3 Steps to Thrive In Isolation

As we settle down in to this lockdown period, I think it’s an important time to reflect and revaluate where we are in life. To press pause and think about what really matters to our happiness, and how we can create a lifestyle revolving around that.

In the absence of distraction and noise, and busyness. This is the perfect time to find out what we value and plan how we can cultivate a life of value when we emerge from this lockdown period.

That said, settling into the lockdown can be challenging at first, so here are my three steps to help you get through these changing times.

1.Build Structure Into Your Day

In times like these, it’s important to create structure in your life because it will being you routine and certainly. Uncertainly is what breeds panic so if you can start to make your day more predictable then you will start to create certainly in your situation. With that, you’ll start to feel more in control and thus more empowered – which is exactly what you need in times of uncertainty like this.

To do this, can you wake up at the same time, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times throughout the day? This will help you break up the day into chunks, then you can fill the spaces in between with work (if you can work from home) or activities.

I live with my flat mate and her two year old, so our structure looks a bit like this –

7 – Wake up, tea

7.30 Meditation

8 – Fitness

9.30 – Breakfast

10 – work/audio book (for the toddler)

12.30 – lunch

14 – Work/Play on the roof terrace

17 – Bath (for the toddler)

18 – Dinner

20 – Bed time (for the toddler)/Wind down – reading/watching a movie/chatting

We don’t always stick to this in a fixed manner, but we do use it as a guideline to help us manage the day. The aim of the structure is to create a plan in a space where there is no plan but we still have flexibility within it.

2. Create a Rhythm For Your Day

By creating a rhythm in your day, you’re priming your brain to build up and wind down depending on what stage of the day you’re in. The rhythm is what you create by putting certain activities into the structure of your day, and this is how you can set yourself up to win for each activity.

Using this technique will help you create a sense of mental stability so you can face any internal challenges that might come to the surface in your isolation period – you know, the times when you feel panicky because ‘oh my god we’re locked inside the house and there’s a virus out to get us!!!’ Or the times when you feel deflated and demotivated because you can’t do what you want so what is the point in doing anything.

These feelings are natural, so let them come up but do help yourself by putting the systems in place to help you throughout the day.

I start my day with a meditation and a hot lemon tea because this helps me wake up and get ready for my fitness class. The fitness class starts with slow mobility stretches and then builds up into a cardio workout – this builds up my energy for the rest of the day.

In the middle of the day I come out of my work rhythm to sit for lunch and connect with my house mate and her son – this gives my brain a break.

Then at the end of the day, I come out of my work space again and we have dinner together and then we wind down by doing activities that are calming. I usually finish the day with a mediation or listening to music because it generally calms my brain down, and I sleep better.

You might have a different rhythm but whatever it is, be consistent with it. This will serve you so much in the long run.

3.Utilise Your Physical Space

There’s no point getting caught up with what we can’t control – the ‘what if’s’, the ‘what they’re doing’, the ‘we should have’. Instead focus on what you can control, such as utilising your physical space.

A way you can do this is to create different zones for different activities, and then you can make sure that each zone has the appropriate set up for that activitiy

This is another brain priming technique to help you work the best in a zone, however it also can help you change your mood if you do it wisely.

For example you could have a quite/wind down zone which you only use for reading, meditating and sleeping. You could have a work zone which you only use for working and brainstorming in.

By using these techniques you’re giving yourself the best chance of thriving through the isolation period. You might even find yourself becoming motivated to do the things you’ve been putting off for years, or even to try new things that you hadn’t thought of before. If anything, I hope these steps help you centre yourself and inspire you to use this reset in the best way possible.

If you want the EQ tools to master your emotions and life an empowered life then, JOIN MY FOCUS GROUP FOR THE EMPOWER YOURSELF PROGRAM. The program is free and all I ask of you is to give me feedback and a testimonial. The group starts on Monday 30th March so you’ll have to act quick! Email me at shereen@shereensoliman.com to find out more.

