My first blog was called TinyTweaks. It was about little things we can do to make our everyday lives better. Fast forward twenty years later, these are the same lessons that have served us well throughout 2020. The learnings on habits that is a recurring theme on this current blog have also been most useful. Sharing practices that have helped keep things together for me throughout the crazy year that was.
Acceptance is key to movement. Choosing to accept reality as it is and not how we want it to be will save our energy. This finite resource is then better channeled to taking stock of what we can control and working on those instead. Accept then ask – what is the smallest action that I can do to make this particular situation even a little better? An expression of this was creating a “quaransked” as soon as the lockdown was announced. Calling it as such was a form of acceptance and having it as an initial working schedule gave me some semblance of control at the start when the uncertainty was at its highest.
Simplify your operating system. Having a home operating system that works for the family is important. This includes setting routines, time boxing activities, carving out individual spaces, setting expectations and assigning responsibilities. During the pandemic, we had no help so each one was expected to do chores and home tasks. One way we simplified was by setting just one major meal per day, lunch. Breakfast was bread popped into toaster, lunch was yummy and hearty but easy to prepare and dinner was leftovers or an easy wrap/sandwich.
Having a routine helps. A big part of a working system is the establishment of routines. It is a good thing that I have always been a creature of habit and somehow transferred this to my children. A routine gives everyone a sense of how a day will generally flow. It helps children to be independent and anchored. It serves as a scaffolding that guides rather than imposes. What is interesting about routines is when they turn into rituals that give joy to each day. For instance, the daily habit of making morning coffee for my husband has become a time to have a brief intimate conversation that sets the tone of my day. It is a respite before I dive into my back to back schedule. Also, a new habit of doing Morning Pages has also been beneficial in quieting my frantic monkey mind.
Delegate, trust and be okay with “good enough”. I am often asked how to achieve balance. First of all, I have accepted that there is no such thing. I also jokingly say that I accept mediocrity. I do so for things that are of low to medium importance. For those that truly matter I am quite exacting. In addition, focus on the tasks that give you energy and those that are of the best use of your time and gifts. If you can delegate or outsource then by all means please do so.
Practice strategic joy. Find deliberate ways to inject fun and enjoyment into your day. These things will fill up your cup so you can give more to those who are with you daily. Part of this practice is also choosing to ignore those that do not contribute to your happiness (e.g news and social media). For me it helped that I kept movement/workout as a core part of my day, in whatever format. Moving helped me experience and embody progress even if things may have stood still.
And above all, gentleness toward one’s self and those with us. We are all trying and sometimes it is enough to simply acknowledge that effort. So here’s to another year of continued trying and tweaking.