SELF-CARE A to Z: BREATHING & BOUNDARIES

I’m so grateful that this stay-at-home order means no driving through LA traffic to get to my job and no sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store each night wondering what the heck I’ll prepare for dinner. I know how fortunate it is that my job translated so easily to my home and I hope it will stay relevant with this new normal. I easily spend less money on eating out, clothes and gas.  But I’d be lying if I told you this staying home in our PJs all day felt like the best comfy cozy day on repeat.

The first week found my two kids and me stumbling all over each other in our tiny home. I imagined that from the outside, our apartment must have been sighing and expanding as we struggled to renegotiate real estate in our home. Some daily rituals fell in easily like me making coffee for my son and me each morning. I now make bacon a Monday ritual. I make sure each of the kids’ comfort food is for dinner at least once a week. But other rituals wore me down and distracted me – kept threatening to knock me off the course I struggled to remain focused on. 

 

Also trying to teach my cats boundaries…

Starting the second week at home, for my own self-care, I immediately set boundaries. If this is the first time you’re reading my blog, you may not know how bad I’ve always been with boundaries.  This birthed another hill for us to climb as a family who were not used to me drawing such defined lines, but we also learned that on the other side of those boundaries, the physical and the mental, we found room to breathe.

BOUNDARIES
We’ve set both physical boundaries limiting our workspace to our desks with the goal of being able to walk away from our desks when we finish work and not turn in a different direction and see something new we need to work on. Still, our desks also hold our recreational or home management stuff as well but I’m careful to keep my work even more organized than my bills and taxes. We obviously have strong invisible boundary around the house right now that we’ve learned to live with. 

Although my work and my kids’ school exists online now, after the first week of sleeping in a little bit, I set time boundaries returning to my regular work hours and insisted the kids do the same with their school. They now know that if they want my assistance on something (including meals) it needs to be outside of my work hours.  Most days I do stop to make lunch, but if the kids want something else, they make it themselves. I’d give us a B- on this with an E for effort.  

Mentally, we’re setting boundaries between work, family and alone time. We’ve picked the show Brooklyn 99 to binge watch as a family and committed to take a short walk walk each day. I forced me time with this #AtoZChallenge to blog more and the kids love playing their games. I’ve tried other self-care boundaries by not working over the weekend and on Sunday focusing on a fun cooking challenge while avoiding news and really limiting my social media.  This change especially extended my weekends and fills my spirit, spilling over to Mondays. 

BREATHE
In my mind, my wellness fantasy includes meditation, yoga, breathing and yoga pants. …and, coffee. While I’ve joined the sisterhood of stretchy pants, I’m nowhere near mastering the rest. Once, while attending a yoga class led by @yogawkala, I embraced breathing because of the attractive learning curve – like, I already know how to breathe, right?! Turns out, the first time I did this, I thought I may pass out or suffocate. But after doing the cycle twice, I felt such an immediate difference that I was hooked. Additionally, I do it anywhere, silently without anyone knowing it. If anything, people usually know when I need to take a break to breathe because when I’m intensely working on a project under a strict deadline, I’ll forget to breathe then suddenly suck in a ton of air or start singing songs without the tune, just breathing the rhythm.  

Another area I’ve found that focusing on breathing really makes a difference is with exertion. This can be when you’re lifting something heavy and exhale to help your muscles get that extra surge of energy. Or if you’re out walking or running and purposefully breathing to make sure your body gets enough oxygen so you can go farther and exhales enough CO2 to avoid cramps.  Now that I think of it, maybe I mastered a bit of a moving meditation because while I’m walking, focusing on my breathing and trying not to trip or get too close to someone, it takes my mind off of work and other stressors. Especially right now when breathing sounds scary, filling up your lungs with air then releasing it makes me feel more alive than anything.

What about you?
How are you with boundaries?
Has it been easier or harder while the stay-at-home order has been in place?
What boundaries do you set that you absolutely won’t budge on?
Are you better at setting mental or physical boundaries – or both?
If you live alone, you still need boundaries – are they different or the same?
How does your body let you know when your boundaries have gotten too relaxed?
Have you tried any breathing exercises that you like or feel like it’s all in our heads?
If you have any breathing exercises that you like, share them here!

This is a month-long self-care #AtoZChallenge blogging project, so follow along and please join the conversation!

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