When things feel uncertain, we look for any remote possibility that things are OK—that things are stable. We create, we plan, and we set goals to give structure to an uncertain, unstructured future.
It's what humans do. And right now, that stability is elusive. We start to feel that there is good news around the corner but then things get worse. Or maybe we just feel worse about it.
Either way, when things are uncertain it can be quite the opportunity to create from within, to get to know ourselves, and to innovate. There are some practical things we can do to reconnect with the earthy nature of being human. And there are ways we can connect with our higher selves so that we can stay lifted and focused on the present moment.
As an entrepreneur, uncertainty lurks around every corner. When I feel that I've hit a stable point in my business, another moment comes and knocks it off kilter. I won't lie—it makes me question my business. It makes me question my past decisions and present moment opportunities. It makes me consider closing my business so I don't have to deal with the uncertainty anymore.
But on the other hand of all of that is a resilience. A notion of creativity and self-sufficiency that I haven't truly learned in any other way throughout my life.
And because of these experiences, I've found a number of routines and rituals that truly help me put one foot in front of the other and keep me feeling generally grounded and calm, even when things feel heavy, crazy, and uncertain.
Get dressed, every day.
I get dressed every day. I get ready like it's a normal day as if I worked at an office. Working from home for the last seven years, this is a habit that I quickly integrated and continue to this day.
Getting up, putting on a cute outfit, doing my makeup, and wearing lipstick—especially this!—makes me feel amazing. It also sets the tone for the rest of my day. I like to use my morning and evening routines, in general, to bookmark the rest of my healthy habits of the day.
Living through quarantine has also inspired me to change up my outfit into more fun and funky vibes than I normally would as a way to express my creativity.
Make time for an intentional skincare routine.
Connecting with my senses and my body brings a sense of calm to my day. Our nervous system is constantly communicating with our skin—our shield to the outside world, truly—to make sense of our world.
This is why a calm and caring skincare routine is an opportunity for ritual and to reconnect with your body. Plus, you are nourishing your skin in a truly practical way and signaling to your brain that everything is OK. (Please know that it's always OK to NOT feel OK.
In general, I find that sticking to healthy habits is what creates a sense of resiliency. I also make space for when my emotions feel complex and complicated or are overflowing.
By showing yourself a little love through an intentional skincare routine, you are signaling to your brain that right now, right here in this moment you are OK and you are safe.
Sticking to healthy holistic habits.
Following getting ready for the day and my personal skincare routine, I make sure to stay consistent with healthy holistic habits. This looks like taking my daily supplements, drinking water (half of your body weight in ounces), drink green tea, and take my tinctures to support my immune system.
I also spend as much time outside as possible, regardless of the weather. Connecting with the earth, observing the birds, the smells, the scents, and the growing plants brings me to the present moment.
Consistency is key in so many ways and by sticking to our healthy habits, we build resiliency in mind, body, and spirit—even during the tough times.
It's OK for things to move slower or faster than normal.
I'm also giving myself grace for things moving slower or faster than they normally would. With so many other business owners moving fast, putting out tons of free offers, etc. I feel a need to keep up but I don't have the energy to. And that's OK.
The most important thing for me right now is to give space to ideas and inspiration and not force them. It is hard to feel inspiration when there is a pandemic touching every community in the U.S. (and the whole world.)
Katie Hess, founder of Lotus Wei, posted this on Instagram today:
My teacher taught me a really helpful technique for working through decision making. He says: any time you engage the thinking process, like going back and forth, weighing all the options, running through all the pros and cons—any time you get on the thinking train—you're just getting further away from clarity. Instead of thinking about it, what you want to do is contemplate.⠀
What does that mean? Carve out some time to rest, relax, and make an intention that you’re seeking an answer. Then, hold it in a meditative space until an aha moment arises. As you’re doing this, try to feel into the most important thing about this issue—basically, the essence of the priority of that decision—and see what arises.
I think this is so key: contemplating and not forcing. Being and observing. Rest, relaxing, and playing while not losing sight of what you're seeking to learn more and get clear on. Now's the time for more of that.
Bring the outside into my home.
Nature makes people happy and brings a sense of calm into their lives. So why not bring elements of the outdoors into your own home? Especially now that we're spending so much time indoors, why not make it as beautiful as possible?
