This month's post is going to be a little different...
#COVID19 has changed a lot of what I do from supporting #repatriation writ large to really focusing on #forcedrepatriation or #evacuation. Last month's Guide to Overcoming #EvacuationBlues discussed the challenges we face in leaving and returning. While I recognize that many people are still in the boat of being #trappedintwoworlds I'd like to take some time to talk about how we survive the #limbo - what are actions we can take to find some #mindfulness and #recovery throughout our days?
I've been really honored to host workshops and talks on various platforms to discuss the challenges of forced repatriation - how we find closure, grieve, and move on. I've spent a lot of time in those talks also discussing how to be more #mindful in our day to day lives, boosting our #resiliency and making us better #preparedtosurvive the long-game that beating a new virulent, contagious virus will take. I actually started writing down ideas and developing graphics regarding #mindfulnessbites - short bursts of things to do for #frontlineworkers #healthcareworkers #essentialworkers. But in the course of conversations, it became clear that this was more broadly applicable to nearly everyone today. So, I've decided to pull out the main themes and drop them into this post. If you're wondering why I would have any reason to talk about this at all - I've included my story on how I came to mindfulness during crises below.
I would sincerely love to hear from you about what you've tried, what's worked, and how you #levelup when what you've tried isn't working?
Those of you who were evacuated are probably still in logistics mode - trying to determine what's next, where the move will be, when, what you need to prepare for, etc. You are probably taking care of family, pets, homes, and friends. Notice what's missing?
That can be particularly difficult in our crunched for time, focused on others situation. So, how can we get short bursts of recovery despite our schedules and other demands of our time and #energy.
1. RITUAL: During this period, a lot of people have talked about creating and sticking to a #routine, partially to support #productivity and also to help stave off #boredom. For those who continue to work, routine is less of a challenge than maintaining the pace of doing more in a more stressful situation.
Regardless of your routine, I advocate finding #anchors within your routine. Use things you do daily, even if your day-to-day work is different, things like brushing your teeth or commuting to find small spaces in your day to build in recovery rituals.
Rituals are about allowing ourselves the space to reflect and process.
By finding moments that are already built into our day we don't have to create time for mindfulness. For the pressed for time situations, this is sufficient.
Anchors are #reminders to tap into a different energy and apply some mindfulness techniques to support recovery and resilience.
ACTION ITEM: Identify 2-3 anchors throughout your day. These are moments ranging from 30 seconds to 40 minutes where you have carved out time for an activity that you regularly perform but might not require a great deal of energy nor the quality energy you might save for other priorities. Most people have an established morning and night routine where they can find anchors. Finding an anchor in the middle of your day is key to helping you stay close to center instead of off-center. This might be tied to a standing meeting or a meal like lunch. Your anchor can serve either as the time that you do something or the trigger to do something that helps you recover and build resilience.
2. RECOVERY: Next we take the ritual time to develop some solid recovery habits. To start, I'd like to discuss the #JohnsonPerformanceInstitute's model of energy maintenance. The idea being that while we say we don't have time for things, we only have finite hours. By #reframing and thinking about it as #energy and where we spend our greatest quantity, quality, and focus of energy we can #selfregulate in a way that is more aligned with our #priorities. #Energy4Performance or #E4P uses the wellness triangle as a model for this, but I've always used this wellness model as a more interconnected whole and with a toolbox/house metaphor.
What tools do you have in your toolboxes and how do they interact to help ensure your house is working well?
Think of yourself as having several toolboxes, each tied to a different part of the house
Emotional energy is your social connections - including with friends and family - and often defines the quality of our energy.
The mental space is where we focus our energy - whether that be in activities that we find interesting or new and exciting.
All four build on one another and can bleed into one another. For example, getting good sleep is an important physical requirement that helps us ensure we have an appropriate quantity of energy to apply to the things we care about. It can also help us recover from emotional challenges and feel better prepared for the day ahead. But largely, that's because we have a greater quantity of energy. But, let's say you #writealetter to a good friend reminiscing about good times and reflecting on your friendship. It is likely that this letter will include some #givingthanks or a sense of #gratitude for your #relationship. Your engagement with this person, even if not in real time nonetheless is a social one and therefore would fall in the #emotional wheelhouse; however, giving thanks is also part of our grounding and motivation - a spiritual tool. As you can see in the house diagram, all of them work together and some actions - like routine - allow us to create space to balance these and help them work in tandem to fill our house with joy.
ACTION ITEM: Identify or #baseline your tools. Just as you would when preparing for a DIY or #homeimprovement project you lay out your tools and discover what you have and what you need. Think of each wheelhouse separately to start with and identify the practices you already have that help establish a base of resiliency.
This might include:
PHYSICAL: 7-9 hours of sleep, healthy meals with meal planning and portioning, movement - working out 3-5 times a week, yoga, dancing, going for walks
EMOTIONAL: A regular call with a friend or family member that is fulfilling (not draining!), writing love letters, taking care of yourself by drawing yourself a bath or giving yourself a facial, getting in touch with someone you've missed and haven't talked to in a while...
MENTAL: Writing, drawing, knitting, reading books, learning a new skill, practicing a language, taking photographs, playing games...
SPIRITUAL: Writing in a journal or giving thanks, meditation, reflecting, finding alignment...
Anything you do regularly as a means to support yourself and recover are great practices that should be included in this baseline. Preferably, bin them into the various toolboxes/sectors as I've done here.
3. RECOVERY RITUALS: Now that you've baselined your activities you may realize that you have more tools in one area than another. Alternatively, perhaps you are depleted in an area and realizing you aren't really sure how to recover there. This is great! Even if it feels daunting.
ACTION ITEM: Use the areas where you feel you need some recovery and decide which one is most critical to replenish right now. Choose an activity that you will do within that wheelhouse at least for 5-7 repetitions during your anchor time. Start an action plan that identifies the activity, when you will do it, how you'll hold yourself accountable and how you'll overcome any challenges to implementation. For example, maybe you're going to use your nightly teeth brushing to reflect on five things that happened that day to make you smile.
Trying to find practices that fit into your schedule? We'll be dropping ideas every Sunday for eight weeks starting on 3 May 2020 @nextpat.us on our Facebook page and on Instagram. We'll follow up with a video on Facebook, IG, and LinkedIn (if I can figure them out) later in the week and actually practice the ideas. Follow us to keep updated and please join in the #conversation! Tell me what you've implemented and how it's going. What great ideas have you come up with - can you show it to us in a video or photo? Tag us to let us know!
4. KEEP IT GOING: Because ritual can be mindless, and we are shooting for mindful - put a reminder wherever you'll see it and check in after 7 or so repetitions. Are you still committing to your new practice? Do you need an accountability partner? Did your action plan take into account potential challenges and how you might overcome them?
Still trying to make this happen? Check in with us! Let's schedule a time to chat and come up with your action plan! I'll even make myself responsible for holding you accountable :)
Be safe, be healthy, and be mindful!