I think we can all agree that 2020 was a bit of a rough ride and 2021 is seemingly following in its footsteps. It’s easy to want to write it off and trust me when I say I have felt that deep wish to erase the last 12 months from my memory banks too. But much like some of the other challenging times in my life I am drawn to find the good, the lesson or even the silver lining. 

I’m sharing these with you not because I want to mask over the difficulties of the last year but to provide an avenue for you to perhaps explore your own breakthroughs or silver linings. 

1. I still need quality time with myself even though I’m not physically spending time with other people

Having been on the shielding list as I’m clinically extremely vulnerable to complications from covid I have barely seen a living soul in real life since this time last year. I have however been having zoom chats, online board game meetups, chatting with people on social media as well as solo homeschooling my 9 year old. 

As an introvert this level of socialising can exhaust me mentally and I’ve noticed this is even more the case through digital socialising. I find the different way of interacting taxing mostly as it’s harder to read body language cues, pick up on others energy and recognise subtleties in others communications. 

I initially felt like I needed to sleep it off to recharge but what I’ve learned is that what serves me more is to spend quality time with myself. As a solo parent this can be a challenge and if you’re a mum reading this then I know you can empathise. To fulfil this need I have taken to reading more, as it calms the sympathetic nervous system taking you out of fight and flight, and also serves as a type of escapism. My son often reads before he goes to sleep so I spend that 10-15 minutes reading too as I know there’ll be quiet. 

2. The quality of sleep I get is much more beneficial to me than the quantity

I’m not a morning person in the slightest. If I get woken up before I naturally wake up I am the grumpiest human to be around. I know this about myself so I have things in place to minimise the fallout. For example I have a wake-up clock that gradually wakes me up with a sunrise effect and bird sounds rather than a blaring alarm coming outta nowhere! 

Because I have been less physically active over the last 1 months due to shielding (and having Nutcracker Syndrome) it’s meant I’m less tired at night and struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. The affect was that I was waking up tired feeling like I needed a whole another nights sleep to get through the day. 

I recognised that this cycle would only end if I improved my quality of sleep. It’s been trial and error and I’m still making little tweaks but here’s what I did:

1- I read for 20 minutes before bed instead of scrolling IG. Obvious yes, but an easy habit to get into too. If I read on my kindle I made sure the night screen was on so it blocked the blue light. 

2- I got some blue light blocker glasses to wear when I was doing my computer work . There’s the suggestion that too much exposure to blue light at night suppresses the release of serotonin which help regulates sleep cycles whilst also reducing digital eye strain. This isn’t backed up by the research however I personally have found I get headaches less often now I’m using the glasses which in turn leads to less disrupted sleep for me. 

3. I have added a few new things into my evening routine to support falling asleep more easily and more quickly. 

I know morning routines are all the rage but as a homeschooling mum my morning routine has kinda gone out the window along with wearing jeans. But an evening routine is where it is at for 2021. I started with the reading which I had committed to as part of my 21 for 2021 so it was a great way to hold myself accountable, but I was still finding that my brain wasn’t following suit with my body. It would play out the day, think about the next day and I was finding I’d become almost anxious as I fell asleep. 

My first addition was to introduce a facial massage to my routine. In a past life I was a massage therapist and I am also qualified in holistic facial treatments. So I found a beautiful night oil and started a simple pressure point massage. It was not only great for my skin but great for slowing down my thoughts and starting to relax. 

My second addition was to do 15 minutes of EFT. If you’ve not come across it before EFT short for Emotional Freedom Technique is a type of energy work that stimulates the meridians of the body. Being that I am trained in this modality and use it with clients I can’t believe I didn’t see the opportunity to use it to help me sleep. I’m very passionate about the benefits of EFT and would love to share it with you more, so a blog will be coming soon. If you can’t wait that long and you want to know more just drop me an email to colleen@colleenemily.com.

3. I have realised how important my immediate environment is and how I have neglected that

If you read my last newsletter you’ll know I’ve been spending some time re-evaluating my immediate environment, essentially my home and garden. As I’ve been spending so much time here I’ve fallen out of love with it to a degree and found myself only seeing what I didn’t like and what needed doing rather than seeing it as a sanctuary. 

I started by thinking about my feelings in and towards different parts of the house and then how I’d like to feel in the different parts of the house. Second, I looked at how they were functioning for us as a unit of 2. How we use the house and different parts of it has obviously changed a great deal over the last 12 months. 

Armed with this research I took a creative approach to the project allowing myself to explore colours, textures, design ideas etc. I really had fun with it. It is of course a work in progress with some aspects of the re-design being on hold until tradespeople can come into the house. But even the focus on rejuvenating my home have completely changed how I feel in it. 

What have you learned about yourself during lockdown? I’d love to hear so please share in the comments.