In most places, going outside is still OK and so why not peek at what is growing and harvest a tiny amount of something to bring home? You could collect fallen branches and have a spring stick vase. Or maybe, like here, the forsythia is blooming like crazy—harvest a small branch and pop it in a jar.
No matter where you live, there is an element of the seasons that you can bring indoors. What will it be? I challenge you to find a few things to spruce your space up with (and don't forget to open the windows for fresh air!)
Bringing nature + hope indoors ✨#natureheals
30 minutes for daily movement.
Thirty minutes a day of movement feels so good. It moves the emotions through the body while supporting the immune system, cardio system, and nervous system. It brings fresh blood flow to stagnant places, it bring oxygen to the brain, it lowers anxiety, and boosts serotonin levels. And if you can get it done outside, even better!
Lately, I have been doing lots of yoga and strength training. I workout for free with people on YouTube (Yoga with Adriene and Fitness Blender, for example) as well as through apps like the Nike Training App (their premium workouts are free right now!) and Aaptiv, which I pay $15/month for.
No matter how you do it, get your body moving every day and you will feel SO GOOD.
Get outside every day.
I go outside every day, even if it's just for a moment of fresh air—but, in general, I try to have unstructured outdoor time whether it's through yard work, tending to the garden, going for a walk, sitting in the sun, feeling the rain on my face, or embracing the wind.
Feeling the natural forces and getting fresh air, in my opinion, is essential for whole body, mind, and spirit health. I notice how the trees are blossoming and the plants are growing in the front of the house. I listen and watch the birds and feel so grateful for a little backyard sanctuary.
What are some ways you can fit outdoor time into your day? How can you add it into your schedule? How can you do it in a way that is unstructured and not just associated with yard work?
Reach out to family and friends.
I keep in touch with friends and family every day. I don't do daily video chats but I make sure to check in with people—and I don't delay and say I'll do it later. I just do it right then and there.
Keeping in touch with those we love is important to us now more than ever—and we are all experiencing this together, even though we are alone in the experience. Be sure to check in on those who are elderly and those who live alone who might be struggling a little bit more right now.
Spend time reading and writing.
I also spend time reading and writing. I'm not much of a movie person but books bring me a sense of joy and normalcy that other things don't. I have also been writing a lot more & I'm slowly working on a book concept. I only work up to the point that feels rejuvenating and good for the soul rather than pushing through just to finish an article or chapter.
Reading and writing might not be your thing—but the point here is making time for things that you truly love and play with it! Sometimes just having that time to go inwards and explore ideas is all you need for a mindset refresh and reset.
8 hours of sleep every night.
I aim to get at least 8 hours a night. I feel so much better if I am well rested. If you struggle with getting solid sleep, there are a number of sleep hygiene tips and tools. A few of my favorite herbal allies for sleep are passionflower (especially if you can't seem to sleep through the night), chamomile and lavender tea, and milky oat tincture.
Good blackout curtains are nice but I find just a simple eye mask works well along with some ear plugs. Once I started this routine, I found that I slept a lot deeper which is nice for someone who's a very light sleeper!
Focus only on what I can control.
I know that worrying and wanting to control the situation is not healthy. As someone with anxious tendencies, I have truly had to teach myself that while I can prepare and I cannot control the future nor can I control what others do.
What I can do? Take the steps that I feel are important to living healthy and staying informed. Part of that is taking my herbal allies daily along with healthful food, copious amounts of water and tea, and filling my mind with solutions rather than unknowns.
I also avoid giving any mental energy to conspiracy theories or alternative theories. All it does is disempower me from my center and create confusion. I focus on known facts along with my personal feelings and intuition and operate from there.
Boundaries with local and global news.
It's too easy to be inundated with news about COVID-19 and the spread of the virus. It's all over social media and it's in your email... it literally doesn't stop and it comes from all digital angles.
For me, I have created boundaries with local and global news as well as my social media intake during this time. First, I only check the local news once a day. Our governor is doing daily press releases so I check in on those after she's done to find out local information. I also read the morning email from the NY Times or listen to NPR's Up First podcast for context of what's happening around the world.
If you feel like you're unable to detach, I highly recommend firstly limiting your news intake and limiting your social media time as well. I have found that social media can be quite the instigator of myths and sensational information.
Use this time and energy to put into your personal projects, your own creativity, your health, and your well-being. Build your resilience. Make time for play. Spend afternoons basking in the sunshine. Focus on what is good and right in the world. And find ways to take care of yourself and those you love.