I had a number of other ideas about what I might start off the year with blog-wise, but that was before Christmas, you know, before the vortex of home learning opened up again. I know that many of you are parents of school-going children or teachers (I especially salute you if you are both!) and are spinning in there right along with me, so here we are:
The Home Learning Survival Guide! If ever there was a guide that should have the large, friendly letters spelling “Don’t Panic!” on the front, it’s this one!
Firstly, you’ve got this. Remember that you have done hard things in your life before, and you can totally do this hard thing too. Deep, slow breaths go a long way towards reinforcing that mantra. It is vital in these times of heightened baseline anxiety that we take action where we can to keep our stress levels in check. The effects of continual or excessive stress reach far and wide in the body and are completely destructive to our good health. Paying focussed attention to deep, slow breathing however is completely supportive and indeed protective of our health - it’s really in our best interests to take a few minutes (even 3-5 minutes) regularly throughout the day to focus on it.
Secondly, maintaining a sense of calm and focus over the course of the day so we can deal with the challenges of double-jobbing, having our ‘work day’ completely rearranged or regularly interrupted, coping with the emotional ups and downs of our kids and be OK with just feeling out of our depth is significantly more do-able if we can keep our energy fairly consistent. What we break fast with can set us up for success or turn the day into an uphill slog. Eggs, fish, porridge, soaked oats, nuts and seeds, avocado, plain yoghurt are all excellent things to build your energy for the day - you’ll be able to give yourself a ‘great work’ sticker if you can incorporate some veg (think green smoothie or steamed asparagus/ wilted spinach and chopped fresh herbs with your egg). Contrary to advertising, most cereals are a terrible way to begin the day.
Have you noticed your consumption of tea or coffee increasing as you’ve been more housebound? It’s so easy to make a cuppa just to give ourselves a little walk to the kitchen or to grab five minutes of headspace while looking at the view afforded by four different walls. Do make a point of mixing it up though - plain water, sparkling water, hot water with a decent squeeze of lemon juice, non-caffeinated herbal teas or a green smoothie are all great alternatives that work to support gentle detoxification, consistent energy, and a calm mood. If you find it hard to reduce your caffeine try drinking a full glass of plain water while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil every time you put it on.
I’m sure you’re just waiting for me to mention ‘dry January’. It’s a bit of a grind, isn’t it? If you’re well into the swing of it, good for you! Keep it up. If you’re like me and have found it to be more of a ‘drizzle’ (as my DH termed it) then that’s OK too. I’m focussed on an overall reduction in consumption and I’m finding that it’s actually much easier to stick to my goal when I’m looking at the trend of my progress towards it rather than a strict ‘meet the target or fail’ approach. If you do feel the stress mounting, lemon balm or chamomile tea are great choices. (Check out my post about how to drink herbal tea when you really want wine)
Look out for ‘part 2’ of this Survival Guide where I’ll discuss a few more tips to help you nurture yourself to best meet the challenges of this time. Right now I’m sure you’ve got stuff to be getting on with, and anyhow, we must be due another interruption, I think five minutes have gone by!
If you’d like to talk to me about your specific concerns for keeping your health on track this year then please do schedule a discovery call to discuss your goals. Working with me might just be the support you need.