For many, this year – with all its ups and downs – has brought a lot more home time – for the entire family. You may have had to make some serious adjustments, including staying properly connected to work or to your clients or customers while working from home; adapting your business or work responsibilities to an online environment; and spending a lot more time than ever before with your kids and/or partner, who are likely home a lot more too.
The various stages of lockdown may have brought many benefits, including possibly deeper connections formed at home, a re-evaluation of your priorities and maybe even a few new hobbies. But it has no doubt also brought a few challenges; I know that many people are feeling like they are on a bit of a roller coaster ride of emotions – the “coronacoaster” as I have seen it called. And many are feeling like the year is just running away with them and that they’ve lost a sense of “self”.
Perhaps this is because we suddenly found ourselves in a world where “normal” didn’t apply, and we weren’t doing our usual things, with the usual people. And perhaps also because we have become intimately acquainted with every inch of our homes (and our family members!)
If you’re feeling a bit disconnected from yourself, maybe it’s time to make a concerted effort to practise more self-care, and to reconnect in a way that recharges you for a happy, healthy and connected rest-of-year.
Here are a few steps to reigniting your connection to self:
When you start to initiate acts of self-care, you may find yourself having to set boundaries with yourself and with others. Be prepared to – gently – assert yourself from time to time as you set and honour these boundaries.
It may be, for instance, that now that you’re working from home, you find that starting work later and working a bit later into the evening is ideal for you. Don’t be afraid to renegotiate your working hours. Everyone will benefit if you are working in the most productive times for you. Or perhaps you have found yourself becoming the chief cook and bottle washer since lockdown began and you need to re-establish the house rules.
Think about what boundaries you might need to set to make your life a little easier from day-to-day and then communicate with the people who may be affected. Remember that relentless giving over time increases your vulnerability to burnout, exhaustion and resentment – towards those very people you hold dear. In order to be able to give generously and consistently to others, it’s essential that you feed and nourish your whole ‘self’ too. There is space in life for both!
Once you’ve established your boundaries and are ready to commit to taking time for yourself, think of some things you can do to truly nurture yourself. This could include long bubble baths, journaling or meditation, or maybe just a quiet hour or two with a good book and a pot of tea. Think of how you would pamper a good friend or loved one… With a massage voucher? A spa treatment? A bunch of fresh flowers? Do it – but for you!
What makes your soul soar and your heart sing? Do more of that. It could be taking nature walks alone, visiting an art gallery, dancing or doing crafts with your children. It may be lunch with your besties or sculpting with clay. It’s different for everyone and you will know what your “things” are because of how you feel while (and after) doing them – fulfilled, joyful, inspired and connected to yourself!
It’s important as you embark on this journey of self-connection to remember that self-care is not selfish; in fact, one might argue that not taking care of yourself is more of a selfish act, as being connected with yourself makes you happier, lighter, more productive and more connected to the people around you, whether at work or at home.