We’ve been living the new abnormal of the pandemic for over 6 months now. We humans are adaptable creatures, and we’ve found new ways to work, interact, socialize, workout, and entertain ourselves. We are constantly shifting and addressing the most pressing challenges. We’ve experienced a blurring or our work and home lives. And all of this has interrupted the rhythm of our days. I have talked to so many friends and students who just feel a little off, and it’s no wonder.
Establishing a rhythm to the day creates a structure that supports you so that you can focus on what is important. Here are a few ideas to get you back on track and in a mindful flow for your days.
Morning and evening rituals.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning and the last thing you do before your go to bed? For many of us, it’s watching the news or looking at emails. That takes you right into someone else’s message and priority. Instead, try doing a few things in the morning that set you up for a mindful day and a restful evening. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just something you can count on. For example, in the morning, you might awaken knowing that you will take three deep breaths, brush your teeth, walk around the block and then have a few quiet minutes. At night, you might take a warm shower and make a gratitude list before going to sleep.
Commute time, even if you don’t go anywhere.
Before we began to work at home, we had some time between our home and workday; now we have the 30 seconds it takes to walk from your table to your desk, if you’re lucky enough to have a desk at home. One benefit of our current situation is that most of us don’t have to be in traffic. And yet it is good to have a little time as a boundary between home and work. You can create a “fake” commute to give yourself that transition time. It could be a short walk around the block, reading or listening to a book, meditating, or anything. Then when you sit down to work, you know that is what you are doing.
Office hours and regular breaks.
When your office is in your kitchen or living room, you may feel like you never leave work. It’s up to you to develop boundaries to avoid burnout. Set your office hours, and don’t regularly work before or after the workday. Also, set regular breaks. The mind can only focus for 45-90 minutes, so schedule short breaks and take them. Stretch, drink some water, take a walk. And come back to your “office” refreshed and ready to work.
Tune in to nature.
The day has a natural rhythm to it. Rising with the sun and sleeping when the sun sets can put you in harmony and give you a feeling of being in the flow. Even if you don’t rise and set exactly at the same time as the sun, being aware of the cycle of the day can be very balancing.
There is still so much uncertainty around us, and we’ll continue to work through it. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to get in sync. Think about the rhythm of the day that works for you, and put some simple boundaries and structures in place so you can continue mindfully on your unique path, fully living your full life.