If you've been struggling (like me) to make sense of what's happening in the world and get a better sense of how to navigate it all, then the worksheet below will come in very handy.
The last couple of weeks have definitely been very 'interesting for me'. I've been through some funny ups and downs, trying to understand this new norm that has left us all feeling so helpless. And this is why I've been putting out so much content with helpful resources to stay calm and find resilience - as I've been trying to tap into those myself.
Anyway, it wasn't until a couple of days ago when I watched a video about the 'five stages of grief' that I understood a little better what I was feeling (and still am).
And so I thought I'd make some graphics (see worksheet below) to help illustrate this idea. Now you can check for yourself whether you are also feeling this way and maybe going through this 'mass grieving process' that so many of us seem to be experiencing.
Letting go of what was and welcoming what is can be a tricky process. Hopefully understanding the emotions and stages that lie behind this (as per the graphics below) might give you a sense of hope in this journey.
Yes you get to give yourself permission to do what you need to feel calmer, lighter and better.
The better you feel, the better all those around you will feel, because we emit the energy that we carry. How many times have you walked into a room and immediately felt the tension? You probably run out wishing you'd never walked in there.
Now, you can be the beacon for a different kind of energy and vibe. You can help others feel lighter without having to do anything for them. Simply do something for yourself that lights you up.
Taking action towards our personal wellbeing and sanity is a great thing. It puts us in a better state of mind, it fuels us and regenerates us and everyone benefits from the effects.
I know life feels complicated right now, but I invite you for 5 or 10 mins (or more, if you can) to do something for yourself. Something that will put a smile on your face and then take a moment to acknowledge how you feel. I promise you, it makes a difference.
Our physiology changes depending on the activity we are engaging in and the thoughts we are entertaining. So challenge yourself today - 5 to 10 mins of something that is just for you. Go on, why not?
And then it would be great if you could share what you did and how you felt - using the comments box below.
We may not have control over our outside circumstances but we do have a choice about how we respond to them. In this blog and upcoming posts I am sharing some easy to access tools to help you (and me) navigate through these tricky times.
1. Try out these great meditations and breathing exercises from the Heartmath Institute:
2. Listen to Elizabeth Gilbert's awesome words of wisdom in her most recent TED talk
3. Join Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 day meditation experience
4. Connect and have fun with your friends
Carefully selected links to help you stay sane during these difficult times.
"Everything can be taken from us but one thing:
the freedom to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances"
~ Viktor Frankl
Everyone needs to watch this. Such a wonderful reminder - that yes, we really are enough!
Watching this helpful video by Marisa will give you the confidence to say:
I choose to do ...
I choose to feel great about doing ....
And I am enough
Simple but incredibly powerful phrases that will crush those insecurities.
By Elizabeth Aylott Pope - Take time to BE YOU contributor.
It’s far too easy to reach the end of a busy day and to barely remember any of it. It swirls into a blur of appointments, mealtimes, childcare, housework, until you’re left wondering whether the day really ever happened. Not a single discrete instant stands out in your mind because it all moved by so fast. It feels like you’re losing the moments of your life – especially those precious few moments of “me-time” - in the tidal wash of days.
If you want your moments back, you can have them. Life moves quickly, but you still can live and remember it. It’s a matter of mindfulness, as so many things are, and a simple trick we like to call “name your moment.”
You will get so much more out of the time you can devote to yourself if you soak it in – sounds, sights, smells and emotions. Whether the moment is a cup of coffee or quiet time while your children nap or play, naming it will help you remember and appreciate it. It’s as simple as saying it, to yourself or out loud: “This is my time to …”
Starting the morning naming your moments can set the tone for the rest of the day. Try it over your cup of tea, or in the shower, or while making breakfast for the family. Take a breath, listen, and say to yourself (or out loud!): “This is my moment to breathe and get a shower.” Feel the water on you, close your eyes for a moment, and be present.
You are probably having these moments already and the pace of life simply causes them to blur into the surrounding haze of chores and tasks. For instance, if you're playing with your children, you have the chance to be present and say out loud "this is my one hour to play with my kids". Then, because you were fully aware that you were in fact playing with them, later on you are able to take a 15-minute break with a cup of tea guilt-free. When you do enjoy that cup of tea, say to yourself the same words “this is my time - these are my 15 minutes to enjoy my drink and have a read.”
By the time the day has ended you'll realise that you have not only accomplished a lot of different things, but, more importantly, you have lived.
Separating out your experiences so the lovely, daily treasures stand out, helps you slow down your internal experience of life, even when the outside pace is moving as quickly as ever. It’s not about checking off the boxes; it’s about being there for the moments of your life, naming and enjoying them.
