This is a time where we need our health and wellbeing the most. However that’s actually BS because we always need our health and wellbeing, this is just a time where we realize it. Let’s be blunt here, we normally think we can get away with it, we can pay attention later, and we just don’t have time… Well now we do.
Time is a funny thing
Because time is not something we have or don’t have. We all get the same 24 hours in a day. It’s how we spend it that makes a difference. And not just that, it’s how mindful we are about spending it that brings us anything from efficiency, productivity, joy, wellbeing, health and down-time. Time is like money, it’s how we spend it that makes it matter. I know the old saying that time is money, and that has us running around like mad-people, thinking we are running out of both if we don’t keep up. But just like money, time is more wisely spent, when we slow down, pause before we act and then choose mindfully how we spend it.
The other thing about time is that we waste so much time not feeling good. We push aside self-care so that we can keep working, and instead we are unproductive and ineffective, because we don’t have the energy, clarity, and calm to work at our best.
When we omit self-care we cannot be our best self at work or at home, because we humans are always affected by how we feel inside.
We need care to be productive. Emotionally, mentally and physically. Just think about it. When you have a head-ache, when you are tired, when you have aches and pains, we you feel sluggish, bloated, foggy… don’t you also feel, distorted, unmotivated, irritable, unfocused, confused, impatient and even angry. You might also feel more depressed or anxious. We tend to push away our human feelings and emotions, thinking there is either something wrong with just us or it’s temporary so we just need to keep going, is just not working anymore. It’s time to listen. To ourselves. To each other.
Our health can’t wait
Especially in times where home and work is in the same place, the place we used to find relief after a day of stress, health and wellbeing can’t wait, you can’t wait and something like the Coronavirus makes it apparent to us that health is indeed the foundation for a productive, happy, thriving life. Even though this is not normal, we still need to get through this time in a healthy way. Our mental health is under siege right now and too often that takes a toll on our physical health too, because we self-soothe to calm our worries, anxiety and stress.
It’s time to slow down and listen to what we need right now and hopefully we will never go back to the way it was, were it was just about pushing harder. Hopefully the future of work will see the importance of our emotional and mental wellbeing at this point, not just our physical health and thinking that’s something that happens in the gym and optimizing nutrition only.
The shared humanity that’s growing in our awareness right now is a core need we all have and we had it all along, we were just hiding it at work. To be healthy we need to belong and feel safe and right now we have the chance to rethink culture and the way we work, so that our mental health at work is the foundation for our daily wellbeing.
Self-care is not about time
If you are in isolation and alone, and not working from home, you might find it even harder to create a daily routine that supports you, because time can seem like it all just blends into one and who cares right… no-one is coming and you are going no-where.
If you are working from home, and living with someone or have a whole family in the house, it can feel even more stress-full and that you have less time on your hands and to keep your emotional, mental and physical health intact it is even more important to establish a self-care routine and create healthy boundaries. The thing is, self-care is not about what you do, it is about how you think and feel about you. Noticing what you need and having curiosity, compassion and courage to be honest with yourself about who you are, how you feel and what you need. That’s how we create routine and boudoirs from the inside out.
Even if it starts with just small moments of power-pausing, where you can check in and ask yourself; “How are you today? What do you need so that you can…?”
The middle way
And let’s just pause and admit, that because the isolation isn’t by choice, it feels constricting and causes even more anxiety, because we don’t know how long it will last, we don’t know what will come after this and we don’t know what the world will look like. We are all challenged right now and so is our mental health, because we don’t know.
Can you be ok with not knowing? When we feel most powerless, it’s because we don’t have control over the circumstances we are in, but we can take charge of our self-care and that is one thing that can help you harness your emotional, mental and physical resilience right now. But just be mindful that this is not about getting it right or perfect. We put too much pressure on our self-care in general and think it has to look a certain way.
Community is self-care too
Stay in touch and be connected virtually with friends and family. It’s important that you do. To keep anxiety and depression at bay, we need to feel connected, not just to ourselves by spending time in silence just listen inward to our heart (not our thoughts), but also to friends and family by organizing virtual tea-time, dinner dates and just check-ins. Spend more time talking to other people than checking the news and remember to ask your friends and family too; “How are you today? What do you need so that you can feel just a little bit better right now?”
It’s the connection and relationship we have with ourselves and each other that feeds us and keeps us healthy. Nourish it.
Photo: Torkil Stavdal