So...! How has the first week of 2021 been for you?
I am sure that pre-2020, life had already felt like it was a juggling act... what would you give to go back to that now? Now that you really are spinning more plates than ever before? As the schools are still closed and many of you are unable to go into work, you might find yourself juggling your job and children at the SAME TIME...(again)!!!
This is something I have already been doing for many years (when I am not in my therapy room in Kachina) with no help, with my supervision/mentoring work, or writing/printing teaching notes, or holding meetings with supervisees around the world, or taking client phone calls - all while cooking meals, trying to keep the house in order, and dealing with chronic physical illness. It is not easy and is very, very stressful. I used to think it was just me who found it tough, until the rest of the world joined in and agreed. While I can still get these things done, I can't see clients obviously, because the last thing I want is one of my children to burst into the room while I am doing Zoom therapy for someone who needs my full and undivided attention.
So, how can you help yourself when your flow is continuously interrupted, every 60 seconds? How can you calm that nervous system down again when it's spent the best part of 18 hours in stress mode with no time to wind down, and no official tea breaks like there might be in a 'proper' working environment? How can you stop the chatter in your mind that you didn't do enough, you snapped too much, you must do better, you aren't coping well enough? How can you bring your mind to a place of stillness so you can fall asleep easily? Here are some things I have done over the years to help me through:
1) Remind yourself that this is temporary. While we still have no idea exactly how long this will go on for, we do know that it will pass.
2) DO take breaks, preferably outside, no matter what the weather is like. Today, I went out into my garden, in the rain, with a big coat and cup of tea and just BREATHED and listened to nature.
3) Try to set a schedule for your working day. This is something I still haven't mastered and can still be answering emails at 1am (or posting on Facebook like I am now) and don't have a set start and finish time, but am working on it. Once you 'finish' work, try to make sure you really do finish, and start again the following morning. Keep a designated area in your house for work, if possible.
4) Get up, shower, get dressed, put your make up on, wear your perfume. I had a Zoom meeting with fellow BWRT supervisors yesterday morning, and it was the highlight of my week (!!) having a professional adult conversation and having something to get dressed 'properly' for, and really set my mood for the day. While it might have been fun and a novelty for many of us back in March to not have to get ready for work, it can take a toll on our state of mind. Get ready as if you were really going out to work and wear clothes that make you feel efficient, confident and productive.
5) Eat well. You are preparing food for the children anyway, so do the same for yourself. Have a healthy protein-rich breakfast that will keep you full until you need to cook lunch and dinner etc. Drink plenty of water - all the usual stuff we all know, but rarely implement!
6) When the kids have gone to sleep, do something for yourself, whether that is to run a hot bath with candles and music (or Netflix), or paint your nails, or read a magazine with a glass of wine. Make sure you have something lovely scheduled, therefore you will have something to look forward to at the end of a more-hectic-than-usual day. It will help. One of the things that makes lockdown difficult is not having anything planned - but simple things like this can really make a difference. Plan your evening!
7) Exercise. If you have equipment, great! If not, no problem! You don't need to have a fully equipped gym to keep active. There are literally millions of videos to follow on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook etc. There are countless apps and so much inspiration. Choose your time - whether that's 5 minutes or one hour - and notice the instant lift to your mood - it is scientifically proven! Add to that the feelings of pride that come with sticking to it, and it'll soon become something you find yourself needing to do.
8) Meditate. Like exercise, there are millions of videos, audios, and countless apps to follow, or just do it yourself. Meditation is like tidying the mind - you will be more productive, your mood will lift, your concentration will improve (essential for parents juggling kids and work) and you will be far calmer and less irritable.
9) When you get into bed, be aware of the thoughts running through your mind. I say this to all my clients, regardless of what they have come for help with. Watch the thoughts and don't allow negative ones to take hold. This is a critically important time, because your mind is falling asleep and can be highly suggestible, soaking up everything you tell it. Make sure those thoughts are positive - even if you have to make them up! 'I had a great day, I did so well today, I am proud of what I have achieved, I am feeling calm and relaxed, I am so grateful for my lovely warm bed, I am looking forward to waking up in the morning...' you get the idea. Do the same thing when you wake up - another highly suggestible time - train your mind to look to the goodness and you will find that you notice more and more of it as the days and weeks go by. We are not ignoring the fact that some days, everything is crap - but we are trying not to dwell on that and to instead, let it go.
10) Be kind to yourself. Some days you might want to just do nothing. If you can do that, then do; allow it, and enjoy it.
I keep remembering more things to include....
11) Homeschooling! Stick to the schedule as much as is possible. Teachers understand this is a very difficult time for parents and children alike. Get the kids to do what they can, help them with what you can, try not to get stressed or upset with them or yourself. Easier said than done, but all the above should help.
Take some time out for fun too. Take the kids into the garden to join you on your rainy tea break and some splashing in puddles. As I keep saying, we really do have everything we need within ourselves, to help ourselves. You can get to a mindset where you don't need to look outside of yourself to feel happy and content, and that is a really powerful space to find yourself in. You might actually find yourself enjoying this time with just yourselves. I know I do (most of the time)!
Please do feel free to message me here, or email me if you want to vent, or ask any advice. I can speak from personal experience! X
Good luck, you've got this!
#spinningplates #juggling #jugglinglife #homeschooling #workingfromhome #workingfromhomelife #lockdown