• charlottemheald

It's time to slow down and 'reconnect with home'

One week into our 'home isolation' as it's been labelled, and I reflect that while I tried not to have any expectations things haven't been too bad!



Face Painting Fun Day 1 at home together!


My 'bubble' includes my husband, three primary school-aged children and our delightful German Backpacker, Sarah who decided to 'isolate' with us. We are in the very fortunate position of living in rural New Zealand on our dairy farm. Our 'isolation zone' is around 500 acres - when I consider how fortunate we are to have this wide, fresh, open space to roam I am overwhelmed with gratitude.


How about those expectations?

For my own sanity and self-preservation, I tried to go into this situation without too many expectations. I tried to let my organised, planned and controlled self take a few days to chill, absorb and readjust. To be honest, like many I have spoken too, I experienced overwhelm and a sense of complete 'muddle' those first few days.

So I let go of the expectation that I would need to replicate school at home for our children - for one that was going to be a sure-fire way to induce further stress and anxiety. Secondly, I spent a few days reviewing what my capacity for 'work from home' looks like, whilst still being Mum 24/7.

Having released those expectations I took some time to absorb the new reality of our life. This was around the numerous 'what if's', how's, why's and all the possibilities that we haven't considered....


Here's what made sense for me

I have accepted this as a time to 'reconnect with home' - home being the beautiful place that we live and my lovely family. I have chosen to see this time as a unique and special time in our lives where we can slow things down, spend even more quality time together and focus on what really matters.


Clearly this has been a time for me to dig deep, stay strong, be true to myself and most importantly continue to live my values. A time for putting all my Wellbeing tools into action and truly walk the talk.


I choose to believe I am always doing my best.


My Wellbeing Priorities:


I consider all of these priorities to be essential 'Self Care', remember we need to first look after ourselves to be able to give to and support the other people and responsibilities we have in our lives. Fill your own cup first!


Meditation:

I have long been a fan of Meditation for giving me some 'headspace' and 'quiet' in my day. I have found it helps me reduce stress, calm my thoughts and gain clarity. This is something not to be overlooked or underestimated for your wellbeing at this time.

  • I'm loving this Free course with Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey: https://chopracentermeditation.com/experience

  • Insight Timer APP has some fabulous free meditations

  • Headspace APP has some great meditation training and free meditations


Sleep:

  • Good sleep is a game-changer and supports rest and repair in your body

  • Sleep is one of the best things we can do to support our immune system and reduce stress

  • Sleep Tips: Create a regular sleep routine, avoid caffeine after midday, reduce screentime (particularly in the last hour before bed), get regular exercise and fresh air during the day, use meditation and deep breathing to calm and relax the mind and body


Exercise:

  • Moving your body each day promotes good mental and physical health

  • If you don't use it you lose it!

  • Get out for exercise in the fresh air and sunshine for added health and wellbeing benefits

  • Consider your 'at home' exercise and movement options: Walk, run, use gym equipment, dance, follow an online workout program for Yoga, Pilates or cardio. TVNZ 1 is screening Les Mills workouts weekdays 9am for adults and TV 2 3pm for teens and kids. These are also available OnDemand.


Nourishing Food & Hydration:

This is an amazing time to focus on nourishing ourselves with nutrient-dense food choices - when available! I choose to eat for energy, health and vitality. I continue to eat foods that make me feel my best and support my immune system.


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  • Try and eat more than 5 serves of fresh fruit and vegetables each day. We have rationed our fruit while at home as the kids will just eat and eat, while I don't want it to be 'limited' as such I do want to know that the supply we have will last the week! We are eating fresh salad and other greens from our vegetable garden. Snap frozen fresh vegetables are a good freezer staple at the moment and will see you through if fresh produce is in short supply.

  • Make sure you eat your greens! Adding more fresh leafy greens adds a huge range of nutrients and minerals to support our good health and wellbeing.

  • We are ordering our Fruit and Vegetables through a local company who delivers, see what options you have in your community.

  • It is a good time of the year for hearty, vegetable loaded soups

  • Try and reduce refined sugars, these have a negative impact on your immune function

  • Try and focus on 'wholefoods' - foods as nature created them. Judging by my inability to buy the Organic Oats that I usually add to my trolley many people are making 'less processed' choices right now!

  • Consider your 'treats/snacks' carefully. I can appreciate when at home the urge to wander into the kitchen and find a little something to eat - purely for the sake of eating is very real! I eat 3 meals a day and have a few wee snacks in between if needed. I find that if I hydrate well with water I don't get so peckish - because often we are thirsty not hungry! My favourite treat foods are Lindt 90% Dark Chocolate, Fix & Fogg Almond butter with Carrot sticks and Proper Kumara Chips every now and then!

