How to stay present during a crisis

Dubai-based wellness community House of Pause offers meditation classes to help you centre your mind. In light of Covid-19, they have turned to Zoom to show us how to stay calm and collected…
How to stay present during a crisis

House of Pause's Free Class Friday takes place at 5pm for those with financial difficulties

Ferina Natasya Aziz started House of Pause as a way to heal and break free from living in an – as she describes – ‘unsustainable way.’ It’s the notion of living on autopilot and allowing for anxiety and depression to take over – much like many are currently doing and experiencing due to the recent pandemic and social injustices.

Suffering from these disorders and their symptoms, Ferina sought out help from a psychiatrist and nutritionist, and then started to work meditation, mindfulness and breathwork techniques as a supporting tool for her to cope with the panic and internal emotional struggles.

“What mindfulness and meditation does is help us to pay attention to our current experiences fully. One at a time, without judgments and accept them as they are,” explains Ferina. “With this practice, we will improve our psychological well-being, mood, positive emotions, emotional reactivity and stress management. Meditation is a practice - where you focus inward to increase calm, concentration and emotional balance.”  

Being present in times of high crisis and uncertainty, however, can feel out of reach for many. Ferina states that disconnecting from everything – even if just for a short time – can allow us to then connect back to ourselves: “I make a non-negotiable timing in my day where I am not reachable.” It also requires you to simply take the time to listen to what your body needs – whether it’s a good cry, a good movie, or even just sleeping in.

“Positivity can only be felt or seen when we see the negativity too,” reveals Ferina. “So, I always see the dark parts of things as equally as the light. We must be okay to acknowledge, allow and accept that sometimes our current reality isn't [great]. And that’s okay too.”

By focusing on our breathing, it allows us to relax, prompts our bodies to rest, and then in turn, lowers the effects of the stress hormones in our body. One technique Ferina states that everyone should have in their toolbox is diaphragmatic breathing. Simply place one hand on your upper chest, and the other just below your rib cage, so you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe. Then breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand.

Ferina describes House of Pause as an “oasis in the desert” - a place where people can take short or long pauses throughout their day to allow them to connect back within: “I hope to build a studio space [in the future] where I can offer classes, workshops and other offerings to help one to just find their equilibrium again. A safe space for us all to pause and find ourselves again.”

House of Pause provides a Free Class Friday every week at 5pm, where anyone with financial difficulty can attend a 30min guided meditation session. This is open for anyone, anywhere in the world. 

To book Free Class Friday, visit

Photo: Piotr Chrobot for Unsplash