we can and, of course, while some people have plans to continue self isolating long after this is all in the past, many of us are looking forward to reconnecting in person.

By doing all we can to manage our own mental and physical health, we can better care for our loved ones, our communities and even the world at large.

Some of my self care ideas for managing Covid anxiety have appeared in the Guardian and London’s Evening Standard magazine, ES and BACP’s blog

In each interview, I mentioned grounding and I thought I’d share more about what that means here.

In a nutshell, it’s a simple tool that helps with everything from trauma to stress, anxiety and simply LIVING.

Grounding is very important in crystal therapy You might think about it in terms of the way we can bend our knees to go lower before then having more power and height when jumping up.

Grounding is also an important element of yoga therapy and it’s essential as a trauma therapist

I included dozens of grounding tools in 365 Ways to Feel Better: Self-care Ideas for Embodied Wellbeing because it’s so essential to helping us regulate (aka feel better).

The deeper and stronger a tree’s roots, the higher it can grow.

When things are uncertain, it’s even more important – and more challenging – to find those grounding footholds on life’s shifting sands and reflect on each next best step even when not feeling that stable earth below us.

In some ways, I’m realising how lucky I am not only to have moved my practice online when I prepared to move to Ireland and to live in such a gorgeous part of the world but because I spent two years with very little idea of what was happening, timeframe wise and I had to go deeper with all the self care tools to support myself through all of that uncertainty.

It’s a year to the day since I was packing up my Essex flat, about to get three hours’ sleep and drive (well, be driven by my very kind brother) 17.5 hours with Rainbow MagnifiCat to the first of our Irish landing spots – a B&B with a pet friendly room.

A week later, I moved into a more secure base but I don’t think I’ll ever be as isolated as I was those first ten days in my rural rental studio without internet or phone signal and it being too far to cycle into town as often as I’d intended.

In comparison to where I was a year ago, the Irish lockdown is a dream.

This isn’t to say I’m not having my wobbles and missing people (or that, even when things were challenging when I first moved, I ever forgot how LUCKY I was to be in such a beautiful, welcoming place).

Lockdown offers a chance to reconnect with simple, grounding pleasures.

Here are some of the things that have been helping me in the past couple of years and especially last year.

As with everything, the more we practice when we’re OK, the more likely we are to remember the tools when in real need of them.

  1. Let yourself feel whatever it is you’re feeling – Personally, my feelings are changing a lot so journalling is helping a lot as well as simply giving myself permission to be a human as well as being a therapeutic coach etc
  2. Ground yourself in the present moment – So much has changed these last few weeks, it can be easy to catastrophise. What is true for you right now, right here? What are you telling yourself about a future none of us can predict? Mindfulness can be enormously helpful here
  3. Use the self care tools that help you regulate as often as you need them. I’m allowing myself longer meditations (my concentration, when not actually in session, isn’t great so it takes me longer at the moment) and more time on the yoga mat. One day this week, I did my morning EFT before even sitting up in bed. There’s a lot to process so use ALL the tools that help you do so
  4. Get out in nature as much as you can – again, I’m extremely fortunate to be immersed in spring in my new home country. I had a lamb in my back field this morning. As if I wasn’t already overdosing on cuteness with them being next door. I have mountain and sea views and even the site of crows fills me with awe. Which, of course, is good for my health
  5. Spend time nourishing something or someone ~ You might have kids. I have Rainbow MagnifiCat and the patch of earth I’m caretaker for. I’m seeing some of what I planted in the autumn beginning to show signs of life. And I still can’t believe I planted 8 trees this week. That’s 21 since my tree planting party in September. I can’t think of anything more hopeful than the prospect of new life and growth
  6. Use virtual communities to stay connected ~ I’m doing my best to share videos and pics from the countryside on my social media to help you connect with the magic of nature too
  7. Make your home a delightful place to STAY HOME ~ my post the other week was overambitious (I still have my online clients and supervisees) but, when you feel up to it, tackle small areas of your home that you’ve been putting off
  8. Housework, gardening and DIY ~ it can be really grounding to batch cook. I baked my first ever vegan banana bread this week and feel like I’ve learned a magic trick. Am also reading (two pages at a time – out of my comfort zone) the delightful Gaff Goddess by Laura de Barra. I recommend this for men who aren’t DIY naturals, too. Her relaxed descriptions are making me feel like I can actually LEARN this stuff. And even thinking that feels quite grounding
  9. REST ~ earlier in the week, I realised that I needed to take everything that was possible to take off my plate off my plate. I didn’t need to reschedule clients and supervisees (pandemic or no pandemic, I always allow myself enough space between sessions and don’t overbook myself in that regard) but during times I wasn’t working, I let myself hide under the duvet with Rainbow on my belly. Again, this is something I started doing last spring when Rainbow spent so much time, reacclimatising to her new life by hiding under the duvet, I started joining her. Sometimes I’d nap but a lot of the time, I’d simply curl up and check in with the breath, notice how I was feeling, let myself cry if need be (sharing this isn’t to alarm anyone. Crying – like laughing and shaking – is a natural release. The more we feel what we might have learned to suppress growing up, the more we can also feel ‘positive’ emotions like joy and hope) and just REST
  10. Trust and surrender ~ I got a small tattoo a decade ago to remind myself to trust and surrender. There’s so much in the world that I have no control over! (I know! Outrageous!) Remembering this and focusing on the elements I can influence is enormously helpful. Each morning, as part of my yoga, before going into Tree Pose or Mountain, I connect with whatever worries I’m holding and imagine releasing them into the ground, through imaginary roots below my feet and ask that Divine Love (God/dess / the Universe etc) is handling it all better than I can even dream of and that all is in Divine Order – whether or not this is the case, it is a soothing thing to believe and when I let go of the stresses, I’m more resourceful.

So these are some ideas which I hope will help you find your own ways of grounding and staying as well as possible.

You can access a range of self care resources for Covid anxiety etc HERE

And if you’d like to work with me, you can find out how HERE

Get / stay / be well. And stay HOME 🙂

With love,

Eve Menezes Cunningham self care coach therapist supervisor

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