Warriors Practice Mindfulness to Combat COVID-19 Fatigue
With the pandemic affecting daily life for the past year, it is normal to be experiencing fatigue. Sheltering in place, quarantining, and taking the necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 have left many feeling burned out.
Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Army veteran and Warrior Leader Delia Veschi is a trauma-informed RYT 200 yoga instructor who decided to help veterans deal with fatigue by creating the COVID-19 Fatigue Mindfulness series.
Learn more about veteran events that help warriors connect and improve well-being.
Delia facilitates the video classes online for WWP warriors and family support members. She takes a moment to remind the class to have patience, trust your inner voice, and reinforce the importance of keeping a “beginner’s mind.” She explains that when it comes to meditation, allowing yourself to be a beginner breeds acceptance and the ability to be in the moment. It permits a loosening of expectations and consequently keeps the mind open to new ideas.
The sessions begin with participants reflecting on how they feel different since the last session. They have the chance to bring up anything they are dealing with and connect with others over shared experiences.
“Things like meditation have proven to be beneficial therapy, whether you’re doing it on your own or someone else happens to be leading,” Delia said. “I’ve always appreciated guided meditation. I don’t like to be rigid with my practice. I like to let people find their own way and what makes them comfortable, not add to their stress.”
Many participants explained they felt better equipped to deal with the stresses of everyday life since giving meditation a chance.
John Mendyka, a 20-year Army retiree, has noticed a difference since participating in the mindfulness series. “I think the best litmus test is that my girlfriend recognizes the difference. I’m more patient with her. I’m more attuned to her needs. I’m more relaxed. I’m not as on edge. My anxiety is down.”
He also has some advice for those who are hesitant about trying meditation. “It’s like yoga. Showing up is 70% of the battle. You will take something away from it. Just like PT and physical exercise, you get out of it what you put into it. Even if you don’t practice it every day, you will get something out of it.”
The virtual nature of the series also gives participants the sense of community they may have been lacking due to COVID-19 restrictions. A scheduled time to commit to mindfulness keeps warriors accountable to their self-care.
“The mat is symbolic of showing up,” Delia explained. “It is also a symbol of breathing, moving, honoring your joy and your happiness, and being mindful and aware of honoring yourself, your pains, your struggles. We carry all of that with us through our lives. It’s what makes us unique and remains a part of our lives. We all have our own stories.”
Delia uses her experiences as a veteran to uplift others on their journey. Her inspiration for the series came from an awareness that if she and her family feel this way, others must too. “When you fear this invisible disease, it feels like an invisible war. It’s scary. The world is scary to go out into.”
She encourages the whole family to get involved with mindfulness practices. “Whether you live with kids or your parents, invite the whole family because this is good for everyone. We’re all going through this together and every household looks different.”
Contact: Erin Cinney — Public Relations, firstname.lastname@example.org, 904.832.5326
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.