Recently I led a virtual online self-care workshop for parents who are navigating working from home, online school and parenting in the age of COVID. Erin, a woman I connected with in a dyad burst into tears and said, “This is SO hard. I just don’t know how I’m going to make it through!” My heart ached for her; I think we’re all concerned about our families.
We talked about some essential self-care strategies for navigating this fall and most importantly, how to create a more sustainable pace.
The issue of sustainability for self comes up every time I speak to teams and organizations on finding balance. Many professionals share they know they are addicted to feeling speeded-up and have fallen prey to the seduction of busyness.
Do you sometimes feel as if you’re a robot plowing through a to-do list rather than a homosapien? Here are eight ways to practice mindfulness and create a way of living that is more humane:
Slow down. We’ve normalized “busy-ness.” Our external world is speeding us up—if we let it. We’re not wired to go non-stop. Get in the practice of “pausing” throughout your day to take in your environment and micro-doses of self-care.
Make friends and social connections a priority (outdoor, social-distanced lunches, walks, coffee dates). In our house we say, “People first, things second.” Our quality of life is dramatically enhanced by our friendships/circles.
Put technology in its place. Be careful of what you “normalize.” Remember you’re the master (not the slave here). Observe your habits. In our house mornings are unplugged and in the evenings we play quiet music that supports reading and relaxation. All phones go to “bed” at 9:30 p.m. for the night (and yes, this is hard for the teenagers!).
Do less. When we keep things simple and have fewer choices/decisions we become happier and more at relaxed. Our bodies crave unscheduled time. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should,” is one of my favorite mantras.
Seek out quiet, dark places. No, not your closet, I’m talking about natural areas in your state or the US where there is limited or no access to technology (like Big Bend National Park); leave your phone at home. Our bodies need these experiences to re-calibrate.
Take off your shoes and walk outside. Get barefoot on the earth. Walk as much as you can (it’s so good for your body and brain!). Every day go outside and “commune with nature” for at least 10 minutes.
Give your brain a rest. Do less, think less, keep things simple. The fewer choices/decisions we have, the happier we are. “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”
Drink lots of good clean water and eat more fruits/vegetables. How much colorful, energy-infused food do you eat daily? My mom used to advocate for eating food that is alive, as opposed to processed, “dead” food. Food=medicine.
Give/receive eight hugs a day. Hugs, back rubs, a.m. and p.m. snuggles, embraces with family at the beginning/end of each day—all these things elicit an incredibly positive biochemical response in the body. Read more.
These are all ways of being that are innate to the human experience. They’re hard-wired into who we are. On a cellular level, we know this stuff makes us feel good and helps us remember who we really are, but somehow we’ve lost our way.
We’re living in times that require us to reflect and question everything. Ultimately, I always ask clients, “How bad do you want to feel good?” Consider that even just adopting one or two of these ideas could make a big impact on how you today. Be gentle with yourself, it’s a hard time to be a human.
COULD YOUR EMPLOYEES OR TEAM USE SUPPORT FOR FINDING BALANCE?
I’M BOOKING ONLINE PRESENTATIONS AND WORKSHOPS FOR 2021! Consider hiring me to create an online experience to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, creative and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been working with companies/organizations like Merrill Lynch, the Center for Women in Law, the Hewlett Foundation and more. Whether it’s a workshop, keynote or custom retreat via Zoom, I’d love to discuss how I can support your team or organization. Learn more here.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art and science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead life coaching groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.