The inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the US has woken many people up. That’s good thing. Many Americans and others have spent too many years not paying attention to what’s going on in the world, despite important issues that leave the planet hanging in a precarious balance.
But now we’re awake. We’re paying attention. We’re watching. And we’re holding our collective breath waiting to see what’s going to happen next.
And that’s the problem. When we’re anxiously checking the news every hour, or obsessively scrolling through social media, we aren’t giving ourselves the opportunity to let go, to downshift, to exhale.
Our nervous systems are on constant alert. This is simply not sustainable. Life is a marathon, not a sprint, but we’re in sprint mode right now. Self-care falls by the wayside. Stress levels rise. We’re waiting for the next ax to fall.
So what’s the answer? I’m not advocating unplugging, because we need to know and understand what’s going on. Changes are happening quickly, and it feels like we don’t get a moment to take a breath.
First order of business: Exhale. Then inhale. Then exhale again. And continue. Slowly.
Second, commit to a daily routine of self-care. Three minutes of meditation every day can change your life. Do it longer if you have time. Add in a full home yoga practice when possible. Make the time—wake up 15 minutes earlier, do it before bed, close your office door at lunch and take a meditation moment. Find a routine and stick with it.
Third, commit to group activities. Community is more important now than ever. Connect with others, and yoga is a great way to do that. Not feeling the yoga right now? Find community in other venues: take a painting class, join a book club, do something on a regular basis with other people.
Fourth, get out of your comfort zone. This isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. Figure out what makes you uncomfortable and begin to challenge it. Find diversity. Have conversations with people who don’t look or sound like you. Expand your horizons, both physically and mentally. Not sure where to start? A window into your discomfort may come up during your meditation or during conversations with other people. Notice, reach out, and proceed.
I can’t promise these coming weeks, months or years will be easy. We’ve got a lot of work to do. Stay strong, keep up, and remember: Exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
Julie Eisenberg (Jiwan Shakti Kaur) is owner and director of Lighthouse Yoga Center.
Want to learn specific breathing techniques to reduce stress and balance your nervous system? Join us for Kundalini Yoga and Meditation at Lighthouse Yoga Center.