Recently, I had a dream. The ground had fallen away in my garden, exposing the roots of plants and shrubs, and if that wasn’t bad enough, somebody had moved the fence reducing my garden to a fraction of its former size. It is an easy one to translate, given the fear and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. On a day to day basis, I think I am fine coping with the changes to my life, and I am taking good care of myself and loved ones. My dream tells me otherwise. This is a challenging time for all of us, and we need now more than ever to practice feeling grounded.
In the UK we have just heard that we are to have another full-scale lockdown, following other countries such as France. Although this is not a complete surprise, I understand fully the fatigue and distress this will cause for many people. It is as though we have been running a marathon and just as we think the finishing line is in sight we find out we have miles yet to run.
Everybody’s situation is different. You may be afraid about your future income and paying the mortgage or whether your business will survive. A health professional working at the frontline exhausted from treating patients in the first wave and facing an even harder winter. A single person living alone without the company of work colleagues and friends, concerned for your mental health. Or separated from a loved one who is in a care home wondering whether you will ever see them again. It is tough. It is painful and it is frightening.
The turmoil created by uncertainty and fear makes us unsteady. We find it hard to concentrate, sleep badly, feel panicked, and anxious. I get migraines and eczema, my body’s way of telling me that there is an imbalance in my body that needs attention. This is what it means to feel ungrounded.
To be grounded is to feel connected with your body and/or the earth. It is about being fully present. To have a clear and calm mind. It is difficult at this time, but essential if we are to take care of ourselves and our future. When we have a clear mind, we are more receptive to ideas and opportunities. We are better able to plan and to take control of the things we can influence.
There are practical things that we can do to feel more grounded.
- Go for a walk where you can get close to nature. I love to walk in the woods. The smell of leaf mould, rich dark earth soft beneath my feet, and ancient trees, it is a great way to feel connected to the earth and forget for a while about any worries. If you live in an urban area, any green space can offer similar benefits.
- Try mindfulness meditation. If this is new to you the HeadSpace app is a good place to start. You can find a 7 day free trial at www.headspace.com The meditations last no longer than ten minutes. With practice, you can learn to still your mind. Even if it is just for one minute, you will start to feel the benefit of regular practice. When I was new to meditation I would find ten minutes each day, even if it meant sitting in my car when I had a short break at work or listening on the train. My blog on Meditation Challenge Part one explains how learning to meditate helped me to feel grounded when experiencing a challenging time in my life.
- Exercise. Something that focuses you on your body and stops your mind from wandering. For me this is yoga. There are yoga classes for being grounded on YouTube. Try Yoga with Adrienne. If you don’t enjoy yoga then dancing, Pilates, running, swimming – anything that helps you switch off your thoughts and connect with your body.
- Relaxation – using a guided visualisation or listening to calming music. Try to focus inward and ask yourself what you want and need. Then honour yourself with kindness. If you need more sleep, get an early night. Try and reduce the pressure on yourself. In my blog Restore and renew your creative spirit, I suggest how you can enjoy a spa day at home.
To feel grounded, we need a solid foundation. I imagine myself as a tree. My roots go deep into the earth, holding me firm, and my branches reach up, the leaves absorbing energy from the sun. I am strong. I am grounded. This is my mantra and affirmation.
When you feel fatigued and overwhelmed, try thinking about it this way: The experience is making you stronger and more resilient. As you learn how to still your mind and draw on your inner resources you are growing as a person. You are becoming a warrior and will be better equipped to face future challenges.
A mind in turmoil is of little use but a calm mind will help you to spot new opportunities and solutions to problems. Control the things that you can by focusing on what needs to be done, and let go of the things you have no control over.
As this blog is about the inner journey of the creative I will use an example from the writer’s life. You can write and publish a novel to the very best of your ability using all the resources and expertise available to you, but you cannot control who buys your book or what the reviews say. Sure, you can spend time and money on marketing your book but that is all. Despite this, all writers angst about sales and reviews. It can make a writer feel panicked and anxious – sure signs of being ungrounded. Comparing yourself to others – feeling inferior or superior, are signs of being unconnected to your body and true self. Stay grounded. Be consciously present. Focus on the things you can control and let go of those you cannot.
I hope that this helps you to find ways to stay grounded. Keep safe and be kind to yourself.