  • Hydrate with water - the single most important thing you can do for your health! Make water your number one drink. Fill a glass or water bottle and make drink goals for the day. Rule of thumb for me is to start with hydration before food and thereafter every time I pee I have another glass! If you're new to increased hydration take note of your clarity and mental function with more water onboard....


Deep breathing:

Diaphragmatic breathing is a life skill that is definitely worth learning right now! The way you breathe can have a profound impact on your bodily function and importantly your nervous system. Diaphragmatic breathing helps get you out of the 'fight or flight' response of the Sympathetic Nervous system by activating the Para-sympathetic nervous system (responsible for rest, digest and repair) and sending the message to your whole body that you are safe. Here is a fabulous YouTube video that shows you how to master your breathing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgTL5G1ibIo&t=34s

Take 'moments' in your day to practice this breathing and notice how you feel afterwards. It is a great way to slow things down and relax ready for a good nights sleep.


Connection:

I value the power of human contact as a social being who thrives on connections and bringing others together. To feel 'happy' and to flourish humans need to be connected. The word 'Isolation' while somewhat necessary to define the current government 'stay at home' strategy can be 'felt' quite negatively and has had significant social impact.

We need to prioritise social connections - more so for the extroverts but also for the introverts!


Look at ways you can connect with those around you:

  • Enjoy hugs (if you're a hugger!) and sharing kindness with those in your 'bubble'

  • Make time to chat with your neighbours over the fence

  • Connect with your friends and family via Messenger Video or Zoom. We have connected our family via Zoom and while it is a wee bit chaotic with children, it is certainly a lot of fun and keeps us united.

  • Make a list of people you haven't been in touch with for a while or those you've 'been meaning to call'. Plan to make those calls and use any extra time to reconnect and share the love.

  • I think that messenger groups and Social Media are helpful to some extent however there is far more value in picking up the phone or opening a video call and engaging in that 'real' human conversation.

  • Make time to laugh and share some humour! Check out my recent Facebook Post on this: https://www.facebook.com/WealthofHealthwithCharlotteHeald/


Positive Focus:

One of the only things you truly have control over is your mind. You are the thinker of your thoughts. Try and reframe challenging situations in a more positive way. Embrace a 'Cup half full' approach as much as possible.

  • Positive affirmations can support you with this. I personally love the work of Louise Hay, you may find an affirmation to support you on her site: https://www.louisehay.com/affirmations/

  • Gratitude: Creating a regular gratitude practice is a beautiful way to reframe your situation and honour what you do have in your life right now. It helps us reconnect with what matters and remember the good in our lives. I am mindful of gratitude throughout my day. Starting a gratitude journal where you record 3 things you are grateful for each day before bed is a lovely habit to create. We take turns at going around the table after dinner at night and sharing one thing each that we are grateful for, it is lovely to hear what the children value in their lives and helps us all gain some perspective.

  • Fill your days with positive energy, people and things that light you up!

  • Make time to do the things you love that bring you joy!


Routine:

Creating a routine whilst spending all your time at home is a great way to take control and create certainty. This will look different for everyone depending on the roles and responsibilities you have during the next few weeks. For me, this was about 'readjusting' then looking at what I need to achieve in a week and what is negotiable or less important. I have created a 'flexible' routine for my week that allows me to manage my time and have a sense of structure and accomplishment each day.

My routine has remained similar in the morning: Exercise first, followed by a hot shower and breakfast with my family. At the end of the day, I wind down for bed at the same time and do some deep breathing or meditation to help me relax.


Media:

Be mindful of the time you are spending engaging with the media. It is important we are well informed and 'up to date' however, we don't need to check our news APP every half-hour or tune in to every radio bulletin. Too much of the news right now can add to our stress, worry and anxiety. Stay informed but disconnect for a good part of the day to reconnect with your world at home. I have chosen one bulletin a day to keep me informed and this means I can go about the rest of my day more mindfully.


Schooling at home 101:

For me, this was one of the areas I have chosen to let go of all expectations. I will, and can only do 'my best'. We always laughed about 'Farm schooling' and now is our opportunity to give this concept a go. I don't believe our children will miss out if we choose to engage them in day to day home activities and farm life with a little added 'content from school'. My vision is for all 3 of our children to learn to be able to prepare and cook dinner for the family over the next wee while - life skills that will serve them well!


I have learnt over the past few weeks that when life feels more challenging than normal it is important to stop, breathe, and move my attention. It is my hope that you have read this blog and perhaps taken one or more useful tools or thoughts that will support your health and wellbeing over the next few weeks.


Take care and be kind to yourself - You've got this! ❤


Keep connected with my work via:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WealthofHealthwithCharlotteHeald/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/charlotteswealthofhealth/

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