Peacebuilding from home – a step by step guide to building peace from the comfort of your own home

Peacebuilding is often thought of as an activity that takes place outside of ourselves: helping to build peace within a family, a neighbourhood, a conflict-torn country… However, in order to be as effective as possible in these externalised peacebuilding activities, one needs to be truly at peace and comfortable in one’s self. This week’s edition of Peacebuilding From Home dives into the topic of finding inner peace, which later translates into a smoother, more genuine external peacebuilding effort. 

There are many articles online that go in depth about how the outbreak of Covid-19 may cause us to feel stressed, depressed, or lonely, and how to effectively deal with these new circumstances. This article, for example, encourages you to identify what is impacting your mood-change, and how you can address it. Or you may want to look at this article that focuses on self-compassion during Covid-19. Here are a few additional tips that we came up with for you to feel your best in isolation, and contribute to your inner peace:

Do things that make you happy

Make the time to reconnect with your interests and passions – what could you spend hours doing? What did you love to do as a kid and never do anymore? What activities make you happy? If you feel like further exploring what your passions and purpose in life might be, you can answer these fun questions in more detail. Alternatively, if you are interested in a longer read, I recommend “A New Earth”, it is a beautiful book about finding your life’s purpose.

Connect with friends, relatives, and strangers

The benefits of social contact are so important, especially when we are physically isolated, and particularly if you are in a difficult position in which you need help and support. Make some time everyday or multiple times a week to reach out to people in your life or those who have slipped out of it. And if you would like to take it one step further, send them a postcard or a hand-written letter – it brings a wonderful feeling to receive something handwritten in the post. Maybe consider challenging yourself by writing a letter to a stranger – I recommend checking out the beautiful peacebuilding project by Bogot’Art for inspiration.

Most of the time, we are drowning in distractions, noise, and mindless scrolling on social media. We don’t often give ourselves the time to be still and in silence, and this is so crucial to our wellbeing and having a more peaceful state of mind. You might want to try a few mindfulness practices, or you can:

  • go for a walk (if possible, during this quarantine period) without any distractions: no music or podcast. Absorb the environment around you, and let your thoughts go in wild directions. And stay 1.5 meter away from people of course.

  • do some breathing exercises: if you don’t have much time and need a quick moment to catch your breath, try this simple exercise. Or take more time and try a longer breathing exercise. There are endless research papers that go in depth into the benefits of breathing exercises, so I will let you explore how this practice affects you.

  • try journaling: journaling can be awkward to start with if you are not used to it, but the benefits are worth the uncomfortable, bumpy start. This is a great practice for self-reflection as it forces you to sit with your thoughts and feelings and work through them instead of casting them aside and distracting yourself from them. You can try following these simple prompts if you need some help with starting this practice, I promise it gets easier and more beneficial the more you do it!

Move your body

This is a classic piece of advice for anyone feeling down or stuck – and it works! The best option is to go outside, get some fresh air, connect with nature, but for many of us this is impossible or highly discouraged at the moment. So instead, make sure you are moving your body at home: you might start an exercise routine if you are motivated, or you might just start implementing a daily stretching practice. There are so many resources online to develop your stretching or exercise routine, so please find what works for you! Here is a link to a simple stretching sequence you can do from your chair while you are working, or you can try out a short yoga sequence for stress-relief.

Take a break from screens

Of course, this had to be mentioned. During isolation, we seem to be spending even more time in front of screens: either you are working from home and on our computer all day, or maybe you have extra free time and end up scrolling on social media more. Not only does this exposure to your screens drain you physically and mentally, it also makes you feel terrible to constantly compare yourself to others on social media. Perhaps try taking regular breaks from your screens throughout the day, and avoid screen use late at night – this will allow for better, more restorative sleep and will make you happier, lighter, and more peaceful overall!

All of us at YPI truly hope that you and your loved ones are doing well during these unprecedented events, and that you can find some form of peace at home. We would love to hear from your experiences on how to work on your inner peace, feel free to exchange with us on our Instagram, Facebook, or Linkedin!

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