By Sarah Kruse
While we may have varying opinions about what’s going on around us or how to address it, what we do have in common is that we are all connected by this collective experience. The truth is, we have always been connected and always will be connected. Like so many wise ones have spoken: We Are One.
During these days and weeks of social distancing, many of us are finding connection in unexpected ways. Maybe you have gotten back in touch with a dear friend, pulled that old guitar out of the closet and strummed a soothing melody, or maybe you have returned to or begun a meditation practice and connected inward.
What about social and physical connection?
We are being asked not to touch or hug each other or receive non-essential massage and bodywork. Parties, concerts and sporting events have temporarily ceased. Group educational programs are paused. We miss each other, right?
How about generating some oxytocin without the social interaction that we’re used to? Oxytocin is the feel-good peptide hormone that plays a role in social bonding, falling in love, sexual activity and childbirth. When oxytocin is flowing in the body, we feel happy, connected, relaxed and often blissful. Oxytocin literally replaces stress with bliss. It’s so sweet.
What can we do to boost oxytocin and feel that happy feeling of connection if we are mostly alone and feeling isolated? Activities that boost oxytocin, include cuddling, petting an animal, hugging a tree, receiving massage, doing self massage, exercise, orgasm, laughter, positive thinking and serving others. All of these activities increase that sweet, warm feeling of love and positively boost the immune system!
If there was ever a time to turn toward yourself and commit to self care practices, it is now. Ayurveda, the ancient medical tradition from India, repeatedly informs us that self-care is a primary cornerstone of optimal health. Self-Care = Self-Love.
Some of the most nurturing self-care practices we can bring in to increase love and connection are:
- Self massage with warm oil – enjoy this ritual often, head to toe, before bathing.
- Eat seasonal homemade meals, made with love, for your Ayurvedic constitution.
- Try to eat meals around the same time each day. This can be tricky when you have a flexible schedule, but I promise you – your digestion, energy, mood and sleep will all improve when you do this simple thing.
- Prioritize getting enough sleep. Proper sleep is essential to feeling good.
- Get outside everyday, move your body and breathe deeply. Notice the wonder and beauty of Nature.
- Connect regularly with someone you trust to share your feelings and emotions. Listening to each other is very healing and heartwarming.
- Meditation – take time away from electronics to sit quietly and listen to your inner wisdom and the wisdom of the eternal source. In this space, you can awaken to your innate healing capacity.
- Tap into your creative energy that may have been lying dormant, waiting to be rekindled. Is there a poem waiting to emerge, a song to sing, or a painting to create?
- Reach out and offer help to someone in need. This might look like dropping off a prepared meal or running an errand for a friend or neighbor.
We are living in incredible times, requiring incredible resilience. Part of remaining resilient is maintaining self-care and doing things that feel good. I invite you to choose one new practice today then add others as you are inspired. When you focus on taking time to care for yourself in these ways, everyone around you benefits.
So, we arrive at the same message…. We Are One. It is by knowing this in our hearts that we can dissolve any barriers blocking us from seeing, loving and having compassion for each other. Connection with ourselves, each other and nature is the way to get through these times we’re in.
And…..Love is always the answer.