Change Your Environment
Your environment is your base structure and whatever environment we’re in, our behaviour is a direct result of it. Right now, our environment has drastically changed, and so the way we’re behaving is radically changing. If you’re sitting at your home desk, feeling overwhelmed, the simplest thing you can do is to get up and go somewhere else. If you’re in limited space, you can just get out of your seat, and shake your body out or jump up or down. Take a few deep breaths and sit back down again. This is called ‘breaking state’. This will have such a huge impact, as you’re breaking up your pattern of thought. Often when we’re stressed, we’re in our minds and our thoughts are racing, so anything we can do to get back into our body is helpful. By changing your environment, you’re reframing your experience.
Limit Social Media
At the moment, browsing social media and watching the news will put you into fight-or-flight mode immediately. What was the last situation that upset you – was it because you’d read a troubling article? You obviously need to know what’s happening in the world, but maybe set yourself specific times to read the news. And if you’re in a WhatsApp group that’s not helpful right now, leave or mute it.
Now that everyone’s working from home, it’s even more important to set some boundaries. What time are you going to start working? When are you going to stop? When will you have your lunch break? How are you going to transform the space you’re in? This all comes back to the idea of environment – you need to create areas where you’re in ‘on’ and ‘off’ mode. Think about how you can transform your environment so you can relax when you’re not working.
Make Time For Yourself
Video calls have caused this funny problem where, although we’re not together physically, we’re more connected than ever. So now there’s this problem of availability, because everyone knows no one’s doing anything and there’s an expectation to be constantly connected. If you’re at home all day, there are more hours available for you to work. Think about how you can carve out time in your day to do the things that make you feel good. Make sure to give yourself time to read a book or do some yoga or sit in the garden if you have one.
Stick To A Routine…
Having a daily routine is so important. What are you going to do differently from now on? How are you going to structure your day? These are things that we know unconsciously, but when you’re conscious of them and know the things you need to make you feel good, you can consciously make sure you do them more. Whether it’s getting fresh air or having the sun on your face, it’s important to shape this into your day.
…But Allow Some Free Time Too
Now we have all this time on our hands, we seem to be pushing ourselves to be busier than ever. Instead, we should be pushing ourselves to do things which make us feel good. Sometimes, just being is enough, and doing nothing is important.
Remember, We’re All Doing Our Best
Right now, people are behaving differently, as we’re in a strange and unfamiliar world. Find ways to be kind. The more ways you can connect with yourself, the more you’ll be able to give yourself the time you need to do nothing. The more connected you are with yourself, the more connected you can be with other people. It always starts with you.
Look After Yourself
If you’re self-isolating alone, see if there’s an online community you can join. It doesn’t have to be with friends, it could be a meditation group that meets online once a week or a local volunteer group. Even if you can’t leave the house for two weeks, you can still be part of a community. And if you’re not getting any physical touch from other people, give your hands a massage or rub your feet. America author and therapist Virginia Satir said: “We all need ten hugs a day for survival,” so make sure to give yourself a hug or have a bath.
Commit To Something For Yourself
Remember that by looking after yourself, you’re looking out for other people. Give yourself what you need, because when you do that, you’re able to look after other people so much more authentically. There’s this whole idea about self-care being selfish, but actually being selfish is really important. The word itself has all these negative connotations, but you are only giving yourself what you need, which means you’ll be in a much more resourceful place to support others.
Create A Daily Practice
Finally, think about what your rituals are going to be during lockdown because, chances are, we’re going to be living this way for a good few months. Right now, we only have ourselves to face as we’re less distracted. Maybe there are things you’ve wanted to do for ages and haven’t found the time. Now is when to think about what you can you do for you.
Vida is currently available for online coaching and workshops. Visit VidaCarmel.com for more information.
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