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The Ultimate Guide To Surviving Isolation And Homebound Life

How To Live Well While Homebound And In Isolation 


The isolation definition is simply the state of one who is alone. However simple it may sound, isolation and being homebound can be anything but simple, especially if it happens as a result of a sudden life change, such as an injury or a rapid onset of an illness. However, there are many ways to stay positive and still feel a part of the world, even while staying at home. This guide will suggest practical advice and hopefully provide you with some inspiration as you navigate your new normal.


Create A New Routine


In your previous life (prior to being at home) you likely had a daily routine and a long, “to do” list at all times. As you may have noticed, now it has become a “not to do” list and that can, ironically, be even more difficult to manage than the list of things to do. It is hard to not do, and rely on others for help. Trust me I know. Try to create a new daily routine that is not time specific, but a response plan for your emotional and physical well-being instead. For example, have set routines for self-coping when you have discomfort such as pain and other routines for moments of emotional overwhelm. For me, listening to my body when I feel discomfort is imperative, so I will take my medication, lay down, focus on deepening my breath and feeling into my bodily sensations, allowing myself to be with the discomfort as opposed to resisting it and tensing my body in response. In times where I feel an overwhelming emotion, I (ideally) find a secluded space, listen to soothing music or sound, connect with my body and breath in order to fully allow myself to feel all of the emotion(s) and how it presents in my body for a set amount of time, no more than thirty minutes. I try to let it go after thirty minutes if I am still unable to move through the emotion at that particular time. I practice letting it go and then come back to sit with it at a later time, as I have found that ruminating is never helpful. Having a daily routine, although much different than your prior routine, can help you feel more in control of your day to day life when you cannot control a lot of your other circumstances.


Stay Connected


Isolation can be very lonely at times, but in this modern day there are more ways than ever to stay connected with loved ones. Use the available technology to your advantage such as video chats, phone calls, voice recordings, social media or messaging with friends and family. You can also participate in virtual events or activities together, such as online game nights or virtual classes. It is also vital to begin to make new connections with others who are in similar circumstances. Patient support groups can be a fabulous way to find others who can relate and support you in ways that your friends and family are unable to. Isolation can have effects on the brain as humans are very social beings. This is why even when you do not feel social, it is important to stay connected, despite not being able to be with others, in the same way that you once were. You can still maintain strong relationships and support systems right from your own bed, if you are homebound, bed bound or both. There are more ways than ever to stay connected on your own terms.


Keep Moving


Including gentle physical movement into your day if at all possible, even if it seems very minimal or pointless. I started when I was bed bound with ankle and wrist circles. For every patient “movement” will look differently, and may not even include any physical movement of their body. Breath work is a great form of movement and most everyone can participate. Another great option for those who are not physically moving their bodies, is to use the imagination and pretend you are participating in the activity of your choice. There have been numerous research studies showing the body and brain still benefit, demonstrating the incredible power of our minds! Staying active, in mind and/or body not only benefits your physical health, but can also improve your overall mood and mental wellbeing.

Bring The Joy Back


One way to make the most of your time in isolation is to learn about something new. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn about a certain subject, but never found the time? Do not worry if you have limitations such as reading or struggles cognitively or simply feel you do not have the energy to mentally contribute to anything else. Trust me! There are still ways to enjoy a new interest and bring joy into your life even amongst the suffering. Maybe just listen to five minutes of an audio book each day, a movie you love, the voice of a loved one or a short TedTalk for example. Perhaps you do not feel any motivation to explore new interests? To that, I would say this is the BEST time to motivate yourself to listen to new perspectives or ideas. With so many online resources available, there's never been a better time to pick up a new hobby or improve upon your existing skills. Maybe you can write a book about your life experiences? With the technology available today anyone can tell their story. Or maybe for you, it is learning a new language, taking an online class, or trying out something creative? There are endless opportunities to expand your knowledge and creativity even if you are disabled or very physically limited. Do not let your new physical and mental obstacles hold you back, anything is possible when we think outside of the box. Not only can learning a new skill or hobby be a fun and rewarding way to pass the time, but it can also boost your confidence and provide a sense of accomplishment that you may be missing. It is possible to be, “Living a Beautiful Life Alongside Illness, Pain and Disability”!


Isolation Effects On Mental Health


Isolation and homebound life can take a toll on your mental health, so it's so important to prioritize your own self-care. Simple techniques such as regularly practicing mindfulness and other practices such as breath meditation are very beneficial. Additionally, staying connected with loved ones through video or phone calls, voice memos, messaging and social media are very helpful as well. Most importantly, seeking professional support whenever you feel that you need is imperative. Your mental well-being should be your top priority and it is just as important as your physical health. So please do not forget to include joy in your new routine, by making time for activities that bring you happiness and relaxation, such as reading, listening to music, meditating, gently moving/stretching your body, and communicating with a loved one. Whatever you are able to do today that feels good in your body and mind.

