Self Care In Turbulent Times
The past two years have not been easy on anyone, in one way or another there is not a person on the planet that has not been impacted by the pandemic and its consequences. This blog is all about self care and finding reprieve, even in small ways, from the stress and the struggles of every day life, and finding joy in the little things.
I’ll be sharing the ways I’ve found self care, mindfulness and gratefulness during this stressful time, what I’ve been doing and how you can introduce small changes that will boost your mood and appreciation for the little things.
With the accessibility of news these days, it can be difficult to switch off from the constant, often ominous, updates that are just a click and a refresh away. I like to stay updated with what’s going on in the world, but I found myself checking for updates just a little too much, and I could feel the impact it was having on my state of mind.
Last year I started knitting, crocheting and sewing as a form of self care and the benefits of my new hobbies have been profound. I started simply because I wanted a hobby that was in no way connected to technology, to help me disconnect from work/information and reconnect to myself. I started with knitting, buying a pair of needles and a ball of yarn and from that moment I was hooked! I’m now sewing my own clothes, crocheting cardigans and knitting new projects all the time! If you find yourself feeling worried and stressed and you have an inkling it’s because you are constantly connected to devices, I highly recommend pursuing a creative outlet, you might just discover a new love!
This one is quite simple, in fact I want to keep all of these simple because otherwise they just don’t become a part of your life. I have made a habit of writing down three things each night to be grateful for. It takes me only a minute or two and it is the full extent of my journaling, but I really have noticed with consistency that I’ve been sleeping much better and I’ve been happier too!
The one caveat is that I cannot write the same thing twice, I have to come up with three new things every single day. It can be challenging at first, but you soon realise there is SO much to be grateful for if you really stop to think.
Mindfulness doesn’t need to be complicated, nor does it have to be an effort. It’s just about being in the moment, noticing the sounds around you, the things you can see, the sensations you can feel and just immersing yourself in the moment. Just start by practicing with your morning coffee/tea. Sit down and notice the smell, the taste, the warmth, even the sounds you can hear around you, how you feel while you are sitting with your drink, just everything you can about the moment.
If you need more guidance with being mindful, try our mindfulness meditation along with our other guided meditation videos to help you stay in the moment and train your brain to experience each moment more thoroughly without flicking between the past and the future. Click the thumbnails below to check them out:
Getting enough rest and rejuvenation has been the most difficult for me, as a working mum I’m sure many of you can agree that sleep has to take a back seat to get things done! Slowly, and mostly due to compulsory lockdowns, I’ve been learning not to over-schedule, enjoy downtime, and not to feel guilty about saying “no, thank you”. Stress, pressure and overdoing it can manifest itself not only mentally, but physically too. Running yourself into the ground will catch up with you eventually and you will be forced to slow down due to injury or feeling unwell.
I have started to combat this by being very deliberate with my time. I no longer have any social media apps on my phone, this isn’t necessary but it was a personal choice I made to minimise time on my phone. I use that time to put back into getting more work done, enjoying my hobbies, time with Olivia…it really is amazing how much more time you have when needless distractions are eliminated. I use Instagram and Facebook on my computer to socialise with members, see your workout posts and interact with our community, it’s much more enjoyable and I don’t find myself getting caught up in the app. This might not be for everyone, but if this resonates with you I highly recommend it.
On the other end of the spectrum, I have realised the importance of socialising and having a support network around you. As well as catching up with my wonderful PBL community online (you are truly all incredible) I’ve also been more diligent about catching up with a friend when it’s possible (and safe) and going for more walks/coffees and talks. Along with everything else I have spoken about, it’s truly about finding your own personal balance, what makes you feel happy and supported without feeling burnt out.
Finding time to get out in the fresh air and go for a walk with friends is truly good for the soul, if you can do this where you live I highly recommend it.
Exercise should be for pleasure, it’s something that should be enjoyed, and not something you think of as hard or a chore, it’s time for you. For me, I love getting on my reformer, doing Pilates mat work (especially during this month’s Fit & Focussed Challenge), yoga and outdoor walking. Even before the pandemic, I’ve always been a HUGE fan of at home workouts, so much so that I’ve built my life and career around them! The convenience and accessibility is something I’ve a huge advocate of, and I feel passionate about sharing the life changing benefits with all of you.
If you want to try our at home workouts, you can try your first month for 50% off with code NEWMEMBER at the checkout, click here to check it out.
Being On Schedule
Even during the most challenging of times, having small daily rituals can anchor you back to the present moment, reduce anxiety and stress and give you a sense of accomplishment, comfort and productivity, which I’ve found to be excellent for my happiness. This is a small example of my VERY simple daily habits, it’s not an extensive list and it’s as basic as can be, but it is easy to stick to and that is what matters to me. Your schedule will look different to mine, but it might give you some inspiration to introduce a very easy-to-follow routine:
6am: Exercise for 40 minutes.
6:40 am: shower/get ready.
7 am: morning coffee.
That’s it! That is my core routine. I don’t commit to anything else, over complicate it or over do it. If I want to do other things I do, but if I can check those three things off then I feel accomplished and relaxed for the morning.
6pm: Cook dinner (I make it enjoyable by watching a series or playing music.)
7:30pm: Bath Olivia/get ready for bed
8pm: Bed/write down 3 things to be grateful for.
Again, very simple and it just covers the basics, but it truly works for me. It is encouraging to follow something so simple, and I hope this gives you the motivation to introduce your own routine too.
I really appreciate beautiful things, not expensive things, but just things that are lovely to look at or have around me. I have a special tea cup that I use, I grow hydrangeas because I love how fresh flowers look in a vase, I love having scented candles burning…just small things that make my home feel more comfortable and more beautiful. I love art too, adding pieces that make me and my family happy when we see them is important. I encourage you to find small things that bring you joy and introduce them into your day, it’s amazing what a difference it can make!
What have you been doing to look after yourself during this time? I always love hearing from you! x Lisa