newsletter april 2020

your monthly dose of rest + joy

This is the newsletter that went out to subscribers on April 15th. It’s a good example of what I write about. Subscribers also get access to my resource library, and they’re the first to hear about new offerings.

I hope you’re doing well, and able to enjoy this season of new life and growth—even though everything is different right now, some things continue just the same. There’s magic in that I think. 

As we’re halfway through week I-don’t-know-how-many of this global pandemic + lockdown, I wanted to share some things with you that are helping me to settle into a new normal. 

Gentle ways to settle into a new normal:

Take some things off your to-do list.
This has been one of the biggest things for me. Really, really looking at that to-do list again and evaluating it: what can I delegate/ask for help for; what can I do another day; what need I not to at all. 

Focus on essentials.
A few weeks ago I took Jo Hooper’s workshop A Drop of Calm, which was great (you can buy the workbook on her site). She talked about creating two lists: one list of wants, and one list of needs. This, combined with evaluating my to-do list, has made me really think about the things I tell myself I have to do. It’s created space in my head. 

In little ways (a potter around the garden, dancing in my kitchen to early 90s tunes) or larger ways (a long walk at quiet times of the day). 

I notice that my emotional bandwidth is smaller these days. Making changes and living in uncertainty is tiring. So I’ve really tried to prioritise going upstairs by 21.30, which means I’m usually in bed before 22.00 with a book. 

Remember that you have to absolutely not be ‘productive’ right now.
Times are stressful enough right now without you piling more things on to your list. Stick to the essentials and keep a running list of things you’d like to do if you have the energy. I loved reading this article, aimed at academics, but so applicable for all of us.

Follow your energy as much as possible.
There are seasons to life and accepting that you too have seasons (whether daily, weekly or according to your menstrual cycle, if you cycle) can be so freeing. Your energy will fluctuate. I’ve noticed that when I give myself some space I often feel that energy returning in the course of the day. 

Try to hold space for difficult emotions.
This is a hard one. For the longest time, I would push any difficult emotions away as deeply as possible. Recurring bouts of anxiety and depression have taught me that this approach is not feasible in the long run.

Mindfulness and time have taught me to try to experiment with dealing with them differently. It can still be so very hard, but I try to imagine that I’m holding a bowl, and that my emotions are the liquid in the bowl. It might be brimming, it might even be spilling over, but I’m still holding the bowl. I can hold it and create space for it, which often helps a difficult emotion to pass much quicker than if I were to push it away. (if you’re struggling with anxiety and depression right now, I’m so sorry—I know how very hard it is to ride the waves.)

I’m so glad to have you here. Do let me know how you’re creating a new normal of some kind by hitting reply to this email. I’d love it if you come hang out with me on Instagram: @astridbracke 

The next scheduled newsletter will appear on May 15th. 

Until then, I wish you lots of small moments of calm, joy and connection. 

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