A Guide to Practicing Meditation in Bed

Tips For Meditation From Bed 

Learn how to practice mindful meditation in the comfort of your bed and find the perfect way to start or end the day without stress!

Mindful meditation in bed is a wonderful way to destress and relax. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced meditator, taking a few moments to focus on your breath and let go of any worries can help you drift off into a peaceful sleep or start the day with renewed energy and clarity. With some simple tips and practice, you can incorporate mindful meditation into your nightly routine.

Set Up a Comfortable Position.

Before jumping into the meditation, make sure your set up is comfortable enough to keep all distractions away. You can try a variety of different positions, such as lying down or even sitting cross-legged on top of your bed. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure you’re in a comfortable position that allows your muscles to relax and your spine to remain straight. If lying down, ensure that your neck and head are properly aligned to prevent straining any parts of the body during the session.

Take Time to Focus on Your Breath.

Once you’ve established a comfortable position, close your eyes and take at least a few moments to let go of any worries or anxious thoughts and let your body relax. Focus all your energy on being mindful of your breath. Feel the air entering and exiting your nostrils. Make sure each inhalation is deep and gentle, allowing for maximum oxygen intake into the lungs, and let each exhalation flow out without any force or strain. Stay in this state for as long as possible — 10 minutes is ideal — and maintain awareness throughout the entire breathing session.

Retrain Your Thoughts from Negativity to Positivity.

Another core element of mindful meditation is being conscious about your thoughts and deliberately shifting them to something more positive. Whenever you find yourself worrying or ruminating on the past, take a deep breath and remind yourself that everything is eventually going to be okay; ask yourself what can you do right now to make the present moment easier. Then redirect your focus on actively cultivating a sense of peace in each moment of meditation.

Be Patient with Yourself.

As you sit in meditation at times you may feel bored or as if you are somehow doing it wrong. There is no such thing as a bad meditation, so feel reassured that any time spent siting with your thoughts and focusing on your breath is benefical. Remember this is your time - it's special and unique to you - so end each session feeling grateful for something even if it’s your own strength and courage to practice mindfulness and kindness in the moment.

How To Meditate For Beginners

A Starter Guide To Meditation

Meditation is an ancient practice that can bring about a sense of peace and relaxation to the mind and body. This guide will provide the basics for new meditators, so that you can begin to experience the calming benefits of meditation for yourself today!

Prepare:

Before beginning, make sure you have a comfortable place to sit or lie down. It’s important that your posture is relaxed, but also in a position in which the body is supported with a blanket or cushion if needed. It is not required that you be sitting upright in a cross legged position. Do what feels best in your body to start. You can also set the mood by diffusing an essential oil, lighting a candle, or taking some time outdoors and sitting in nature. Whatever you desire to create an environment that best supports your own personal relaxation.

Set an Intention:

A great way to strengthen your meditation practice is by setting an intention (or purpose in mind) before beginning. Start by thinking of what you are desiring most in your life at the moment. For example, you may want to feel more connected to your body, let go of intrusive thoughts, find clarity about a situation in your life, or foster courage to take action. Next, word the desired outcome as if it has already occurred. In the above example of wanting to feel more connected to your body, a potential intention would be, "I feel connected to my own body and mind". Take a few breaths and create an intention that feels right for you. Focus on that intention as you begin your meditation practice, and at the end of practice repeat the intention.

Relax Your Body:

Settling into your meditation posture (however that looks for you), start closing the eyes or softening the gaze. Mentally relax any tension you are holding in your body. As you allow your body to begin to relax, focus your attention on your breath. Feeling the gentle expansion and contraction of your belly like a balloon filling with air, as you take each breath in and each breath out. See if you can follow an entire breath from the start of the inhale all the way through your exhale. Doing this for even just a few minutes will begin to bring a sense of calm and relaxation to both your body and mind.

Focus on your Breath:

As your body becomes more relaxed, keep focusing on your breath and the sensation of the breath moving throughout your body. The coolness of the breath as it flows in, and the warmth of the breath as it flows out. The gentle wave of the breath moving through your body without any effort or control on your part. Rather than trying to control or alter your breath, simply observe the natural flow of each in-breath and out-breath. Each time your mind wanders away from your breath, gently bring yourself back to your breath. Allow yourself the permission to let everything else go.

Practice Gentle Acceptance:

It’s important to become comfortable with your meditation practice and to allow yourself to be in all of the ways that you are without judgement, embarrassment or shame. As you observe your breath, gently accept whatever thoughts and emotions come up and watch as they pass through your mind. Do not try to stop thinking, as this is impossible. Meditation is not a lack of thinking. It is just a space from constantly following our thoughts, allowing us the time to choose which thoughts to follow and engage in.

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