At long last, summertime is finally here!
Summer has always been a time of liveliness, activity, fun, and enjoyment. As kids, that’s when we got summer holidays, ushering in long days of playing outside, later bedtimes, and family holidays. Ah, the good old days, right?
This summer feels different though.
Although the weather is beautiful here in Upper Austria, and there are invites to different events, I’m feeling mixed emotions about getting back out there with people again. On one hand, I’m very ready to enjoy being back together with people and doing things. On the other hand, being social seems like a lot to deal with mentally and emotionally. For the past year plus, we’ve been socially distancing, and as a consequence, I feel like I don’t know how to act in social situations anymore! Some might say that I never did in the first place, like those who had the privilege to see me streak naked through my high school senior prom. Butt I digress…
The bottom (ok I’ll stop now) line is that as summer comes into full swing, I feel these occasional waves of ungroundedness and social anxiety. I think some of you are feeling that way too. Getting fully back out into society after this time away is reminiscent of riding a bike after not having ridden one for a while. It’s kind of awkward and wobbly, and I find myself unconfident, faltering, and looking down more than at what’s in front of me.
This isn’t a sad story though, it’s quite the opposite actually. I’m not crippled by my fears and insecurities like I used to be. Although I feel these emotions deeply, I’m able to stay level and grounded, not overwhelmed by them. The key elements for me to skillfully process my emotions are to recognize:
- How I currently feel
- How I would prefer to feel, and
- The steps I need to take to get there.
In that spirit, I want to share three tools that help keep me grounded during times like these.
They’re not groundbreaking, rather they’re simple reminders on how to stay centered when things get turbulent.
- Stay consistent in your yoga and meditation practice. I can’t emphasize this enough! My practice is a place where I can mindfully observe my physical, mental, and emotional reactions to what’s going on inside of me, and regulate my responses. Acting from emotional clarity nearly always produces a better result than acting from a place of emotional instability. My practice teaches me to observe feelings, and let them pass through without getting attached to them.
- Develop and observe rituals and routine. This doesn’t have to be some form of discipline, I like to think of it as a way to build comforting reliability in an ever changing world. It could be as simple as taking time each morning to have a cup of tea in peace, or making your bed each morning so you have a nice neat space. A little bit of routine and a few rituals go a long way to soothe anxiety and ground us.
- Breathe deep. No matter what the situation is, you can always take a deep breath. Close your eyes and feel your breath traveling through your body. This is like a totem for me that brings me back into a feeling of groundedness. I use this technique before teaching a class, when I don’t understand what’s being said around me, or even during tense discussions!
There are so many more ways to stay grounded, these are just my go-to everyday moves. I hope they are helpful for you when you’re feeling like I do sometimes. Here’s a slightly longer blog from Stamford Health on more ways to stay grounded in uncertain times.
That’s all for today, thanks for reading! I wish you all a wonderful start to your summer. I’ll be enjoying mine in a myriad of ways, both socially and solo, including hosting a weekend retreat with Lisa the last weekend of July here in Austria. If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll send details. All love to all of you, and remember to take time to slow down, listen to your heart, and be easy on yourself as you go back out into the world.
With a big hug,