We’re living through an unprecedented, uncertain, historic moment that is drastically shifting the way we live, connect, work, and engage with one another. In times like this, we may find ourselves in need of support to cope with emerging challenges, develop our capacity to be well despite experiencing fear, anxiety, anger and many other emotions, and practice self-care. All this, while also enabling our communities to be healthy, resilient and actively contributing to everyone’s wellbeing.
“Self-care is not a selfish act - it is good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on this earth to offer to others.” Parker Palmer
We can feel clearer than ever that our ability to impact the world positively, is dependent and influenced by our inner wellbeing. We invite you to take a moment to breathe and explore different techniques that cultivate your wellbeing and resilience.
As explained in this intro video, we look at wellbeing from an integral perspective – taking into account all the dimensions that make us human.
The Toolkit of Wellbeing Resources:
This is a toolkit built by our community for our community. Below are a few resources to get us started – and we will be updating this page continually (so bookmark and watch this space – or receive updates through our Newsletters!). Please help us develop this together: What practices and resources support you to be well? Please share with us! You can do so by submitting them here.
- Check-In with yourself first...
- Body Movement
- Breathing Exercises
- Support Circles
- Gratitude Practices
- Creating New Habits
- Wellbeing Resources for Children
Wellbeing is something universal yet deeply personal. Take another deep breath - What do YOU need?
Here is a tool from the Ashoka Europe Fellowship Wellbeing Team to help you bring awareness to where you are in your wellbeing journey and what your needs for being well include.
The body is the entry point for checking in on how we are feeling. It is also the place where we can hold the tension of the emotions we are feeling. Or where we can create energy and vitality.
- Yoga: There are various guided yoga practices online; from relaxation and meditative yoga practices to more dynamic and intensive ones. Here is one example of yoga practice for anxiety (40 min) or a morning full body stretch (10 min) – Feel free to get recommendations from your community or yoga instructor for the right kind of videos for your needs and level.
- Qi Gong: Qi Gong is a Chinese exercise system that cultivates vitality & mental wellbeing and strengthens immunity. It combines body awareness, movement and breathing exercises to help relax our nervous systems, let go of anxiety. Here is a recommended example (7 min).
- Diaphragm Breathing: There are a few examples of diaphragmatic breathing. This deep belly breathing helps us to re-regulate any stress response in the nervous system, moving us out of ‘flight or flight mode’ and in a calmer place and more objective/creative perspective. Here is a quick explanation video (We recommend breathing in for 3 seconds and out for 6 seconds.
- Body Scan Awareness Practice: Physical discomfort is connected to our emotional state. A body scan meditation can be particularly useful and effective, allowing us to check in with our bodies, noticing any tension or general discomfort and breathing through it. This helps reduce tension and anxiety, it helps us build bodily awareness and ground ourselves into the present moment.
- Here is a (3 min) body scan meditation from headspace. You can also find a longer (15 min) version here.
In moments of transition, where we are forced to embrace change, and rely less on the things around us that we might have considered certain and stable, can also be a time of deep insight and learning. In these moments, we tend to be more open to questioning and reflective of who we are and who we want to be. It is therefore also a time of possibility for deep growth into our potential.
Recommendation: When journaling: Do write not type .
- Morning Pages: This practice involves writing 3 pages of long-hand free writing (i.e. no editing, no over-writing, just writing 3 pages straight) and it is ideally done first thing in the morning. This allows you to create space in your mind from anxiety and for focus and creativity. It doesn’t matter what you write, it only matters that you write the 3 pages (ideally) daily. See here for a quick explanation
- Other forms of Journaling: Keeping a daily record of our inner world in these times of uncertainty. This can be in the form of drawing, blogs, poems, or photos – with reflections of what meaning or emotion they capture for you.
Many Ashoka local offices are planning online community check-ins and gatherings to find ways to connect and support each other. These spaces are essential to remind ourselves that we are not alone, and that we may be physically distant but not emotionally distant from each other.
Whatever the format, it is important to have support or coaching circles as a place for us to share how we are feeling in these times of disruption and uncertainty. Identifying and naming our emotions in a safe and confidential space helps us to acknowledge them and then separate from them – remembering that they too will pass.
Integrating gratitude practices into our daily routine invites joy into our lives. The essential word here is practice; going beyond an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and finding ways to integrate gratitude practices in our daily lives.
This can simply mean adding a gratitude practice to any existing daily routine or doing a 21 Day Gratitude Journal Challenge – see example here.
- Seven Strategies to Make Healthy Habits Stick
- Nine Interesting Ted Talks on Breaking Bad Habits and Forming Better Ones
This page will be updated regularly! Stay tuned!
Please also share your practices and tools for wellbeing (reach out to us here!), so that we develop the Wellbeing toolkit further together!