Ok. Here we are...multiple weeks into our new routine managing the coronavirus. I don't know about you but I have definitely ridden the roller coaster of emotions. In one day I can easily experience gratitude, fear, joy, anger, loneliness, contentment, and curiosity. Somedays I can stay with one of the more pleasant emotions for a longer period of time and my energy feels really good. I can stay focused and on track with what needs to get done. Other days when I am feeling jealousy, insecurity, anger, judgment, or disappointment it can be hard to move up on the emotional guidance scale and get back to feeling better.
At the beginning of my "shelter at home" experience, I set up a self-care routine. I woke up at 6:15 am (before my kids wake up at 7 am) to sit and meditate, journal, and prepare for my day with quiet and solitude. My mornings were usually spent taking care of kids, helping them with school work, and doing a few household chores. At lunchtime, I created a "mandatory recess." Everyone had to get out of the house for 20-30 minutes and move. We would walk, ride bikes, rollerblades, or play in our yard, something to get us moving and outside. After lunch, it was my turn to work and sit at my desk. By the afternoon my energy was usually down and I practiced a yoga nidra meditation. This 20-minute reset is just what my body and brain need to keep going through the day. My last self-care routine was to take a warm bath with my favorite essential oils, put on cozy socks, and read before I go to sleep. It was such a wonderful routine and lasted for a couple of weeks.
Then what happened??? Just like anything new, it wore off and old habits and patterns started taking over. I would tell myself that I didn't need to meditate in the morning, my body needed sleep. It was ok if we didn't get outside at lunchtime, the kids will play outside sometime today. I started to justify why I didn't need to do one of my self-care routines and the structure and rituals were going away.
It is now six weeks into our quarantine and I realize the self-care practices that I was drawn to in the beginning is what I usually need to stay calm and balanced throughout my day. I might not need 20-30 minutes of practice, but I need multiple self-care breaks throughout my day to help keep my energy balanced and calm.
I am adding other self-care practices into my day. This includes a walk with a friend (6' apart), deep cleaning and decluttering my house, playing a game or crafting with my kids, writing a letter to a loved one or friend, listening to a podcast, or baking something delicious for my family to enjoy.
For all of us, these are challenging times. I have heard from many of you and I know you are struggling and riding the roller coaster of emotions. Managing our stress has not been easy. I encourage you to make time for reflection and remember the self-care practices that bring you joy, peace, and ease. Continue to make time for them and sprinkle a few practices into your day. It is a wonderful way to reset and move from stress to serenity.