This picture was taken last year, and I love the expectation on the little faces looking at the beauty of the bright daffodils on a dark night. It is so symbolic of where we might be at the moment, looking for moments of brightness in times of uncertainty.
I have long been an advocate of the 10 minute holiday in a busy day, and if you are my client we may have talked about this. Many people will have cancelled, or be cancelling holidays in the next few months and so this post encourages you to be creative and write down as many things as you can think of that fits into the category of Four Minute Holidays and take one every single day.
This requires first and foremost intention and permission. Intention to loose myself for four minutes in something that brings me peace or joy, or that simply takes me out of myself and the current pressures for four minutes. And permission to disengage in order to do so. I’m going to give you some starters for 10, but hope you will populate the comments with many more ideas, which will allow us all to take a break regardless of the current demands.
Right now high levels of fear and uncertainty can ambush our imaginations. This is a positive way to reclaim our imagination if only for a short time! So here are some to get started…
1. Take four minutes to imagine the conversation of the characters in the photo
2. Seek out a visual image in your environment and simply go visit that place in your imagination
3. Sit by a window and feel the wind on your face
4. Listen to a favourite piece of music – and just be random and listen to something
5. Go and eat a piece of fruit with intention and attention to the smell, taste, texture, look and feel.
6. Draw a cartoon – no skills required!
7. Take pen and paper and just doodle
8. Take a walk round your home and look at the pictures on your wall
9. Grab a photo album and just have a look
10. Pick up a musical instrument and pretend you can play it!
GO PLAY – and let us know what you are planning to do or have done in the comments below. Really keen to hear lots of ideas on this one… stay safe.
I’m curious about what energises you – and I appreciate you may not immediately think of exercise!
At this time we may be feeling the pressure of the work we do if it is on the front line, or the lack of work we currently have to do, or a sense of our freedom being curtailed, or our struggle with getting no ‘me’ time, or indeed our struggle with working in isolation and feeling the loss of colleagues that brings. So this post recognises the differences between us.
In the same way we will be energised by different things. This picture is one of my favourite views – just looking at it takes me right there even if it is off limits just now. Perhaps the best thing you can do to sustain your energy levels is pay attention to what energises any human body… and also what energises You!
This could be a great time to start your Couch to 5K whilst the guidance is for exercise once a day. Just think where you could be by the end of 12 weeks. There is strong evidence for the benefits of physical exercise in enhancing mental health and re-firing the brain with good chemistry.
Or if friends energise you join Zoom or GotoMeeting or some other online networking service and have Online Lunch Times, Tea and Cake breaks, or a Family Quiz night as one of my clients has just told me they did last night.
We are also energised by quality sleep – so go all out during this time to establish the best sleep routine possible to get maximum benefit from the hours you are off duty. There’s a lot written about the habit of sleep and the benefits of sleeping well.
So take a moment and write down 3 things that you know energise you and make it a priority to find space to act on these every day this week. You could have an Energy List up on your kitchen wall, and I’d love to hear your favourite energisers in the comments below. Meanwhile, Stay Safe.
Personal resilience is intrinsically linked with the choices we make and the degree of care for others and self-care we engage in. Being mindful of our personal resilience is not a selfish act, and rather a preservation of our health and well-being in a way we can continue to support and care for others.
I’m curious about the Choices you have made today. At the end of yesterday my last contact with someone whose work centres around the current situation said quietly “It’s not a problem how late it comes through, I’ll be logging in tomorrow anyway”. This was one of the quiet unseen army who are working on our behalf right now, who made a choice that today would be partly about support to others although it is not normally a working day. I made a different choice this morning: to leave this Blog until later in the day, so I could take a break from the busyness of the last two days. So this is an invitation to you to be intentional about the choices you are making right now to balance effort with recovery time. We need both activity and recovery time in order to sustain our efforts.
Which takes me to the second work in my Resilience Alphabet: Connection. I cannot imagine how it feels for people who live alone during these times of staying home. However, I am certain there are many ways in which we can continue to connect with each other through the plethora of electronic means, but also by telephone. Some of you will know that I do a lot of work around Conversational Intelligence®. One of the foundational skills of C-IQ is Listening to Connect. That is not listening to speak, not listening to tell, not listening to ask…. Just listening to make human connection. So I’d like to challenge you to make a point during these weeks to give space to those you connect with to let them be heard and particularly for those who live alone, to give them the chance to express what they are feeling and thinking during the connections we have with them. And don’t forget to connect with yourself – for some of us this will be through reflection, journaling, writing poetry or just taking time to breathe.
So ensure you choose to create enough recovery time, and seek out meaningful connections with others… and yourself. Stay safe – and be kind to you
Most of my clients work in the public sector which means that many of them are at the heart of keeping us safe. For that reason I am focussing all Blog, FB and other Social Media channels on Tips and Thoughts on Team and Personal Resilience. You are giving so much at this time in striving to keep all of us safe and well. The Daily Blogs over the next 6 weeks will be dedicated to helping you keep safe too. We are whole people and that means we need to pay attention to our health at many levels, the most obvious being physical, mental and emotional. We also need to pay attention to our social and spiritual well-being which will mean different things to different people.
The hashtags I will be using are #resiliencealphabet #staysafe #fourminuteholiday and #bekindtoyoutoo .
So A is for Acceptance and Adaptability.
Let’s start with Acceptance. One of the quotes I had on my wall for a long time and I still think about is Control the Controllables. My spellcheck won’t let me have ‘controllables’ but part of being resilient in challenging times is working out what I can control and what I can’t. With a limited amount of energy at our disposable it is best we use it focussed on what we can control. Tantrums about what we can’t control can be left to another day. It is more important right now to simply be accepting of this and focus all of our energy on what will make a difference. Take a quick check on anything you are wasting energy on that you have no control over today. Pop it on the shelf and leave it there for now, and refocus.
That requires Adaptability. A flexible thinking style will be a huge help right now as we navigate uncharted and uncertain waters. We know that in terms of Emotional Intelligence, Adaptability of thinking and managing our emotional state helps us to manage stressful situations better. Some of us are naturally better at this than others. You will know yourself as someone who lets go of things really quickly…. Or someone who hangs onto stuff and ruminates over and over!! Adaptability is a learnable skill – so practise being adaptable and flexible in your thinking. There’s more than on way to do most things and more than one way to win.
Stay safe… and be kind to you too.