Practices for Living From Your Home
by Meagen Satinsky MPT, PYT
The world around us is changing in unprecedented ways. One change that many of us share is learning what it’s like to actually live from home or wherever we find shelter these days.
Prior to COVID-19, if you were lucky, home was a place to rest, recharge, be comforted and spend time, and share reflections with loved ones, either in our actual space or remotely. But when all of life takes place in the same space and with the same people, day in and day out, it can feel like a challenge just to be home. And if you’re someone who lives alone, the challenge also greets you each day, from a slightly different angle.
Now more than ever, home is the container that holds each of us, so creating and maintaining a space that will continue to support you is of utmost importance. This is especially true if you’ve suddenly found yourself at the ends of the spectrum — either with less or no work responsibility due to layoffs or temporary closures, or with far more. Below are a few ideas that have helped me in these days, and I encourage you to borrow what you like, discard what you don’t find useful and spend a few minutes to consider ways you can best support your own container.
- Get plenty of rest.
Living from home uses your energy and requires different types of energy than you may be accustomed to. Sleep is key in maintaining health and steadiness!
- Create a daily plan.
Before going to bed at night (at a reasonable hour), jot down your responsibilities and goals for the next day, as well as when you’ll take them on. Communicate your plans to any other people in your home whom your plans will impact.
- Establish routine, especially for the times of day you often wander off track.
The idea of routine may feel like a load to carry, so be realistic. Find out your most likely time(s) of the day or activity where you stray off track. Recognize that it will happen from time to time, and allow it, but create boundaries so that it’s not your new norm. For me, getting started in the morning is the greatest challenge on a “normal” day. Now that I’m home all day every day, I procrastinate more, thinking that I have the time to spare. I’ve found that establishing a routine to practice daily around that time of day/ activity helps me to jump back in with greater ease.
- Plan for distractions.
It’s not a question of if, but when interruptions will happen!? Have a plan for when interruptions come up, and you’re less likely to veer off course. Making rules for yourself, like only checking personal emails and texts during your lunch break, can also prevent distractions.
- Set aside alone time daily.
Even with all of this social distancing, quiet or alone time may be hard to come by. Last week I felt like technology invaded my home, and by the end of the week I barely recognized my own mind! Create an opportunity to be alone with yourself, ideally in a quiet space. Go outside to walk, practice guided relaxation or meditation, follow or count your breath, sign up for an online yoga class; there are many opportunities ranging from 2 minutes to 2 hours or more.
- Focus on sense perceptions and use them as reminders to tend to your body, your most precious home.
We’re all engaged on some level with our thinking minds these days…we have to be in order to stay current on what’s happening around the world. Whether we’re watching television, reading, or working on devices, our energy is moving outward and our attention and focus are on what is in front of us. It’s important to balance this constant outward moving energy with inward nourishment. Below is a simple practice to try:
As you sit at your computer to answer emails or hold your phone to read the days’ updates, become aware of your back body. If it helps, take a moment to sit back, close your eyes and bring awareness to the back of your head. Our eyes and mind are intimately connected, so allowing the eyes to recede back into the eye sockets and the eye sockets to broaden from side to side will help to quiet the mind. Feel each of your sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin/ touch) begin to move toward your back body and inward toward your organic body. Continue to scan down the back of your neck, upper back and shoulders, shoulder blades, back of the arms, middle back, lower back, buttocks, back of the thighs, back of the knees, calves and feet. Sense the right side of your back body. Then sense the left side of your back body. Next sense the entire back body as a whole. This may take a few minutes at first and with practice, can be done without even having to take a break as a way to help you stay grounded in your most valuable home, your Self.
Stay healthy, stay grounded and stay easeful in your home!