Finding some balance in challenging times.
During our Notan tutorial above, we started thinking about the concept of balance. In these challenging times we all find ourselves in, it's more important now than ever to strive to find some sort of balance in our day to day existence. This helps to navigate from one thing to the other and build up our resilience.
We've put together some top tips for promoting balance in your life amidst what can sometimes seem like chaos and right at the end you will find a self-care checklist you can print and use at home :)
Tip One: Try and set a routine - It may seem pointless at times to get up and get dressed each morning to create some sort of structure but we think this makes a significant difference to all our days! Its important to feel prepared. Imagine there was a colleague popping round in 10 minutes, are you together enough to really be OK with that. This in itself means if a delivery arrives or a neighbour gets in touch (even over the fence) you won't be so jarred.
Tip Two: Use your one piece of exercise each day - In business they have always used the term pattern break. Essentially this was a term used for when you 'break away' from one particular activity to something completely different giving your brain time to re-set and aiding some rest. Even if its just a walk around the block, this is still helpful AND if you have managed to stick to point one, then you can make a snap decision in the middle of the day when time presents itself if needed.
Tip Three: Don't be too hard on yourself -You might be having a great day, its all under control and you're managing fine. It might also be that;s how you were yesterday but today you are kicking yourself that nothing feels like its quite working, like swimming against a tide. That's OK, it happens and there's always tomorrow.
Tip Four: Check in, make social contact - This might feel like a chore but it's important to stay connected with others in some sort of way. Try reading a story over video call to little ones before bed or catching up with people over video chat for a pub quiz. It doesn't have to be grand, you can just send a friend a text to see if they are doing alright. You never know, they might need it more than you.
Tip Five: Do at least one thing for yourself each day - This might be a pot of tea, your favourite lunch or lighting your favourite candle, a long bath. It really doesn't matter, the important part is that that action is reserved and action-ed purely by you and for you to be enjoyed in a small snapshot of your day. This can be a real challenge when you have homeschooling, work commitments, other family members and pets to care for in anxiety provoking and challenging times. These bits of self care are so important.
Tip Six: Try and be mindful of your working routine - Working from home can present its own challenges!! This might be something that you have done before so you feel like you have a bit more insight into some of the challenges this can present. The one I wanted to focus on on this point is working hours. It really easy to keep your laptop open and reply to the odd email on a Saturday. Its really beneficial to try and keep you usual working hours or at the very least try and keep an eye on how many hours you are working in total and make sure you aren't overdoing it! We have a sneaking suspicion we may well see more people suffering with burn out after all this has calmed down - which brings us to our next point.....
Tip Seven: It is absolutely OK to be doing absolutely nothing - This is the real key to this whole self isolation and social distancing thing. Not getting swept up in the guilt of "I have all this time now! I should learn Spanish" - If you DO have time and want to learn Spanish then great. You may not have more time at all. With all the family at home and your job being more demanding you may be busier than ever. Just try and be really mindful of what you actually need at any given time and also stay aware of the fact that this may change. Rest is also really important for your brain and your body.
Tip Eight: Try something new - This could be in many forms, a new hobby, author, way of working even a new food or recipe. These are the things that help to add variety and peaks of enjoyment in our lives. These things will help everything to keep moving, distract you slightly even delight you and give you new experiences. There's nothing worse than having no idea what day it is (like that weird time between Christmas and new year). This is what we are trying to avoid - so changing things us a bit will help things to feel less monotonous.
We have designed a Weekly Self-Care checklist for a weekly overview of your self care options to visually check in and help to see where you are right now. This document can help to apply some balance in your day to day life so you can see at a glance what you are pretty good at and areas you may need to keep an eye on. I have left this blank for your own categories. We recommend things like: Meditation/Yoga practice, Exercise/Walking outdoors, Drank enough water, Ate enough fruit and veg, Reading, Did something creative, Tidying/Decluttering my space, Being sociable, Did something just for me, Anything you like really. Each day you manage to complete the reminder or activity you give yourself, place a tick or a cross in the daily column to mark it complete (you can even use fancy colours or stickers if you have any knocking around).
If you thought this list was helpful why not share it with a friend or get in touch with us by leaving a comment below, tweeting @spacesessions or on our Facebook page and let us know what YOUR top tips are for keeping some balance right now which you'd like to share with others. We'd love to know the reminders you gave yourself too on your checklist! Go on, give it a go and see if you feel the benefit.