I am guessing, that you (like me) are creating new schedules (trying desperately to make them work), setting up and organizing work-spaces for adults and kids in the house, and coming up with creative ideas for meals, projects and survival!
Here are some ideas to help you find some calm in the midst of managing it all:
- Create a ‘contemplation’ space. A space that invites you to be calm and reflect may be easily created with a cushion and one or two special items. You can use this space to begin your day and set your intentions, take mini-retreats throughout the day, and reflect and meditate at the end of your day. More on these ideas below. Research shows that when we return to familiar spaces or hold items that are associated with calm in your mind you more quickly return to a relaxed state of mind. This space will initiate a sense of peacefulness as you return to it repeatedly.
- Set your intentions: In the mornings write down the three most important things you would like to accomplish today. Think about something you really want to move forward on and one small step you could take today towards that goal. Consider some of the intentions you have had in the back of your mind and choose any one of these that you could get started with. Perhaps you have always intended to read about a particular topic, try yoga or meditation, or try to bake a special cake. Be realistic, but also be hopeful – and identify some do-able action steps.
- Take mini-retreats: Let everyone know that you have a do-not-disturb space. When you sit on your cushion (or chair or whatever works best for you) – no one is to disturb you unless it is an emergency (make clear what does not count as an emergency). Take 5 minutes to reset. Or even 1 minute. Give yourself a moment to notice your breath. You could listen to a meditation or you could just close your eyes and breathe. Ask yourself, if there is no problem to solve right now, how does it feel?
- Reflect on your learning: At the end of the day, come back to your space and write everything that you learned and your big or small steps forward. At first it may seem like there is little to say, but as you reflect, notice that you may have tried a new activity or approach with the kids, you may have managed a ‘pause’ in the middle of a conversation with a partner, you may have looked up something online that led you to a new learning. Write anything you can think of, and this process will reveal that every day you are learning and moving forward.
- Meditate: Take a few minutes to meditate –using a recording if you wish, there are many available for free online. If you don’t feel comfortable with meditation, you could also select a contemplative book and read a page each day (one book I recommend is The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo – with a reflection for each day of the year).
- Set up a family gratitude wall: Find a wall and use post-it’s or pin some sheets of paper somewhere within reach where you and your family members can add a note on one thing to feel grateful for each day. Keep the momentum going and keep adding to the gratitudes – the practice will change your outlooks.
- Breathe some fresh air. If possible, take a walk or go for a run to get a bit of fresh air and movement. If you have a garden, come up with some fun games or an obstacle course. In the least, open the window and a take a minute to breathe in there.
- Exercise. If going out for a run or walk don’t work, tune in for some online yoga – you could do 5 minutes or an hour, choose an active class or a restorative one. If yoga is not your thing, find an online exercise class, there are so many options available these days. Make sure to get into your body and out of your head at least once a day.
- Try something new. Once a day, or every few days – try at least one new thing. A new recipe, a new art activity, a new form of exercise or meditation, whatever it is – keep your brain engaged and do something you never tried before. Connect with friends to get ideas.
- Cultivate Self-Compassion. Know that we are all connected in our shared humanity. We all have suffering and joy, anxiety and excitement. We all want to feel peaceful, feel loved, and feel safe. In this shared experience of human life, we are all connected. Remember you are not alone. And do reach out whenever you need a reminder from someone else (always feel free to reach out to me!).
I would love to know how you are and if any of these ideas resonate with you! Leave me a comment below or send me a message!