‘Between siloed, tense work environments, the news cycle, 18-months of COVID and the revolving door of social openings and restrictions, we are expanding a great deal of energy, physical and emotional. Our bodies are in a constant state of stress.’ – Esther Perel.
Connecting with many of you over the last few months and reflecting on my own personal experience this last six weeks in particular, it’s clear that the uncertainty of life as we know it is starting to take its toll. I personally have felt a lack of inspiration, creativity and hope for making future plans.
As more lockdowns, restrictions and rules come into place this week, not to mention the devastating world news that is unfolding, I thought I would share some of the simple daily practices that are keeping me sane during these times of uncertainty & bizarre living conditions.
1. Make one small promise to yourself everyday.
This doesn’t need to be anything big or significant, somedays for me it’s as simple as putting the bins out, sweeping the leaves that fell over night, putting on the pile of washing I’ve been avoiding, cooking a proper breakfast or making one small piece of content. It varies each day depending on my mood and energy but the aim of the game is to set a task and achieve it. Not only does it prove to yourself that you can still get shit done but the dopamine ‘reward chemical’ released in your body will likely spur you on to do more than the one small thing you set out to achieve.
2. Find small rituals to change up your environment.
It’s really hard not being able to leave your home, change up the scenery, explore new suburbs or cities and find inspiration in new experiences & environments. It’s no wonder that so many of us are struggling to stay motivated and creative. Whilst this is out of our control for now, and we’re not sure when we’ll return to this way of life again, I’ve been taking note of the things I can do to change up my environment. Burning incense throughout the day transports my mind through smell, taking a break from work to sit in the pockets of sunshine when they appear, getting dressed as if I have somewhere to be, rediscovering forgotten clothes in my wardrobe and making an effort to feel good about my appearance makes a small shift in my mood from the outside and trickles inwards to shift my internal state.
3. Keep a to-do list.
Decision fatigue is real. Having so much time alone in the day sends my mind into overdrive. From trying to have a healthy morning routine, thinking about my next meal, managing a workload, checking in on family and friends and keeping up to date with the revolving door or restrictions is draining AF. Even if I’m not feeling like I’m getting through my to-do list, I like to rewrite it everyday. It helps to focus my attention, filter out the unnecessary tasks and concentrate my energy on what is important when I do sit down to get some work done. A clear to-do list will free up some brain space throughout the day so your ideas & tasks aren’t swirling around in your mind all day and will allow you to get to work quicker when you do find the time/inspiration to do so.
4. Set boundaries that are right for you.
It’s ok to put yourself first, say no to zoom hangs and not reply to text or phone calls. It’s easy to assume that everyone is always available when we’re in lockdown but just because we have 24 hour access to our screens and communication devices/platforms, it does not mean we have to be available. It’s not natural to be on call 24/7 be it for friends and family or work colleagues. I’ve personally set up an automatic reply on my email to relieve some of the self-inflicted pressure of having to get back to people. It has already done wonders for my mental state and I have found people to be very considerate and compassionate to the boundary. It’s a hard time to stay focused and motivated so protecting your energy with healthy boundaries is important and only something you can do. If you’re feeling drained or overwhelmed, take some time to consider what boundaries you can put in place to preserve your energy.
5. Grab the inspiration when you can & roll with the lows when they arrive.
This blog post has taken me over an hour to write. I’ve made two coffees and took a break to feel the morning sunshine on my face. It’s actually been on my to-do list for over two weeks and this morning I finally felt inspired and clear headed enough to sit down and write it. I also spent almost all of yesterday on the couch watching TV. I know a lot of you are experiencing the ebbs and flows of energy, inspiration and motivation day to day, heck every hour to hour. For me, surrendering to the highs and lows and allowing them all to be there and doing my best to not force anything has been the best approach. Again, it’s a weird time and not something we’ve had to experience before so instead of trying to keep up with old routines and habits, flowing and creating new ones to go with this new way of life is likely to take the pressure off. When the inspiration comes roll with it, when you feel like you can’t even think about what to eat, roll with that too. There is no right or wrong way to do lockdown and we’re all just figuring it out together.
If inspiration flows, here are some lifetime business resources to help take advantage:
- How to start a side hustle book
- Marketing 101 for your business ebook & workbook
- First Aid Kit for Your Business – video training & workbook
- StartUp Creative Podcast
6. Connect & bounce ideas.
On one of my good days last week, I was beaming with creative energy and inspiration. I was seeing new ideas for my business everywhere I looked. I ran with the energy, called a friend and fleshed out the ideas which evolved to something even better & more exciting and beyond what I could have imagined on my own. Regardless of the outcome of the idea, the process of co-creating with another creative mind energised me, gave me hope and inspired a new level of creativity. We’re not built to go it alone, it’s ok to ask for help and create for the sake of creating which is always better together. Is there someone you can bounce creative ideas with?
7. Stay present in the moment as much as you can.
In a time when a lot of what is happening in the world is out of control, taking time to be in the present moment is something that can help to quieten down the voice in our head that likes to continuously relive the past or worry about the future.
I recorded a video on Instagram this morning that shared some tips for coming into the present moment. It’s easy to be caught up in the social conditioning of obsessive self control, achieving and doing. Taking time to take some big deep breaths in the morning, a coffee in the sunshine or a walk around the block at lunch time will get you off your screen and back into the reality of the real world & what is happening in the here and now. Shutting off the mind and noticing the present moment will create more calm and control in your body.
Stay safe everyone & reach out if you’d like to connect for 1:1 business coaching.