So much to do! So many worries, concerns, and distractions. We work hard, we play hard. We want to stay healthy—we need to stay healthy!
Many of us fear that we may be one health crisis away from losing everything. But all this worry and fear does nothing but weaken our hold of what we consider dear. And now the coronavirus is another worry keeping us up at night. Illness happens despite our best intentions, but using a mindful approach we can help us do our part to lessen the likelihood.
There are so many things we cannot control. It may not be in our power to decide if a coworker comes to work with a headache and a fever. There will be those parents who dose their kids with Tylenol and send them to school despite the danger. Someone may have sneezed on the grocery cart we reached for in a hurry to do our shopping before we headed home to make dinner.
The coronavirus is a global health crisis that deserves our respect. But it does not merit our worry. Quite the contrary, it calls for us to bring our best selves to the table. Or to the sink! Since 1850, handwashing has been recognized as a first line defense in disease prevention. We need to employ this simple activity and see it for the gift it is. What an opportunity!
Handwashing can and should be done routinely and helps us prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Please consider using a mindful approach with this task. Healthcare workers do it dozens of times a day and should do so with intention and thoroughness. You may not wash your hands as often as that, but can approach it in much the same manner.
Stand in front of the sink with your weight evenly distributed between both feet. Release the tension from your shoulders and smile. Turn on the faucet and considering what a privilege it is to have warm, running water. Listen to the sound of the water. Using soap, warm water, and friction, give your hands a little massage, which helps to relieve stress. Enjoy the lather; does the soap have a fragrance? I love making my own soaps using essential oils such as lavender and lemongrass. These common essential oils are considered to have antibacterial properties and smell divine!
Twenty seconds is the suggested length of time to spend washing hands. Singing “Happy Birthday” twice has long been advised as a simple way to pass the time. I find it a bit tedious and prefer my own affirmations, which vary depending on my focus for the day. My current handwashing mantra is this: 2 Corinthians 12:9: “But he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
Find something that works for you to increase your sense of peace and wellbeing. After scrubbing your hands for 20 seconds, rinse them completely. Then turn off the tap and dry your hands thoroughly with a dry cloth or paper towel. Notice and enjoy the feeling of your clean, dry hands. Give them an admiring glance and you are ready to move on with your day!
Try to hold on to this feeling of centeredness, calm, and control. Enhanced awareness of your hands throughout the day can help you avoid touching your mouth, eyes, and nose. These mucous membranes are susceptible to germs that can cause illness.
There really is no way to totally prevent illness. But it is in our hands to do the best we can! A mindful approach to a simple task can lead to a healthier life.