Several of my students have told me that they are much less physically active in their home office. One thing they point to is the lack of interruptions from co-workers. A normal day at work would be punctuated by chats at the coffee machine, moving between meetings, and frequent small interruptions in person or on the phone. The lockdown home office is characterised by sitting in front of a webcam for hours at a time, followed by a few short steps to another part of the house at 5pm. Whatever your physical training routine might be, I am hearing that people are also missing that diversity of sensory stimulation and the mental space to process the days events.
When my own partner emerges from his home office space in the basement it takes him a while to switch his mind to “home-mode”. This has at times led to silly arguments and sometimes he is preoccupied with a work issue long into the evening. As tighter Covid-19 restrictions are introduced in Oslo, and my partner is at home 24/7 again, I have been thinking about the value of ritual. Our daily habits, rhythms, and routines create a framework for moving through our lives. Woven into this framework are rituals. That is, doing things in a certain way that you enjoy and which helps you to thrive.
A ritual may be as simple as putting on a favourite soundtrack to help you focus, lighting a candle before a mindfulness practice, the order in which you make coffee and breakfast, or relieving stress with a cardio workout. What these rituals have in common is that you would feel out of sorts if the ritual could not be performed in the usual way. Rituals help us to create space in our lives for the things we want to do by establishing a physical or mental environment. I have always felt that the ritual of travelling to and from work is essential to create the mindset of focus and creativity. With so much of our lives turned upside down this year, this is one ritual that I have stuck to even though it has taken on a new form.
Introducing the 3 minute commute: your mental commute from home-office to that safe space that is simply home. This practice has two purposes:
- The positions ease tension in the shoulders and neck after many hours of sitting.
- Setting a timer allows you the mental space to process your day and turn your mind towards leisure activities.
Grab your 3 blankets and lets begin!
Download a PDF guide here:
THE 3 MINUTE COMMUTE
These supported positions can be practiced as a sequence, or individually.
Stay in each position for at least 3 minutes.
* Always adjust the size of the roll to suit the needs of your body.
LEGS UP THE WALL
Set up 3 blankets as shown. The blanket closest to the wall should be the same height or higher than the other 2. Your hips should be the same height or higher than your spine. Let your shoulders melt.
Stay for 3 – 15 minutes.
Your hips and spine are supported and shoulders are on the floor. It is important that your shoulders are resting on the floor, without pain, and that your neck is comfortable. Adjust your legs so that you can let go of any effort in your hips.
Stay for 3 – 15 minutes.
BASIC RELAXATION POSE
Use one rolled blanket to support your knees and a folded blanket under your head. Create a small roll to support your neck. The 3rd blanket covers your body and is tucked in around your legs and arms to create a cosy cocoon.
Stay for 3 – 20 minutes.
(This practice is inspired by the work of Judith Hanson Lasater.)