As a natural introvert and a self-proclaimed “homebody,” many of the behaviors currently being recommended by governments around the world to prevent the spread of COVID-19 come oh-so-naturally to me: stay home as much as possible, keep 2 meters / 6 feet away from others when in public spaces, and avoid crowds. However, even with my introverted tendencies, I have found myself with some serious cabin fever as my time spent indoors has skyrocketed these past few weeks. It makes sense, especially when you consider that we are entering the spring season here in the Northern Hemisphere – many of us have been cooped up indoors all winter long, and this is the time of year where we usually begin to venture back out as the light returns.
Across social media, I have seen countless people sharing similar sentiments. So many in the magical community are workers whose employers are temporarily closed to support social distancing measures, or are freelancers who already work from home on a regular basis. Others have been unexpectedly thrust into the world of remote work, and are left grappling with the sudden loss of 40(ish) hours of weekly social interaction to which they’ve become accustomed. Combine all of this with the never-ending stream of news coverage that inevitably fills our social media feeds, along with our natural human curiosity – it can easily lead to a toxic cycle of incessant media consumption and continually elevated anxiety levels, which can in turn have a direct effect on our magical or spiritual practice.
We’ve all heard, in some form or another, the sentiment that “witchcraft doesn’t require anything beyond the witch themselves / you are your own most magical tool,” and I wholeheartedly agree! However, if you’re experiencing any of the anxious feelings mentioned above, chances are you are feeling out of balance to some degree – which can make it difficult to hold the mental space and focus so often required for magical workings. So, what’s a witch to do? As someone who has already been directly affected by sudden remote working conditions, temporary work closures, and general anxiety as we all face this unknown, I am very much in the same boat with so many others. Here, I am sharing my top three ways to keep calm and “Witch On” while practicing mandated or voluntary social distancing, and hope that these help some of my fellow witches out there. Remember – self care is a magical act!
While this one is likely the most mundane of the three, it is arguably the most important! The biggest change for many people has been the sudden closure (either temporary or permanent) of their place of employment, or unexpected shift to remote work. I know that I personally did not realize how much I moved in a given day before the necessity for social distancing – even basic things like getting water or a coffee, walking to the washroom, or taking lunch can really add up over the course of eight hours! This contrast might be even more stark for people in the service industry, who spend a lot of time on their feet and are constantly on the move.
One of the easiest ways to keep moving throughout your day is to take time to simply walk. Whether it’s several short walks as you take laps around your home, or one long walk per day, every step can make a positive difference in your well-being! We all know that witches and nature are inextricably linked, so see if it is an option to take your walks at a park or other outdoor area. As you walk, really take in your surroundings. Notice the colors, the sounds, the smells, and any animals that might cross your path. Weather-permitting, look for a place that you can connect your bare feet with the earth – perhaps some lush grass, or even a quick dunk into a natural body of water. If you find a small token of the season (flower, leaf, pinecone, acorn, etc.) you might consider collecting it and bringing it into your home as a way to incorporate some of nature’s beauty into your space.
If walking outside is just not an option, and walking indoor laps does not sound appealing, there are lots of online fitness options available. Whether it’s a dedicated app, a website with on-demand classes, or just an instructional YouTube video, there are options for just about everyone! My personal favorite way to move is yoga – the physical challenge, combined with the mental focus required seems to turn it into a moving meditation, and is a fantastic way for me to decompress. There are plenty of apps on the market that offer at-home yoga, along with cardio and strength training workouts – and a number of them are free!
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
All of the feelings of anxiousness and unease experienced during these challenging times can be amplified by extended periods of time spent indoors. One tool that I find particularly powerful in soothing some of these feelings is mindfulness meditation. While you can practice anywhere that supports a comfortable posture (seated, laying down, etc.), I find it especially impactful to have a separate space dedicated purely to this purpose, and there is lots of opportunity to incorporate your magic into such a space!
Consider creating a meditation altar, filled with representations of things that you find soothing, and / or that remind you of your personal magic and power. I love drawing a tarot or oracle card right before I meditate, propping that card up in the middle of my meditation altar, and using it as a focal point during my session. I also include some of my favorite crystals, a representation of the moon, a candle, and some seashells – all things that represent a strong connection to my magic, and help me remember that in this moment, I am okay.
If you are newer to the practice of mindfulness meditation, try not to get too caught up in whether you’re “doing it right.” There is lots of flexibility in ways to practice! It can really be broken down into three simple parts:
- Settle your awareness on one thing (breath, candle, intention, body sensation, etc.).
- Notice when your awareness has been pulled away to something else.
- Gently bring your awareness back to that one thing.
And that’s it! Repeat as often as needed. Remember that mindfulness meditation is a practice of starting again, and that the goal is simply to be present for a short time, allowing the “dust to settle” in your mind.
Learn Something New
Are you one of those witches with a pile of unread books on a variety of magical topics? I know I am, so I plan to take advantage of this time to tackle as many of them as I can! Many of us will find ourselves with some extra time on our hands in the coming weeks, and intentionally taking time to learn something new can be a great way to keep our brains active and happy! Make a “to-read” pile with books you already have, ask any local witchy friends if they would like to do a book swap, or, if budget allows, consider grabbing a book or two from your wish list! As of this writing, many retailers are still delivering online orders to customers, so you could very well have a fresh stack of reading material on your doorstep in a matter of days.
This might also be a great time to look into any online witchcraft courses that might be starting soon, or that are offered on a continual basis. Many courses incorporate discussion forums as part of their curriculum – in those cases, you can benefit from both the learning and community elements!
Prioritize self-care in whatever form resonates with you, take time to step away from constantly looking at headlines and updates, and check in on your neighbors and loved ones from time to time. Almost all of us know someone who falls into a “high risk” category for this new illness, and a strong sense of community and support can make a world of difference for those folks. There are also some wonderful people online who are offering their own types of community assistance – everything from PDF resources to full-on virtual support groups!
At the end of the day, the most important thing is for everyone to take excellent care of themselves, and of each other. Keep Calm and Witch On!
This piece originally appeared on the Witch With Me blog in March 2020.