Hello My Friends!
The last several days I have found myself relying heavily upon my meditation practice as I navigate three sick children under the age of ten. Joining lack of sleep has been our friends cranky, whining, and extra tears. Breathe meditations and mindfulness have helped me be more patient and present for everyone’s care right until I woke up sick and congested.
As I was moving around and realizing just how awful I felt in my body, I also noticed my mood. It sucked. I was grumpy and did not want to be a caretaker today. Beginning to breathe in to do a 10 breathe meditation I felt my inability to breathe through my nose happen and recognized this wasn’t going to work … now what?
Meditation while sick is helpful for your mood and your body. “When you can get into that quieter state of mind through meditation, your body isn’t releasing stress hormones into the bloodstream,” Jane Ehrman, Cleveland Clinic for Integrative Medicine.
I thought of doing some guided meditation and then realized I had the focus of a kitten following a laser pointer. So, I needed short focal points to help me relax and be mindful. I didn’t want to be snapping at my kids because I was feeling crappy.
One of my favorite methods to shift my mood is water. Off to the showers it was. As I let the lava hot waters rain over me, I visualized the dark ick rinsing off me and down the drain. When I began to feel lighter I visualized bright healthy healing waters running over my body strengthening me. As I worked on my mental state the steam and heat did wonders for me physical state. Out of the showers, I put on comfy clothes and made my way to the kitchen.
Back to water. I got a cold glass of water to rehydrate me and put a kettle on to make soothing tea. Each time I have been stressed or thirsty; I pause for a moment and ask my body hot or cold? tea or water? Then I answer the call by getting the requested water and focusing on the act of drinking for 10 sips. These moments help ground me in my body, environment, and mind.
Being grounded in yourself and environment is helpful when the cytokines affect the part of your brain that deals with emotions and reason. I find it helpful to be honest about any moodiness that I may be experiencing while ill. Expressing myself to those around me keeps any situation from escalating.
For example, I made it clear to my kids that I was aware I was grumpy and had less patience than normal because I didn’t feel well. I also made it clear that this was not their fault or their responsibility, but that I know I am struggling today and will do my best to not take my emotional state out on anyone around me. If they do find that I am taking things out on others they can can let me know that I may not be acting in loving kindness. We all need gentle reminders. Also, it let’s the small people in my life know that everyone is human.
Self awareness combined with self honesty are important to add into your mindfulness practice. Being aware of a situation, behavior and emotions of yourself and others does you no good if you cannot be real with yourself. Until you are willing to be real with yourself, you cannot be real with others.
If you feel sick you don’t have to let that derail your practice, but you may want to try alternative methods of meditation or mindfulness:
- Breathe meditation
- Guided meditation
- Sensory activities
- Mindful moments with water or tea
- Mindful body check-ins
- Focus Meditation on a plant, clouds, candle, etc
Mindfulness and meditation don’t need to stop because you are sick, but they may need to adjust to fit your physical, mental, or emotional state. Use this time to adapt your practice, be self aware and heal. Don’t push through what you always do just because it is habit. Don’t be a superhero and not rest. Adapt. Listen to your mind, body, and spirit. Take the time to heal and be the best you that you can.