In the past months, patterns, habits and the well-established rituals of our family lives have been shaken, if not entirely crushed. Grown-ups and children need to learn to live together all over again and create a new space for everyone to feel well and secure. Meet Elodie Caucigh, a Zürich based wellbeing specialist, desk yoga instructor and founder of real ease, who shares her insights with us today.
Familizy: Elodie, do you have some simple recipes to prevent stress and discomforts while working from home?
Elodie Caucigh: There is a simple word indeed at the base of everything else: awareness. Being aware can be as simple as listening to your gut feeling, expressing whatever is on your mind or observing how tense or relaxed your body may feel as you read these lines.
Ultimately, any discomfort and stress we experience on a physical, mental and emotional level can be traced back to a lack of awareness. To train your “awareness muscle”, you can use any of the following methods in just a few minutes.
- Take a moment to let your mental activity out of your head. Journal every day. Write two or three pages or set a timer for 5 minutes. Let anything come onto the page without judging it, without holding yourself back. Self-expression fosters self-awareness. And preferably, don’t read your entries right away. Let them be. After a few months, open your journal and read through your entries. You will be amazed to see how much and in what direction you have evolved.
- Observe your breath for one minute every now and then. Set a reminder for yourself in your calendar. Everyone is capable of being aware of their body, even in a very short amount of time. Simply by observing your breath, you notice which body part feels tense, where to focus your attention, to release and prevent these tensions accordingly by stretching and moving more often.
- Do what feels light to you. Anything that feels light, nice, comfortable or exciting is a great way to know that what you are about to do is in line with who you are. I encourage you to remember to feel for anything you do. This applies to every situation and question: what to eat for lunch, what to wear, which client to call, what task to work on next. When we use our body sensations to help us decide, we find that we operate from who we are, rather than from what we think we should be doing. Whenever we experience tension, there has probably been a should in the beginning.
Familizy: How can one prevent too much overlap between family life and work when all happens under one roof?
Elodie Caucigh: Everything in our lives tends to overlap, it already did when we worked in the office outside our homes, but it seemed easier back then since it was contained in separate boxes. The challenge now is that we lost our old boxes and structures.
We have to learn all over again to define and set our own boundaries while respecting those of others in our homes. Perhaps we even need to discover those boundaries for the first time and this in itself is a big challenge. No wonder we feel anxious, lost and emotionally overwhelmed.
Yet, this is a great opportunity to learn and rediscover ourselves within our families, for instance through habits that work for us and activities we like. So be curious about yourself and your family members, ask more questions and make less assumptions, foster honesty. This will help everyone feel safer to build their own space, to carve out their own time and to develop new habits and structures that are aligned with themselves and respectful of others.
Familizy: Can you recommend some simple exercises to stay balanced, calm and energized?
Elodie Caucigh: Of course, here are 3 simple and fun exercises which I would recommend for more wellbeing in home-office (see videos below). Each of them addresses the key challenges we face in the current situation: keeping a clear mind in an environment full of distractions, reducing anxiety and stress, and boosting physical health in limited space and time.
- Standing Balance is a great exercise to focus and also fun for kids to do with their parents.
- Soothing Break is an easy way to calm down and switch off stress when we feel overwhelmed. It can also be used to help you, or children relax and fall asleep.
- Energizing Breath is my go-to energy kick. Perfect to wake up in the morning or power up after lunch.
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Find more exercises like these in the re-set wellbeing cards, created by real ease.