Finding a rhythm

It takes time to sort out teething problems. Particularly when it comes to big things like moving house, starting a new job, or getting through an enforced lockdown to survive a pandemic. I’ve been lucky enough to experience all three beginning in the same week. Gaining access to the software and drives I need to work from home was a particular kind of hassle. Oddly enough moving house and surviving a pandemic were the easier two of the three.

Music can offer a way to adapt more readily to changes. An upbeat tune to get us in the groove for work. A quiet playlist to ground us and enable relaxation. Some songs burrow their way into our ears and set up camp, they have certain things that capture our attention. A groovy bassline, tight drumming, meaningful lyrics that speak to our soul, or a combination of elements making a whole which is more than the sum of its parts. One thing all of these different songs will have in common is rhythm. A memorable guitar riff, a catchy chorus, something that gets heads nodding, feet tapping, and hearts swelling.

When I’ve been learning something for my job, writing it down has been helpful. What helps further is doing something multiple times to see the patterns and the structure. As my role is sometimes repetitive, finding the right rhythm to get through tasks quickly and accurately is important. When I’m working on a task by myself, putting on a familiar upbeat playlist helps me get stuck in and get it done. I find the groove and live there.

Each work day starts with a team meeting via video call to help get going. It’s a good kick-start without being too forceful or artificial. We can air any problems we’ve been having and praise any positivity we’ve seen. The structure provides a daily rhythm, but with ample opportunity for creativity and process improvement. I eat lunch away from my work desk so my brain knows it’s lunch time. I’ve put one guitar next to my work desk so if I lose my rhythm I for any reason during the day I can pick it up for a few minutes and reset. I go for a walk outside at the end of my work day to tell myself to leave work where it is and move onto other things. Cycling between working standing up and sitting down keeps my muscles active and the blood flowing to my extremeties. (One downside of having long arms is my circulation can be poor.)

When you get in a groove, and get on a roll, it’s ok to stay in it and power on. But, remember to drink plenty of water, and know that finishing is not determined by the clock. If your mind needs an afternoon off to rest and come back fresh the next day, do it. I’m getting better at realising when my brain is telling me just that, but it is a skill that requires practice.

We’ve recently finished moving (some) furniture around the house to make space. Putting shelves together and moving a bunch of stuff onto them, setting up two bedrooms, putting a dining table together, and remembering to eat food and be kind humans takes a lot of energy and looks like a giant task. My sister is really good at breaking up big tasks into smaller ones to keep moving forward – she is also very good at putting Ikea furniture together and organising how best to fit stuff on shelves and in storage spaces. What helped progress was having a rhythm, doing a little bit every day, and having a goal of where to get to. We didn’t always reach the goal, but achievable bite-sized chunks worked better than using all energy reserves on a given day trying to do it all at once.

My bubble for our lockdown is awesome. I’m lucky to be living with three awesome people, to watch great TV shows with them, and I’m especially looking forward to putting together some Lego. They are making this time spent inside to save lives as enjoyable and comfortable as it can be.

I hope your bubble is doing well. If it’s tough right now, hang in there, and reach out with a video call to people you trust when you’re up to it. Find that rhythm that will help you keep being you. If that’s taking deep breaths, watching TV, and eating some meals every day; know you’re doing great. Change is tough, and every day at the moment things keep changing.

Choose kindness. For others, for our bubble, and for ourselves. Peace.

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