Except for Jared Leto who literally emerged from a 12-day desert meditation retreat into a swiftly changing world, we’ve all had Coronavirus on our collective minds for the past few weeks. At Erno Laszlo, we’ve all joined the collective fight against it as well, by practicing social distancing and following all the CDC’s recommendations for handwashing and other cleaning measures. And just like everyone else, we’ve been stressed about it all.

The good news is that we’re all in this together, and we’re here to share our favorite tools for calming our racing minds during this unprecedented time. Today we’re talking all things meditation: what it is, how it works, and how its benefits can help you now more than ever. Step away from the newsfeeds, turn on some soothing New Age tunes, and prepare to relax. 

Meditation is particularly helpful now because it is a great way to quiet the mind. This is backed by medicine as well since no less than the Mayo Clinic has identified meditation as a great stress reducer. It also helps improve sleep and focus at work, both of which are more important than ever as we adjust to the new normal.

Start small.

The best place to start is to focus on your breath. Find a calming place in your home and take a comfortable seat. Meditation cushions are great, but any pillow or blanket will do, and don’t worry about sitting cross-legged if that’s not comfortable for you. The shape of your position is much less important than what follows. Shut your eyes and breathe in and out, paying attention to how your breath feels moving in and out of your body while doing your best to keep stray thoughts from entering your mind. Do this for a few minutes at a time and gradually build up your mental endurance. 

Do it at the same time every day.

Think of meditation as a new part of your routine. Meditating first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day with a clear head, but not everyone is a morning person. If that’s not you, pick a time you can stick to: during your lunch break, immediately after work, or even a short afternoon break before you jump back into the day. The key is to make a commitment. The calmness will follow. 

Find your mantra.

A mantra is another way to help center your meditative focus. Most people are aware of the most famous mantra: the one-syllable word Om, widely considered to be the world’s very first and most powerful mantra. The meanings of Om vary depending on the tradition or spiritual practice, but your mantra can be any sound, word, or phrase that fills you with calm and a sense of ease. You can even make something up! Step up your meditation game by repeating the mantra as you focus on your breathing.

Incorporate aromatherapy.

Another way to help get into a meditative groove is to set the mood. You probably already have some candles or even a diffuser around. Many scents are known to induce peace and calm. Lavender is at the top of the list for its ability to reduce anxiety. Lemongrass is also said to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety symptoms. If you prefer a scent with a woody sweetness to it, frankincense is also sometimes used to unwind.

If you don’t have a diffuser, another great way to incorporate aromatherapy is to apply essential oils topically using a jade roller. We recommend targeting your temples, neck, and wrists to double the benefits: the skin-boosting effects of the roller and the mood-boosting effects of the scents. 

Try an app.

Given that we’ve shifted so much of our socializing and everyday experiences to the home and our online worlds, now is the perfect time to try a meditation app. The king of meditation apps has to be Headspace, which is perfect for beginners because it has programs that gently introduce you to the practice of meditation. It even has specific meditations that deal directly with how to live in the time of coronavirus and is offering free support to anyone who is struggling through this crisis. 

Another trick to help get you into the meditative groove is to use an app you probably already have: Spotify! They have many playlists dedicated to mediation with a variety of themes, everything from Peaceful Meditation to Guided Anxiety Relief: Ambient

Eplore progressive muscle relaxation.

Get your body in the mix by learning this technique. Progressive muscle relaxation is actually pretty simple: all you have to do is progressively tense and then relax your body’s muscles. Start with your head or feet, and work your way up or down. Tense each muscle group for ten seconds each – from your neck and shoulders all the way down to your feet – then release. As you’re doing this, continue to focus on your breath. All this concentration will leave no place for your mind to wander. When you’re through, take a minute to notice how much calmer you feel.

Practice mindfulness.

When you practice mindfulness, what you’re really doing is living in the moment. While meditating, this means honing in on the specific sensations in your body. When you take a deep breath, let the feeling immerse you. If you’re sitting on a comfortable cushion, take in the sensation of the material on your body. And mindfulness doesn’t stop with meditation; you can practice it all day long. Try it while you’re washing your hands by making a mental list of five things you’re grateful for in that moment. (This will also help you achieve the recommended 20 full seconds of thorough washing.) 

Mindfulness helps keep your mind off that which is beyond your control by focusing on all the things that are in your control: your attitude, approach, and ability to treat yourself and others with kindness and grace. 

Let us know what’s on your mind – we want to help. Explore our Instagram feed and stories for our latest suggestions for your new Quarantine Routine or find comfort in our everyday content for some good old-fashioned skincare ritual normalcy.