© 2016 Take time to BE YOU.com
By Elizabeth Aylott Pope.
If you’re a parent, especially a mum, and you’re breathing, you probably feel guilty about something. Whether it’s about keeping the house clean enough, working or not working, breast or bottle feeding, how much time the kids spend in front of the TV, whether they have too many or too few toys… the list is never-ending. Whatever choice you make as a mother seems to generate guilt.
It’s hard to escape the image of the Mother we SHOULD be that takes up residence in our minds, and to constantly compare ourselves to this ideal. How do we ever measure up? The answer is not to become a perfect, flawless, domestic goddess, Stepford wife and Mum Machine. The answer is to learn to let go a little, and recognise guilt for what it is, and what it is not.
At root, guilt is simply a feeling, along with the hundreds of others we feel on a given day. Like any other emotion, guilt is valid, and can be useful when addressed mindfully. We can learn from it, rather than let ourselves be controlled by it.
When guilty thoughts pass through your mind, you get to choose what to do with them. Sometimes, guilt can point the way to what you value. It always shows that you care. Let yourself feel what you feel, then ask yourself three questions:
1. Did you really do anything wrong?
Giving an extra hour of TV time so you can take a bath = not wrong. Remember the airplane adage: You need to put your own oxygen mask on so you can take care of others. Ask yourself, if my best friend told me she felt guilty over X, would you think it was justified? Probably not.
2. Could you actually control the outcome?
You can get your child to brush their teeth, but cavities still happen. There are simply things that are out of the most caring mother’s control.
3. Does it matter?
Mismatched socks, toys on the floor, disagreements… these are all normal parts of life. If you and your children are relatively uninjured and still speaking to each other at the end of the week, you’re doing your job.
Now that you’ve put your guilt into perspective, turn to it as a friend. Truly. What is your feeling trying to tell you?
In sum: You care. You feel guilt. Let yourself feel it. Ask yourself whether it’s warranted, and what it’s telling you. Take care of yourself, and remember you’re not alone.
© Take time to BE YOU.com
What works best?
By Elizabeth Aylott Pope.
When was the last time you did ONE thing? Can you even remember? Most of us – especially mums – are constantly doing everything simultaneously, simply because there is So. Much. To. Do. We feel that to be productive we have to be answering emails, cooking dinner, talking to the kids and cleaning the house at the same time or it simply won’t all get done.
But current research shows that there are definite costs to multi-tasking. First off, it’s not really multi-tasking. You may feel that you are doing it all at once, but in reality you’re “switch tasking” or “serial tasking.” That means that you are shifting gears between tasks and actually losing time and focus each time you do. You waste energy because you have to remember what you were doing and what you wanted to do next, incurring “switching costs.” The American Psychological Association’s research says this can add up to a task taking 40% longer.
It’s also more stressful. And you never really get in the zone for any activity! Plus, multi-tasking requires a lot of working memory – think of it as temporary brain storage – which takes away from our ability to think creatively because essentially there’s no more room to work.
Good news: there ARE areas where you can background task. This isn’t the same as serial/multi-tasking. Background tasking means you do two activities, but only one requires mental engagement. The other is entirely automatic and routine, and/or uses completely different brain processing - like listening to music and folding laundry.
This means that you can divide and conquer, combining background tasking with single tasking to get everything done more efficiently, while also maintaining your sanity and the quality of your relationships. If, for example, your me-time today is going to be reading a book, then don’t try and multi-task with something else. You simply won’t get much out of your down time because it won’t truly be your time. And ask yourself: can you really listen to your kids or spouse while writing an email? No. You can put the washing on, boil the kettle and listen to the news, though! Place the line between the things that you do that make you feel fulfilled or require true concentration, and simple household tasks.
Here are a few simple ideas to help you get there:
1. Make a list of your top priorities for the day. Try to keep the big ones down to a top three that you choose to focus on exclusively while doing them.
2. Use routine to your advantage. If the household runs on a particular schedule that doesn’t require constant thought, it frees up whole sections of your brain!
3. Ask for and accept help from others. Find ways for your spouse and kids to pitch in, even in simple tasks. Everything that comes off your plate is a win.
4. Separate out activities best done while kids are asleep. This might be tasks that require concentration, or give you the most pleasure when you can focus on them.
5. Practise mindfulness. Especially with things that delight you. You’ll get more out of every moment of me-time if you’re truly present for it.
• Today, I give myself permission to...
• Finding calm and building resilience.
The SANITY kit
• What's underneath your mask.
• Putting mum guilt in its place.
• Strategies for sticking with online learning.
• Multitasking vs. Single tasking.
• How to find your way back to work.
• 4 top tips for reclaiming your morning routine.
• How to become successful in 8 steps.