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Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,

Shereen x

Why Our Wellbeing Should Be Our Number 1 Priority

I think there’s a common misconception when it comes to self care. That to honour our self care means that we’re selfish, and of course no one wants to be deemed anything as evil as that. It’s as though there’s a certain quilt of shame that we must adopt if we dare to put the wellbeing of ourselves first, before others wishes, or god forbid we put it before progression or the opportunity to create more monetary wealth. However, the thing that happens when we do this, is that we burn out. There’s an exhaustion, a break down or a halt to a stop.

I’m certainly feeling that halt today.

Ironically I’m building my business around self care (shameless plug here), and I’m trying so hard to make things work. I’m web page building, pitching, organising, marketing, all whilst trying to earn money from other sources and then create free time to actually try and live my life. Then suddenly I’m frustrated and exhausted. It’s something that I should have seen coming because I’m aware of this conundrum which is so prolific in our society, and especially so in the industries of care and wellbeing. But I didn’t, and it was only when my life coach asked me “And what about Shereen?” that I almost laughed out loud at the irony of my situation. The problem with this conundrum in care and wellbeing industries is that when the people who are giving care aren’t in a well balanced and happy place, then to care for others requires energy that they don’t have. That’s when they’re at risk of compassion fatigue – when they don’t have the ability to give compassion to others anymore because they’ve been run into survival mode.

Lately, I’ve heard from psychologists, ex-care workers and health professionals who’ve all mentioned that they’re exhausted from over work and extreme emotional stress. Some left their jobs and were considering completely new professions, such as working in a café for one guy – something where the only thing he’d have to worry about is how to make the best coffee he can in that moment. This means that people are leaving the industries that support our most vulnerable people, because if they stayed, it means that they’d be suffering themselves. And these aren’t bad people, they’re compassionate, loving, selfless human beings who are being exhausted to the bone because the systems which they work in lack the boundaries to protect them from becoming emotionally expended.

This isn’t just a problem in the work force, it seems larger than that, an epidemic that spreads across Western culture in fact. It’s as though there’s a certain push to exhaust ourselves beyond all measures these days, especially amongst my generation and the ones following. A push to succeed and ‘be someone’ and I feel myself getting wrapped into it, even in the realm of self care. To be the person who speaks out about trauma recovery without medication, to be the natural and sustainable self care person, to be the writer, the voice, the frequent instagramer of beautiful, thoughtful photos as though I’m some kind of talented photographer when in reality I don’t have a clue. And somedays I’m just tired of it. To the point where I think maybe I’ll go and get a job back on a super yacht where I can earn money, spend time on the water and the only thing I need to worry about it whether the boat looks clean or not – simple times!

It’s when I have these thoughts that I stop and come back to my self care regime and what I need to do to replenish myself in that moment. Sometimes that’s going for walk in the mountains. Sometimes it’s doing something silly like wildly dancing across the room to David Bowie’s ‘China Girl’ to amuse my friend’s 10 month old baby. Sometimes it’s simply lying on my bed reading a book, feeling the warmth of the soft blanket beneath me, knowing that I have a place to rest for now, even if the future seems uncertain. Knowing that I have the freedom to write, walk and sleep when I want. Knowing that I can have the tools and time to stop and take myself out of the hamster wheel to apply my self care before I get burn out.  That’s when I remember that I always have this ability to apply self care, that we can all have it. The trick to is to make the intention to do it and dedicate the time to practice it. To create boundaries in our life and so that we make sure our wellbeing is our number 1 priority. To respect those self care routines as though our life depends on it, because the truth is that it does. Only then can we move forward from a clear and calm mindset, and help others without risking our own wellbeing.

I wonder if things would be different if we, and the organisations that we work for put our wellbeing first before anything else? If physical, mental and emotional wellbeing were valued as the metrics of success rather than figures and progress? One day, I’ll own a business that does.

I want to create a world of greater wellbeing for ourselves and the planet that we live on. That’s why I’m starting an honest conversation about wellbeing; encompassing self care, emotional intelligence, body and mind awareness, personal development, and authenticity. If you want to learn more about these subjects then then head over to www.shereensoliman.com to find out more about the packages I offer.

Sending self care vibes,

Shereen x

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash