Guest blog by Sarah Mayo, Co-Founder of POINT3 Wellbeing, who explains that the current lockdown gives us a unique opportunity to reflect, recharge and reset.
Time is often cited as the greatest luxury we have. Something special and rare.
Now, time has taken on a whole new meaning. Whether in terms of our disposable time, or the point in time we now find ourselves.
Yes, you may still be busy. Juggling working from home. While Parenting. Home-schooling. Preparing yet another meal. And all the other household husbandry that is filling our days. And that’s before Netflix!
Whether you feel you have, or you haven’t been “gifted” time, it does feel like a moment in time to reflect, recharge and reset.
Time to reflect
It’s a time to reflect on what’s going on around us, on what we’re grateful for, how we work, connect with others and the world, and how we connect with ourselves.
And that seems like a good place to start. How can we help ourselves and our families recharge and navigate this new normal and all the mixed emotions that come with these difficult times?
At POINT3 Wellbeing we have a simple mission which is “to help people stress less, and smile more”, something we think is pertinent to us all now in some way, shape or form.
We have two foundational ways that we try to achieve this for ourselves, and by inspiring others – that of movement and mindfulness.
Time to recharge
If we start with mindfulness… we speak of this in two ways. That of a lifestyle, and that of a practice. The benefits of both are powerful and backed up by science.
When we talk of mindfulness as a lifestyle, this is about slowing down and generally being more aware and present in life. More aware of the choices and decisions that we make every day, and more present in everything that we do – from our conversations and everyday actions, to noticing our emotions or the surroundings.
When we talk of mindfulness as a practice, this is the focused action of doing something as simple as breathing, or as formal as meditation for a period of time. But it can also be the focused art of eating, or cooking, colouring in, or doing a jigsaw. Anything where you are totally focused on the task at hand.
When you are mindful in these ways, you can’t be worrying or consumed by anything else. You can’t be in two places at once.
A brief look at the science tells us that by being mindful, lots of things are happening to us on a physiological level. The simplest description is that the mind and body naturally recover from the effects of stress (e.g. high blood pressure, high sugar levels and high cortisol levels) which can have long-term effects on our health if not managed regularly. But many other things are also happening in the brain… which improve our focus, productivity, creativity and reduce our proneness to anxiety and depression.
Moving now onto movement, our second foundational principle at POINT3 Wellbeing… and one that we all instinctively know is good for us, but perhaps don’t prioritise enough in our lives. And science again backs up why this is so good for our minds as well as our bodies.
When we talk of movement, we don’t necessarily mean you have to be a keen athlete or gym bunny (thankfully in times like this) … it could be the simple act of walking, gardening or dancing, or the odd press-up or squat! We need to move our bodies as regularly as we can throughout the day to get the natural stress-busting benefits it brings.
It’s great to see people out and about over the last few weeks doing their one-a-day exercise, be that walking, cycling or running. Perhaps this has been an opportunity to remind ourselves of how important that exercise and the great outdoors is for our wellbeing and mental health?
Time to reset
While we adapt and settle into this new reality this is an opportunity to reset and build new habits into our daily lives. It’s thought that it can take between 60 and 90 days to embed new habits so they become a lifestyle… so, why not take this time to instil some good new habits into your life, habits that will stick and make you stronger when you come out of the other end of this crisis? To effectively embed new habits, all the behaviour science points to starting with small steps and being consistent. This is what leads to lasting change.
So, let’s look for the silver lining in this crisis, and take the time to reflect, recharge and reset for a time when life does return to normal (or a new “new normal”) for us all, one where we better take care of ourselves, each other and the world around us.
The POINT3 Wellbeing Hub has lots of resources to help you manage your wellbeing now and always.
About the author
Sarah Mayo is one of the co-founders and coaches of POINT3 Wellbeing, with a particular interest in movement for managing mental, as well as physical health. She regularly talks in the workplace and at events about wellbeing and finding balance in order to help as many people as possible to “stress less and smile more”.