by: Jackie Davis
May 31, 2021 is Memorial Day, a national holiday that recognizes and honors the soldiers who died while serving in the U.S. military. At 3:00 p.m., MHC’s Facebook page will be playing “Taps,” a bugle call which is traditionally played in remembrance of a fallen soldier at memorial services. 3:00 p.m. on Memorial Day is known as the National Moment of Remembrance and citizens are asked to gather together for one minute of unity to remember those who have served that are no longer with us. During this minute, individuals are asked to remain silent and still as we pay tribute to the fallen.
Silence and Stillness are powerful self-care tools and can be used to honor those lost as well as bring a sense of calm to your day. While we hope you will join us at 3:00 p.m. we also would like to share an exercise from the Oregon Mediation Association that can be used at anytime to reduce stress, boost your focus, or just to take a moment for self-care.
If you are sitting or standing comfortably right now, you can practice sitting in silence. Here’s what to do:
- Close your eyes, or look down and let them relax and get a little fuzzy.
- Breathe as you normally would, and start to notice the breath coming in and out of your body. Count your inhalations until you get to 20. If you lose count, just start again.
- Once you get to 20 (or if you’ve counted and lost track a couple of times), you’ve completed about a minute of sitting in silence. (It’s normal to breathe 12 to 20 times per minute, so counting 20 breaths or so will equal about a minute, without having to set a timer and check a clock)
- Continue if you wish, or you can stop, open or refocus your eyes, stretch your arms or roll your shoulders, or do any other movement that feels good.
- Before you move on or return to what you were doing, take a moment to notice how it feels to take one minute of stillness.
How do you feel? Maybe you feel rested, calm, more present, and better able to concentrate. Maybe that one minute gave you enough of a break to return to what you were doing with a renewed energy and focus. While this exercise is not for everyone, give it a try and if it works – add it to your self-care tool kit.
A Gentle Reminder
Let us remember that for some of us, this will be a difficult day. If you or a loved one are in need of support or find yourself in crisis, please utilize the below resources.
Veteran Crisis Line – Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or Text 838255 to be connected to a qualified responder with the Dept of Veteran Affairs.
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 to be connected to a trained crisis counselor, 24/7.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 1-800-273-8255 24/7, for free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.