How are you feeling as this second lockdown comes to an end? What about the coming winter? Let’s try and restore some balance to your life with mindful reflections, listening to your body and nourishing your soul. Alexander Gray, from our new low-cost clinic, identifies some qualities to harness from the four elements – Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
Air – gives you perspective and guidance.
Through being alert, knowledgeable and wise we can see the bigger picture. Try not to get sucked into negative storylines in the media, or believe everything you read/see on social media. Listen to your heart for intuition that feels right to you and discuss with your friends and family to see how it fits.
Air requires time and space. Can you safely practice your religion, looking for a sacred guiding force? Perhaps meditation is more your thing, some alone time to reset your mind. The following breathing technique is quick, easy and restorative and can be done anywhere/anytime. Use it before an interview, on public transport or calming down for bed.
- Lie or sit down and get comfortable, keeping your back straight.
- Breathe evenly and slowly. Close your eyes.
- Breathe deeply in through your nose, exhale through your nose. Repeat this four times.
- Breathe deeply in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this four times.
- Breathe deeply in through your mouth and exhale through your nose. Repeat this four times.
- Breathe deeply in through your mouth and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this four times.
- Stay relaxed and bring your breathing back to normal. When you’re ready – and if you’re not nodding off at bedtime – open your eyes
You can vary this technique by increasing the number of inhale and exhales you take at each stage. Which pattern feels right and achieves balance? Breath-work is something that can be explored and worked on, with a therapist.
Fire – brings you direction and power.
Being bold and taking the initiative will help you to preserver and achieve the goals that Air has inspired you to see more clearly. Be honest with yourself and others so your expectations are clear and can be fulfilled. Congruence and optimism will help manifest your dreams allowing you to live your life successfully – being true to the real you.
How do you energise yourself? Perhaps you need someone else to help you. Do something joyful such as playing like a kid. Get in shape by running around your local park or joining an online dance class. What can you do to shift the blood and lymph in your body? Keeping physically fit will make you mentally stronger and boost your immunity at a time when we all need support.
Water – flows with creativity and emotion.
During lockdown and the darkness of the winter months, you may struggle to feel sociable and affectionate so work on self-compassion, being adaptable and soothing. An appreciation of inner beauty and subtleness of feeling will help you to be generous to your family, friends and lovers. This is a time to be harmonious, nurturing and sensual.
Begin this positive flow by exploring and nurturing your creative side. Draw, paint, sculpt, start a journal or write some poetry. Create something that lets your soul do the talking. Literally get in the water, go wild swimming, dance in the rain or soak in the bath. Find a way to acknowledge your feelings and emotions, good and bad, let your creative juices flow.
Earth – holds boundaries and will.
Being overly emotional (water), energetic (fire) or ethereal (air) can create an imbalance which may not be contained. Earth qualities are discipline, resilience, authenticity, forgiveness and patience. Earth can ground your will from a place of stability, rather than restriction. Lockdown challenges our limitations and distorts our will.
Earth requires presence. You can learn to live in the here and now, without regretting the past or worrying about the future. Be mindful that you can only master what is going on around you today – so be cautious, responsible and accepting, but within your own capacities. Walk barefoot on the grass, secure your finances, find time for your family and enjoy a balanced, healthy diet.
Achieving balance – supporting you
Hopefully you have found some of these suggestions useful. Reduce some of the excess in your life and build up some of the weaknesses to boost your wellness. If you would like to go deeper into these themes in therapy, either with a short-term goal in mind or a more long-term approach do please get in touch.
Alexander Gray is a psychotherapist in training offering low-cost psychotherapy at our Balham clinic. Contact Us to find out more.