Transitions – Staying Sane While Safe At Home!
There’s plenty to say about transitions… we are currently experiencing a unique time in world history where we are either forced into or being given the opportunity to transition pretty much anything and everything in our lives. And while some people already worked from home or homeschooled their children, there are dynamics for everyone that have changed in some way.
There is such a huge range of emotions around this that it’s difficult to just name a few, but we are all experiencing some of them. We may feel like victims, or possibly just feeling bored and can’t wait for the social distancing to end, or we may even feel like we are being given an amazing opportunity. No matter the case, as we are refiguring our days amidst this “safe at home” situation, we can make things flow by being intentional about the transitions in our day.
For the most part, we don’t think about or perhaps even know that we have transitions throughout our days. We go from one thing to the next and there are some natural transitions that occur… our transition from home to work might have involved some kind of transportation or going to a different room… we may transition from our computer to lunch by chatting with coworkers and walking to the same breakroom every day… we may transition from lunch back to work by taking a walk outside or calling a friend or partner… we may transition from one project to another by getting a cup of coffee or tea to bring back to our desk… at the end of the day, we come home and it’s time to eat dinner and relax and so on.
When we repeat activities and they become the normal routine, our brains actually wire in these transitions as “cues”. When the brain receives a certain cue, it knows we are going to shift into a certain mode or activity, like exercise or eating or working or relaxing.
So what happens when all of these cues are suddenly gone or changed? Well, some people are able to adapt easily, but most of us need to be intentional about creating new routines and transitions to create a better flow in the day.
In our current situation, it can be easy to fall into grabbing our phones to check the news or social media more often than we would normally because we just don’t have the same schedules and connectivity with other people and places that would usually occupy our minds. Hours can be lost there, so scheduling specifics times to check-in and then put the phone away is an excellent idea.
Here are some examples of transition activities:
Stretch like a cat
Walk outside and breathe the fresh air for a few minutes
Get a cup of tea or coffee or whatever suits you
Do a 7-minute calisthenic/bodyweight workout
Take a walk around the block
Do a 5 minute guided meditation
Eat an apple, orange or other healthy snack
Do a 1-song dance party
Write down 3 things you are grateful for
Brush your teeth and spritz water on your face
Go outside and “ground” (bare feet in the grass)
Take a 5-20 minute break to sunbathe
Watch the clouds for 5 min, see how many shapes you can find
Refill your diffuser and choose oils for your next activity
Have a detox bath: water whatever temp you like, add a cup or two of Epsom salt, a few drops of your favorite essential oils and a cup of baking soda. Soak for 30-40 minutes.
That’s just a start… I invite you to take whatever you like of these and create your own list of transitions that work for you.
Next, look at the activities you must do each day and then the things you want to do – do something fun or creative or relaxing each day! Now add transition activities in that make sense and work for you. It will take some adjusting as you implement these ideas and find what works for you and what doesn’t, but have fun and be flexible. There are no specific rules, it’s all about finding what’s best for you.
Here is an example schedule from my own life:
Brush teeth and wash face
Drink glass of water with lemon and take 1 TerraZyme
Let Sage (our dog) out & make coffee
Gently stretch while waiting for her
Transition: Take coffee to office, fill and run diffuser in office and sit on couch
Journal – Gratitude, morning pages
Bullet Journal – review day
Transition: Get out yoga mat
15-minute stretch or yoga practice (outside if weather is nice)
Transition: Put mat away, take coffee mug to the kitchen
Shower and get dressed
Have Breakfast, supplements and check social media
Transition: Walk outside and ground/ breathe fresh air for 5 minutes then go to office and sit at desk
Transition: between projects or work activities, 7-minute workout
Transition: save documents and close laptop
Transition: Go for 20 min walk, back to office and refill diffuser for afternoon
Transition: between projects or work activities, get water or walk outside for a couple of minutes, then back to desk
Transition: close up for the day, 7-minute workout, then tidy office
Tea or Coffee with family
Eat and relax – family time
Fun activity – game night, movie, talking and playing music on the porch
Clean kitchen and prep for morning
Fill and run diffuser in bedroom
Review day in bullet journal and plan the next day (calls, clothes, meals/menu, etc)
Get ready for bed
This is an example of a day when I’m really working on writing, online appointments, calls, etc. There are other days where I might just be in my office in the morning (capitalizing on when I have more mental energy) and doing chores or projects around the house or going to the store or something.
I really need those transitions and schedules laid out in front of me, and then I’m relaxed. I’ve said before that my brain does not have ducks in a row, but it has squirrels at a rave. No joke! My processing type is Abstract-Random… which basically means I’m very creative but I don’t naturally order information in my head, I have to write it down. My brain sees ALL the possibilities! LOL Also the reason my Bullet Journal is LIFE!
Choosing transitions and scheduling your day will help you tremendously and give you a great deal of peace.
A couple of pro tips on implementing Transitions:
Create your own personal list of transitions – start with the list above, if you like, and add/subtract so that it makes sense for you and your life.
Next, use Google Calendar (I like the colors and find them helpful) or a paper calendar with one week laid out by the hour. First put into the schedule your SLEEP! Really, this is helpful. Then put all the work or school or “must-do” activities on your calendar. Add time for meals, moving your body, showing/bathing, etc. Then look at any other activities you would like to do and add those.
Now you are ready to figure your transitions in, so just begin with one day. Choose a day and add transitions in-between activities that make sense and help you change gears into whatever activity it is that you will do next. You’ll want to choose things that you enjoy, that naturally flow and are easy to repeat. Try it out, make adjustments as needed and you’ll soon figure out what works best for you.
Let me know how it goes!