Wellbeing in a Quarantine World
Wellbeing amidst a pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC) “Wellbeing is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well.”
As we transition into our 5th month of quarantine due to Covid-19, a greater lens has been laid onto the situation of people’s wellbeing. Not only is there a crisis regarding healthcare, but these events have shed light on the fragility of our systems on housing and employment bringing more stress to the turmoil. Many people are forced to continue working to pay expenses for necessities especially if they have a family. Although some enjoy the privilege of working from home, the fear of public crowded spaces often discourages many to even leave their households.
Much time has passed since we all transitioned into the world we live in currently and although circumstances are not as progressive as we could have imagined for our country many people have taken upon themselves to focus on improving their wellbeing through mindfulness.
By definition mindfulness is the psychological process of purposely bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgment, which one develops through the practice of meditation and other trainings.
During this lockdown I find myself on my tech devices more and more to the point where it took away time that I could have been investing into other pursuits.
With the state of the world, anyone’s mind would run rampant amidst a time of quarantine causing anxiety for one’s wellbeing to rise. Practicing mindfulness isn’t just believing the term to be true, but applying mindfulness techniques/behaviors to the various dilemmas of life whether that be from the sanctity of your bedroom or a spot you found at a park outdoors.
Here are some mindfulness exercises you can practice during the coronavirus lockdown as taken from “Mindfulness Exercises to Use During the Coronavirus Lockdown” by Paul Greene, PhD:
These first two techniques I found personally helpful throughout my months in quarantine!
“If you’re completely new to mindfulness, a great first exercise to do is called “unplugging.” This is best done at home (perfect for the lockdown!). Take 30 minutes where you don’t look at your phone, computer or TV. Nothing electronic. Notice the impulses you have to turn on one of these devices. Notice what sensations and thoughts come up. Notice your emotional reaction – do you find yourself feeling relieved? Irritated? Sad? For 30 minutes, try to become a fascinated observer of your own experience.”
Mindful eating is a great practice because eating is something you need to do anyway! This exercise literally takes no time out of your schedule. The next time you sit down to eat alone, whether it’s a meal or a snack, pay attention to your sensory experience very closely. This will require you to make sure you’re not multi-tasking – so no phones, no TV, no computers or magazines or books.
Pay rapt attention to every moment of the experience as best you can. Notice the temperature of the food as it touches your lips. As you begin to chew, notice the impulse to move the food from your lips to the back of your mouth, and remember there is no need to rush. Try to find something new about the appearance of the food, even if you’ve had this item hundreds of times before. Does the lettuce on your sandwich look more red-tinted than you’d thought? Is the mustard gloppier than you remembered it? Good, these are exactly the kinds of things you want to look for.
Anytime that you notice yourself having a distracting thought arise (e.g., this sandwich is better than I expected), return your attention to your sensory experience of the food. Throughout the exercise, remember that your job is to observe your experience, not evaluate it. So it’s not important if the sandwich is tasty or not, only whether you observed your experience.
More intermediate to advanced techniques can be found on:
During this long period of lockdown we can easily delve into maladaptive behaviors that could eventually develop into long standing behaviors impacting our overall life satisfaction. With the extra time on our hands we can take advantage of the lockdown to pursue mindful habits that can bring us more abundance in overall wellbeing! But like any habit it takes time to establish it into our day-to-day lives which is why small healthy calculated risk are the way to go! Once you have created mindful habits into your life, you are on your way to a journey of overall positive wellbeing by being mindful of the moments of our lives during a lockdown.
Quarantine Time is Still Time!
In a matter of days the entire world came to a stand still. While hospitals geared up for what seemed the worst economies froze, recreation & leisure pursuits became limited, and overall social connection was dwindled down to isolated time with ourselves and whoever resides with use in our households. During such times even I myself felt frozen as it was hard to work in the moment knowing that tomorrow was unsure. This quickly disheartened my sense of hope until one day I decided to flip the switch, or change the lens of the actual situation at hand. I was aware of the new limitations of life, but now saw it simply as a new life reality in an ever changing world. Adjustments were made and suddenly negative beliefs went from “I’m frozen, alone, and unmotivated” to “Time didn’t stop why should I?, We are all in this together, and I am more excited for the opportunity to reflect and develop myself and my interest!”.
A great article I came across was “Positive pandemic?” where Jennifer E. Symonds considers whether lockdown can actually improve your mental health and wellbeing. She brings to attention what I have come to believe about our current condition that all the limitations brought with the new reality of a world in Covid-19 can be observed as opportunities to pursue mindfulness & meditation, deeply connect with our loved ones, appreciate nature & less populated areas like small businesses, more hours to exercise & reflect, and overall appreciate our overall wellbeing!
Mindfulness at Point School Puerto Rico!
At PSPR our young men have the opportunity to immerse into a rich biodiverse island giving way to more opportunities to reflect deep. Mindfulness plays a huge part in being a component of engagement in one’s life especially in the student below.
Whether it be floating out on the teal emerald waters to the peaks overlooking the island PSPR student’s will have the ability to create meaningful purposeful moments that will reverberate with them throughout their lives as they reflect on their journey thus far!
Be Kind to Yourself!
When it all really comes down to it you really are the closest connection to yourself and hold the full ability to affect your overall wellbeing at the whim of any choice you make. A virus runs rampant throughout our communities and negativity a virus itself can aswell, but amidst a pandemic that limits social interactions you will always have yourself so why not be kind to yourself! Not to be considered selfish behavior self-care is nothing, but positive and in turn can help foster the growth of yourself and those around you! We all seek overall life satisfaction through happiness; the quickest way to start that journey is to embody it ourselves!
Where we feel hopeless and alone with life’s dogmas in a world in pandemic we actually share this struggle with every human in the world making us not so alone in this effort after all.
By Austin Tonel, Therapeutic Recreation Intern