Everywhere you look there are reminders of how much the world has changed this year. Hand sanitizer has become the hottest of commodities, following arrows on the ground is the new hopscotch, and matching your mask to your outfit is now a part of your morning routine. The streets are lined with boarded up shops, you spend as much time disinfecting your groceries as you do buying them, and the last time you hugged somebody outside of your household was 1992. Not to mention, updates on the news and radio are playing on a constant loop. It’s almost impossible not to obsess over COVID-19 when, no matter where you are or what you are doing, it is somehow present.
These reminders make it so easy to lose focus on the task at hand, and fixate on the pandemic instead. Not just obsessing over the virus itself, but on the things you miss, on the old life that you’re now grieving, the lack of normalcy in your day-to-day life, and the changes you will have to make in the future.
I apologize for the sad, dark beginning to this post, but now that I have you all worked up (or down, perhaps), take a couple of deep breaths in and out. Place all of your focus on your breath; on the air that is filling your lungs. Feel more relaxed? That is an example of mindfulness – the practice of being fully aware of your current thoughts, emotions and sensations, and doing so without judgment.
Practicing mindfulness is a great way to take a break from overthinking, and refocus your attention on the present moment. To take a minute to regain your footing and clear your mind so you can drop those anxious, distracting thoughts and redirect your focus where it’s needed.
Some use it as a way to improve focus at work, while others may use it as a tool to develop patience and resolve. It is also a great mechanism to reduce stress and anxiety, and clear your mind before bed to encourage a sound sleep!
While I myself have found mindfulness meditation extremely helpful in managing both stress and sleep, I am no expert in the field. Luckily for you, there are many authors and instructors who are! If you’re looking for a way to increase your focus, reduce anxiety and improve the quality of your sleep, visit the WPL today. There are various books and resources online, and in print, audiobook and DVD formats, as well as free online courses offered through Gale and Lynda!
Take a deep breath and refocus your attention on the now!
— Madison P.