A new year begins again and let’s face it, last year was tough. In reflecting upon 2020, I realized that rituals and routines were the most effective way to alleviate my feelings of anxiety and fatigue. As I shifted to virtual teaching and a small bubble of loved ones, I initially felt like I had been gifted hours and hours of free time. The “woo hoo” feeling was brief. Months went by and somehow the free time seemed less free with fewer places to go, things to do, and people to see. Before I knew it, the free time was consumed by mentally and emotional processing all the unfortunate and polarizing events of 2020. I realized I had been waiting for “normal” life to restart and that in order to thrive, I would need to embrace the present. Changes to my physical space and new routines and rituals have provided a much-needed source of stability and inner peace. I hope the suggestions below will inspire you!
If you’re working from home, is your space working for you?
Prop up your laptop with a block or books to avoid neck pain. Use items you have at home to make your space more supportive for your body or if you prefer, purchase items that will do the same. Make your workspace a place that makes you happy – play music, hang artwork, add a cozy lumbar pillow to your chair.
Steep yourself in nature, even if it’s just a few minutes.
Winter is not the most comfortable season to be outside, but even just minute or two of breathing fresh air can make a big impact on your mindset. If you’re avoiding the outdoors, meditate on one of your favorite natural spaces and try as best you can to bring all your senses to that place.
Limit screen time
For your eyes and for your spirit! If you live with others and can get them on board, that will work best. Start with something accessible, if you’re always on your phone – that may be 15 minutes. Try and work up to a few hours and then maybe all day.
Spend time doing what inspires you
The time is now! Stop waiting to start that book, painting, dance class, language lesson, sourdough bread…whatever it may be. Make time for what fills you up. If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s that the future is uncertain. What are you waiting for?
Keep a schedule, set boundaries
Working from home means that you are always at work. If it has become your habit to constantly be checking work email or allowing your colleagues to schedule meetings at all hours, it’s time to rethink that behavior. If taking a yoga class or going for a walk at a certain time makes you function better, let your colleagues know – if they value your mental and physical well-being, they will understand that what’s beneficial to you is beneficial to them.
Laughter is medicine, like when someone makes you laugh so hard you start crying and your cheeks ache. Masked, virtually, via phone – whichever way works best, stay connected to loved ones. As I mentioned before, waiting for “normal” just keeps us in flux. Don’t underestimate the warmth that hearing and seeing loved ones provides.