Meditation & Mindfulness while Sick

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.

Blessings,
Irisa

How to Listen to Yourself

Listening by Rumi

What is the deep listening? Sama is a greeting from the secret ones inside the heart, a letter. The branches of your intelligence grow new leaves in the wind of this listening. The body reaches a peace. Rooster sound comes, reminding you of your love for dawn. The reed flute and the singer’s lips: the knack of how spirit breathes into us becomes as simple and ordinary as eating and drinking. The dead rise with the pleasure of listening. If someone can’t hear a trumpet melody, sprinkle dirt on his head and declare him dead. Listen, and feel the beauty of your separation, the unsayable absence. There’s a moon inside every human being. Learn to be companions with it. Give more of your life to this listening. As brightness is to time, so you are to the one who talks to the deep ear in your chest. I should sell my tongue and buy a thousand ears when that one steps near and begins to speak.

~Rumi

Meditation can be a form of listening to ourselves. When we become aware of our busyness and our stillness we perceive ourselves and our place in the world differently. This is the place we learn what troubles us, brings us joy and the place we are dwelling. Knowing where our thoughts dwell is vital to our state of mindful living. If we do not know where our thoughts dwell, we do not know where we are expending our energy. What we most focus on is what we create.

Begin by listening to your breathe. After you have settled into your breathe and been its companion for a time; you will know that you have come to this point when just sitting and breathing is a simple joy that you look forward to, extend your listening to your body. Listen to what your body is saying through pain, tightness, uncomfortable feelings, loose feelings. Start at the top of your head and check in with each part of your body. Simply listen to what your body tells you. Once you feel you have heard your body, ask it what it needs. Are you lacking water, rest, movement, different foods, more of this?

The next step to listening is to check in with yourself or your spirit. Ask if there is anything your spirit would like to say to you. This mindful listening lets your whole self communicate. Those subconscious observations, thoughts, and feelings have an opportunity to surface. Intuition and insight have room to be heard.

After your have listened to your body, mind, and spirit you will once again focus on listening to the world around you. We rush about our days so much that we lose connection to where we are. Close your eyes and use your senses to observe the place you find yourself. Connect with the environment around you. What do you hear? smell? feel? Lastly, what do you see?

Come back to the present by taking three slow deep breathes. Then thank your body, mind, and spirit for the time spent together. Now is a good time to do something soothing and grounding such as: journal, yoga, tend to a living creature, garden, pray, or drink water. Do something for the next five minutes that deepens your connection to this moment and grounds you back into your body and your surroundings.

Deepen the connection within and you deepen your world,
Irisa