Gentle intentions for tough times.

What strange and scary times these are. It feels like we were just reaching the end of a long damp and gloomy winter when these new dark clouds gathered.

How are you holding up?

I think like most I’ve been going through a rollercoaster of emotions these last few weeks. Swinging from being very anxious and sad to feeling calm and even quite joyful at points. Mostly I feel very lucky and grateful – for our home, for my husband’s job, that right now we’re healthy and for the sunshine…thank goodness for the sunshine!

It’s hard to believe we’re only a quarter of the way through the year. Doesn’t new year feel like such a long time ago? What with having a baby I chose not to set any goals at the beginning of 2020, wanting to ease myself into the year and allow time to adjust to becoming a mother of two. I figured I’d check in with myself in the springtime and see where I stood. But Spring looks rather different than I could have imagined this year.

So instead of making any goals at this stage, I’m setting some gentle intentions for the coming weeks or months. They are intentions set during a lockdown during a very uncertain time but also they are things I’d like to cultivate in my life global pandemic notwithstanding…

Lean into the things that keep me grounded.

There has been a lot of talk online about using this time to develop a new skill and pick up new hobbies. The notion that we should be using our time in lockdown to be productive is wholly unhelpful, I don’t know about you but I certainly don’t have any more time on my hands.

So instead I’m leaning hard into the things that I already know will make me feel grounded and content. For me, that’s been cooking and baking with my toddler, meditation, journalling, photography, and mostly just homemaking – making the space we’re spending so much time in feel comfy and calm.

Less mindless scrolling.

I’m sure like many I’ve spent to much time on news sites recently and the correlation between my time spent on those and my anxiety levels is clear. And it’s not just the news. Since the pandemic hit I’ve found myself spending a lot more time on Facebook, which is a channel I barely ever use these days. On one hand, it’s nice to feel connected to the local community, but the inevitably strong opinions and bickering in post comments – about things like whether or not people are using local green spaces appropriately – is just draining.

Although I’ve loved the community and creativity on Instagram recently, even here I can feel myself being very mindless and unintentional with my time. So less scrolling it is!

I’m currently to experiment with setting myself limits on my screen time to see what works and feels good.

Feel out a rhythm.

For me, this seems like the ideal time to carve out a simple family rhythm. The lack of groups, play dates and other activities are giving me the chance to figure out what works best for our little family when keeping things as simple as possible.

Right now, of course, my focus is to keep things feeling good for us during this period of lockdown. Over the last few weeks, as we’ve adjusted to my husband now working from home new habits have emerged and slowly become touchstones in our day. On the whole, it’s working for us but I want to bring some extra intentionality around planning our rhythm to help our days flow nicely and be sure to include a good balance of activities.

Cultivate plenty of (self) compassion.

If there’s one thing I’m sure we all need in abundance to get us through this tough time it’s compassion – for our partners, kids, neighbours, communities and also importantly for ourselves.

Patience, kindness and compassion are traits many of us value and aspire to, but I’ll be honest putting these things into practice doesn’t always come easily for me. Especially in stressful times. There have been days over the last few weeks when it’s all got a bit much but I’m trying to come back to compassion when things get tough: Allowing space for things to be messy and confusing, lower my expectations, accepting that there’s no “perfect” way to navigate life during this pandemic and that there’s definitely no perfect way to parent through it.

If you’re inspired to set some gentle intentions of your own, I’d recommend asking yourself a few questions, you can spend some time journaling or just sit with these: What do you need to keep yourself feeling centred during this time? What can you let go of? What’s feeling like your biggest struggle right now? Are there any changes you can make that will help with this? Remember to stay rooted in kindness, the idea is to cultivate a little more ease and flow rather than give yourself something else to worry about. I always find spending some time to set intentions like these really helps to remind me what is most important when tiredness and anxiety threaten to take over.

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