Are You Remembering to Breathe?
Dear Friend of WV Rivers,
Election day is over (whew!), but now begins election week…(or weeks? A month? Months?!). There will be time to discuss the results and how they impact the waters of West Virginia, but most importantly in this moment, we want to check on you. Are you doing OK?
The anxiety we’re all feeling takes a toll on our bodies and minds. It takes a toll on who we are, and how we feel about each other. With all the emotions we’re feeling, mundane tasks like grocery shopping or checking email become insurmountable. In more ways than one, 2020 has made it hard to breathe.
Yesterday, during a virtual staff meeting, we found ourselves reflecting on a recent breathing and mindfulness exercise we participated in during a socially-distanced staff retreat at Babcock State Park. Lately, we’ve all found ourselves turning to the strategies we learned to find a little calm and catch our collective breath.
We wanted to share a couple tips to help you regain control (of your breath at least!) if you are feeling anxious.
- Go outside. You don’t have to go far. From state parks and forests to local hiking trails to your own backyard, anywhere you can feel the breeze, hear the birds, and see the sun.
- Get grounded. This step is literal. Take off your shoes and socks and let your feet touch the ground. Think about it – how often do you ever truly feel the soft grass or crinkle a fallen leaf or dig through loose soil? Let those toes fly!
- Breathe in, breathe out… Once you’re in a comfortable position – sitting, standing, wherever you feel relaxed – inhale slowly through your nose, fill your belly (you read that right) up with air, and then slowly exhale through your nose or mouth. Continue breathing this way until you feel calm, peaceful, and ready to go on with your day.