Many of us are sheltering at home, and taking time to re-find a natural balance in our lives. While we are setting up new routines for our week, working from home, and even possibly teaching our children at home, we are feeling a bit more tired. We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) are searching for caring resources, tools and tips to help people in our caring community to be successful. One thing we want to make sure to touch on is that it is more than ok to give yourself a break! What does that mean? It means holding a compassionate space for yourself.
There are many ways to show compassion for others, but we often forget to show ourselves the same compassion. Doctor Shauna Shapiro, PhD, talks about “…three components that make self-compassion put forth by her colleague Kristin Neff. Number one is to simply to witness what we are feeling and seeing in ourselves; this requires mindfulness. We suggest taking time when you are feeling stress or fear building to meditate. “The second is to be kind to ourselves, approaching that pain with the intention to actively soothe and support ourselves as we would a friend.”
Last, but not least, is to recognize that we are all in this together. Each person needs compassion from others, and needs compassion from themselves when they are giving their all. Shapiro calls this common humanity, and thinks that this is the most important element to hold in our minds and hearts. “When we acknowledge our common humanity… we feel a sense of connection that allows us to practice kindness not only for ourselves but also for all the other people who are in similar situations. …And that in itself is healing.”
Self-Compassion is Born of Mindfulness
As mentioned above that starting a journey into self-compassion requires mindfulness. We can continue the cycle and strengthen our self-compassion when we are mindful. With this positive cycle we continue to discover reserves of strength, wisdom, and resilience. “This is one of the alchemical powers of self-compassion: It simultaneously soothes the negative and grows the positive.”
If mindfulness activities or meditation are not your cup of tea, we have another suggestion for our caring community. Try journaling your thoughts and feelings. Once you have those emotions out, you can better understand actions, like increasing self-compassion, that need to be taken. A tip from Shapiro that we agree with is free-writing. This is a writing technique where we try not to think too much about organizing our words or thoughts while writing. “Simply write from your heart.” It will amaze and possibly shock you when going back over what you wrote.
We want to celebrate self-care through self-compassion. Compassion is something we all need more than ever today. We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether home bound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before. All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.
Recently people and businesses all around the world have been restructuring their lives with the recent quick shifts to maintain the health of people and communities. Many of us are all settling into new routines while being homebound. One of the new challenges most of us are facing is how to set ourselves up for balance and success while working from home? We at Unified Caring Association (UCA) are sharing caring information to help people who are working from home.
The first step on this new journey is to create a productive and comfortable environment at home to work in. While working from home you will need a space to call an office. Set up a desk or office space to be your zone for work. Set up all of the technology and tools you will need. Some of these tools, like a laptop or printer, you might have at home or brought to us from our office. If you have a window, try opening it up for fresh air to keep you alert. A bonus to having a window is that you can look outside. Greenery helps us feel more relaxed and stay healthy. Lastly, when setting up your work environment, limit any distractions. This means turning off unnecessary technology, such as the television or silencing notifications for social media, keeping your work space clutter free, and letting your family and roommates know that you are working. Limiting the interruptions can help boost your productivity.
Scheduling Your Week and Day
Now that you have space to work and be productive in, it is time to set yourself up for success. Setting goals and scheduling your time becomes very important. (Trust us, it is easy to bake cookies while answering work emails!) Think about what days of the week you will be working; many of us it is Monday-Friday from about 9 am to 5 pm. Be sure to include untouchable days or days off to recharge and spend quality time socializing with loved ones. Goals help us plan our lives, and setting good goals throughout the week help us with our success. Goals also help us build habits. For example, setting a goal of taking a lunch break each work day to clear your mind, and say hi to your family. Each day’s schedule should include a healthy chunk of time around lunch where you are away from your office/desk and your computer. During this time you can do anything else, like go on a virtual museum tour with your kids!
An interesting thing that can be carried into each day is setting up a morning routine. Get yourself up at a decent hour, brush your teeth, eat, and get dressed in something other than pj’s to rev up your mind and get those brain cells going. Healthy habits help us feel in control and less stress over time.When you review your schedule for the day, tackle big tasks first thing in the morning. Maybe that big task is writing annual reviews for your team, or an important meeting with board members for a new project. Once that daunting task is over, the rest of the day will feel like a snap. The rest of the day’s schedule should be set up by grouping related tasks together. One example is to have the hour between 2 pm and 3 pm for responding to emails. Or 10 am to 11 am checking in with your team for the day. Overall, know your productive times of the day. Each person is unique, and setting a schedule should reflect that. One key is to adjust your schedule as needed; especially these days, we might need to adjust our schedule midday due to telecommuting or global events.
We are all being called to do extraordinary things for the collective caring of our families, communities and the world in response to the unique coronavirus pandemic. Whether homebound or providing critical services, everyone is stretched to adapt like never before. All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life is going to require new routines, resilience and compassion. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement to respond to local needs.