Certainly, a lot has changed in the world and in our own lives in the past months. Our work and work spaces, our mobility and shopping experiences, our relationships, social life and habits around fitness and entertainment have all shifted dramatically.
And when our world is shifted upside down, when the ground seems to be disappearing underneath our feet, it can be scary, disorientating and challenging. That said, these challenges also offer clarity on what is important and possibility for growth and expansion.
Reflect on the learnings
With all our habits transformed, there has been this incredible opportunity to move out of our comfort zone (hum despite being mostly in the comfort of our home, strange paradox), shift out of automatic pilot and create new habits.
As we carefully take steps towards moving outwards again, it can be helpful to take a moment to reflect on the learnings from the past months adjusting to a new reality and rhythm.
The Covid-19 situation has been very much like a forced retreat. Cut off from external distractions, we were invited to pause, reflect, slow down, do and appreciate things differently.
This space to reflect has the potential to bring us in touch with what really matters, to connect to ourselves, our loved ones, our families, to heal ourselves and our relationships. To rethink how we live. To live in the moment, to recognize the sacredness of each moment, because more than ever we don’t know what the future will bring (we actually never did know but now we are reminded of this!).
There is an opportunity for us to awaken, to live from our hearts, because that is where peace resides. To come into being. The practice of mindfulness and self-compassion are powerful tools to do just that.
In need of radical self-care
Personally, I realised if I was to stay sane, healthy and in a place where I could meaningfully support my family and others, I’d better take care of myself more seriously. Of course, I am aware that taking care of myself is important as I am in care roles, as a mother and mindfulness coach so I do make space every day for the practice of mindfulness in some form or another.
However, I realised that what I was already doing wasn’t going to be enough to carry me through these challenging times. I needed self-care more than ever to be a center of peace and sanity: RADICAL SELF-CARE.
New rituals and routines
So, I created new rituals and routines to explore what that looked like. I started each morning with a walk in my nearby Vondelpark, coming back for a long sitting meditation or mindful yoga, sometimes followed by journaling.
During the day, in between juggling home-schooling, parenting and running my business, I took time for breaks and nourishing, creative activities regularly checking in with myself “how am I feeling, what is it I need right now?”. I did some dancing every single day with or without my girls which helped me be embodied, release tension and gave me a big mood boost.
I took up gardening and found taking care of our garden very grounding. I took time to cook nourishing food, with boosting the immune system top of mind. I went out to play for at least a couple of hours with the girls every day. I even started running.
I avoided checking in with the news or social media unless there was something I felt I absolutely needed to know or understand. I asked my partner who is a serial news watcher if I missed anything of importance.
I went to bed early, making sure that I switched off my devices by 20h. I ended the day with some reading or listening to something inspiring and a relaxing ritual, whether practicing a body scan meditation, self-massage, lighting candles, soft music, bath, gratitude practice.
What did I learn?
All of this self-care routine, has been a huge source of support and I’ve experienced these strange times as quite peaceful. Despite having less time to myself, I felt like I had more space somehow. I’ve been even more connected to my body and how I am feeling than usual and connecting more to my children.
Not having external pressures and all sorts of social and kid’s activities has been strangely relaxing. Of course, I miss giving courses in person and human contact and I am so looking forward to live trainings.
Creating new habits
What has shifted for you and what have you learned from it? What new habits have you consciously created that you want to hold onto? Or maybe you’ve not consciously created habits but have been busy binge-watching Netflix, that’s ok, no judgment here, really😊
That said it is never too late to invite the reflection in: what new habits do I want to invite into my life and nurture? Make intentions, write it down, make a schedule, remind yourself daily, whatever helps you keep these in focus!
Personally, I am really not a disciplined person and my motivation comes not from pushing myself but because I’ve experienced how great I feel when I do these things and notice the difference when I don’t.
Now and again I get caught up in less helpful habits especially when I am tired: mindlessly browsing social media, spending too much time on the computer without breaks or comfort eating – all of which makes me feel more tired. As long as this is occasional it is ok for me but I do less and less of it as it is everything but nourishing.
Make sure that the habits you choose are things you actually really enjoy and make you feel great, joyful and alive rather than things you feel you should do. Whatever brings joy and vitality to your day will be more likely to stick.
Just being sentient and in a body with the sun coming up is a state of rapture.”
Author: Marjorie Lumet, Teacher Mindfulness and Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting.
For more information on the courses Marjorie teaches at CVM: