I’ve been sleeping in lately.
Normally, I like to get up in the early morning when everyone else is asleep. As a mom, wife, and entrepreneur it’s how I carve out a little alone time before the day gets going. I put the kettle on the stove and while the water heats up I spend a quiet 15 minutes sitting on the couch, focusing on my breath while doing absolutely nothing.
For years the kettle’s slow whistle would bring me back to the present and with a warm tea in hand, I’d write out my goals for the day. Once I had clarity on what I wanted to accomplish I’d dig into one project for about 30 minutes before making my way into the kitchen.
There, my husband would meet me and while he made our kids a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, avocado, cucumbers and blueberries I’d fill their school lunch containers with homemade bread, protein, fruit and vegetables. We were two adults quietly working side-by-side in a rhythm anchored to the belief that good fuel would lend itself to a happy, productive school day.
In today’s age of COVID-19, lunches aren’t needed to be made in the early hours, so I’m no longer waking up early. I’m staying in bed and more often than not, snuggling. Snuggling with two boys, 8 and 9-year-olds, who won’t want to snuggle with me forever.
I’m telling myself to cherish this time. And in the moment, mostly I do. But in the back of my head, there is a voice saying, ‘Heather, don’t be lazy, get up and start DOING. What’s wrong with you?’
Well, I’m somewhat surprised, but happy to report that I’ve been ignoring that voice—that I’m embracing the snuggle as my new morning routine.
And if you’ve been hearing the same voice saying that you should or shouldn’t do something, just because you always have done it or not, it’s okay to ignore it too—especially if it has something to do with sleeping in. I’m not advocating staying in bed all day, but a little extra rest right now will do your immune system well.
My thoughts about this pandemic have been all over the place. And what I’ve discovered is that thoughts running wild will lead to emotions running wild. And when emotions are left unchecked, life gets heavy really fast.
However, with a little bit of intentionality, we can experience the lighter side of life without disrespecting the heart-wrenching new realities for many around our globe.
So would you like to disrupt some behavioral patterns that are doing you and your health no good? Do you feel like there’s (potentially) no better time than now to make some positive tweaks to your lifestyle?
If so, the good news is that you are in the exact right place to change your life for the better.
Here are five simple ideas to help you rise up into your best self during today’s pandemic:
1. Feel all the feels.
Life is half good and half bad. It’s when we think that it should only be good, like a constant honeymoon of sorts, that we get into emotional trouble. Have compassion for yourself. We’ve never gone through anything like this before. If you’ve put on 9 pounds over the last three weeks due to emotional eating instead of facing the emotions, don’t wallow. You’ve just run an experiment and now have very powerful data. Lucky you, because you know that if you don’t make any changes, the same will continue to occur. So decide that the past three weeks won’t dictate your future success and that you’re creating a new future starting today, now, this very moment.
2. Create some consistency.
You don’t have do get up at the crack of dawn, but make your bed and do some morning stretches. Getting dressed in day-time clothes is is both simple and smart. I’ve moved from pants with a stretchy waistband to wearing pants that zip and have a button. Why? I’d rather not put on extra weight right now.
Know that it’s okay to find a new routine when an old one no longer serves. Decide what makes you feel good and then do those things. What makes me feel good? A clean living room and kitchen. These are two rooms that get a lot of traffic, yet because it’s important to me, they stay consistently clean.
3. Serve others.
Get your attention off of yourself, but don’t fall into the trap of comparison as I’m sure someone else is doing this COVID-19 experience better than you. Rather than compare, connect with others. What do they need help with? How can you show up for them? What matters most to them, today?
Personally, I’ve been adding additional value to my programs because I want my clients to come out on the other end lighter, happier and stronger than they’ve been in decades, regardless of COVID-19.
4. Find a silver lining.
Virtual family reunion anyone? Long Epsom salt baths? There are as many silver linings out there as you’ll decide to find. I talk to clients who feel they have both more time and less time all at the same time. If you feel like you have more time then read that book, write the poem, and make a few loaves of bread for a delicious pause and splurge.
If you feel like you have less time then slow down and intentionally decide where you want to focus your attention. Remind yourself that not all things on your to-do list are created equal. If you have the tendency to get spread too thin, find the courage and bow out of a few things. Life will feel lighter once you do.
5. Have some fun.
It’s not only okay to have fun, but probably even more important to your wellbeing that you do so because of today’s pandemic. We get to decide our reaction to COVID-19 and mine includes baking, dancing, board games, listening to happy music, sitting outside in the Colorado sunshine and revamping my evening skin-care routine so that it feels simple and luxurious. It’s not bad if you turn lemons into lemon-aid, and no one is judging you.
Is your health important to you? I hope so.
The only reason history repeats itself is because we keep repeating ourselves. So decide on a new wellness routine—and keep things simple. Eat well, move your body, work through your stress and get some extra sleep when you can. Don’t make it more complicated than that.
If you want to make the most of this time, disrupt the thoughts that aren’t serving you, create some new patterns, and let’s all rise up together.
About the Author: Heather Aardema is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach living in Colorado with her husband and two grade-school boys. You can find more of her essays focused on growing healthy and living fully at RootofWellbeing.com.