Admittedly, the last few weeks have taken a huge toll on my mental health. I know I’m not alone. I’ve been seeking out mindfulness techniques in order to calm myself, adapt, and make it through the day. I recently shared my self-care shopping list, and journaling was something I shared that has been resonating with me while I try to cope. In the midst of all of this uncertainty, I’ve been researching other techniques that can help me with my emotional wellness. Today, I stumbled upon the acronym, R.A.I.N. and thought it could be helpful to others. It was created decades ago by Michele McDonald and brought to my attention by author and mindfulness expert Julie Potiker.
Avoid Panic, Calm Coronavirus Stress with Mindfulness
Julie says that “Mindfulness is an opportunity for recognizing when you are feeling fear and overwhelm, then soothing yourself to move back into balance. It’s like riding the waves.”
R = Recognize your feeling and name it (i.e., “I’m feeling frustrated. I feel upset. I feel scared. I feel angry.”).
A = Allow your feeling to be there without judging it.
I = Investigate gently with curiosity why this feeling is there.
N = Nourish yourself. What do you need give yourself or hear or do right now to make yourself feel better?
“Stepping back for a moment from what you’re feeling to observe it instead of being stuck in it can help you get through even the most stressful moments,” Julie says.
BONUS: Change the channel by popping in a positive mental state from a memory. Really feel that goodness for a breath or two to transform it from a mental state to a neural trait. “Rewire your brain for more happiness and resilience,” says Julie.
My Mindfulness Experience
Funny enough, it actually has been raining a lot lately (the storm, not the acronym), which has made it hard to get out and move. Most of the time lately, I have been coasting through the day feeling slightly groggy and stuck with very little motivation. Yesterday, I decided to get out and move my body. I took one of my kids with me, put in some AirPods and got moving. We ran on some trails and lasted for almost an hour.
Here is the thought process I’ve been working through, using R.A.I.N.
R- Recognize your feeling and name it: I’m feeling uncertain of the future. I’m feeling scared of getting sick. I’m feeling nervous I will not get to see my family or friends for a long time. I’m feeling concerned about when/if school will start up anytime in the future. I’m feeling unsure about the future of our family’s employment.
A- Allow your feelings to be there without judging them: Being gentle with myself is something I need to work on. I visualized myself as one of my kids and I visualized me as the parent hugging my childhood self and saying everything is going to be ok. I know that’s kind of abstract but I really need a hug from an adultier adult than I am, and that’s about the best social distancing will allow me right now.
I- Investigate why the feeling is there: I’ve been tuning in to the news a lot lately. I’ve been on social media and noticing that many people are being careful practicing social distancing and many are not. I’m focusing on what other people are doing or not doing, instead of turning my thoughts on what I am doing. It might be time to set some limits on checking the news channels for a while.
N-Nourish yourself, and ask what you need to hear or do to make yourself feel better: Getting some fresh air and a run/walk felt so good for my soul. I have not been focusing on my physical health during this time and putting it as a priority feels good. After months of meaning to replace my Apple Watch charger, I finally did it, and was able to get my watch going to track my exercise. I was also able to set a great example for my daughter and get to connect with her over burning some calories. I felt really accomplished doing something healthy for myself, however small, and now I plan to track my fitness level in the upcoming weeks. I also just needed the (mental) hug and that felt really nice.
I’ve been enjoying tuning into my emotional wellness more often lately. From focusing on pandemic self-care with my kids, to wearing my functional fragrance to calm my emotions, to reading books for enjoyment more often, it all does my soul good. I would love to hear your tips on what you are doing to support your emotional wellbeing.
If you’re interested a mindfulness journey, here are some of my favorite resources right now:
How are you staying calm in the midst of chaos? I’d love to hear what techniques you’re using and/or how you are staying busy and out of your own head! Share in the comments if you have an idea for me to try!