2020 saw time adjusted in an unprecedented manner.
Commutes disappeared, plans with other humans slowed, and the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 14.7% (BLS.gov) (I’m part of that statistic too)
What did people do with the extra ‘free’ time? We balanced increased productivity with the added worry of health, money, and politics. All of these moments and feelings overlapped and danced in our heads, as we distracted ourselves with Netflix, Tik Tok, and tracking the stock market. We did much of this all from the comfort of our own phones.
It’s a proven fact that “multitasking causes an increase in the production of Cortisol, the stress hormone” (Psychology Today). So how do we move through the noise of moments and feelings in a way that we own them, and not the inverse? We can start by becoming more ‘mindful.’
What does mindfulness mean? Well, mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the moment at hand, of being fully aware and attentive to an experience. This is broad because mindfulness can actually be practiced everywhere. Here are a few ways I’ve personally found mindfulness through this pandemic:
- GETTING YOUR GORDON RAMSEY ON:
Cooking commands mindfulness. It’s a fusion of knifework, tasting, and watching, that external distractions don’t have time to sneak into. Of course, there is downtime while something cooks. You can use this time to clean up, get ready for the next part of the recipe, or continue learning. In Aisle Mine classes, we fill downtime with meaningful conversation and cooking tips you can use for your next meal!
Shakshuka by teacher Adrian Sullivan
2. CHANNELING YOUR INNER CHILD:
Whether it’s Words with Friends, Playstation, or Chess, games force us to strategize and be creative. As much fun as solo games can be, I love the social aspect and friendly competition that a multiplayer game nurtures. This winter Aisle Mine hosted its first Party Games Night featuring the 8 player Jackbox.tv series. The event brought together a room full of people who had never met face-to-face, and who spanned the United States. Coincidentally, we had a Stress-Reduction professional in the room, who explained that play is a valuable tool in her line of work. This showed to be true, as I carried a sense of lightness and relaxation through the rest of my evening.
Fails are part of the journey, right? …Right?
3.JOURNALING FOR MENTAL HEALTH:
When you write, those millions of intrusive thoughts are given a purpose. To acknowledge them on paper is to be mindful of them. I like to free-write, spill everything I’m thinking onto a paper, and set it free. No, Aisle Mine classes can’t be your journal, but they can be an outlet to let things go. We speak and acknowledge the thoughts that run through our minds, and learn we aren’t alone in that phenomenon. We begin every class with a themed discussion topic from our speakers, and open the floor for anyone who might want to share – without pressure. This practice is eye-opening, as we find common ground in the struggles and successes we’re all facing this year.
Aisle Mine is a safe space to explore these topics
Those three activities command attention and must be done intentionally. Unlike scrolling through our phones while we let the next episode of ‘The Office’ begin playing in the background. Of course, there are a ton of ways to put these tips into action on your own, but aren’t we alone enough these days? You can host your own Aisle Mine class for your friends, family, or workplace, and they’re built on equitable accessibility (aka they’re affordable!). Make sure to check out the running series of community classes on Eventbrite. We host at least 3 public events every month, and they’re free (with a suggested donation for our speakers)! Maybe I’ll see you there, as I continue my journey of being present and tuning out the noise.