April 3, 2020
My name is Maureen McMahon, your PSD Communications Specialist. After 15 years of working at home as an editor, writer, publicist, and parent, I’ve learned a lot about the importance of intentional space. This series is meant to share simple strategies honed from the holistic living emphasis of my journalism, and are suggestions to help you navigate working from home and heightening your awareness.
Home these days for all of us is filled with competing needs, so every suggestion is of course hypothetical. All ideas are mine, stemming from my knowledge of holistic living and daily practices, and not the PSD’s. May you find a new way of working you carry with you. Thanks, Maureen
Intentional Space: taking in content
This is a time when information is vital to find and the news matters. It feels akin to 2001, with the intensity of the news coverage inventing an ubiquitous culture.
How can you create intentional space around taking in content to preserve what is normal for you? Here are some simple strategies for bringing your awareness to how taking in content affects you. Also find some ideas for what you can do to create intentional space around your interface with the news.
Commit to staying informed and staying connected to this new world emerging. Heighten your awareness of how taking in the news affects you. If it helps, schedule breaks for immersing yourself in the news. Unless your job requires it, boost your productivity by turning off your newsfeed and notifications while you are working.
Cultivate an awareness of how much media, news, and content surfing you do. If you get distracted by the part of you that is pulled towards news, editorializing, or predicting, take notice that you are in a tendency. Don’t judge yourself for losing track of what you wanted to accomplish. Sit back in your chair, take a breath, and look around. Find your last work task, review, and reset.
If you take the perspective that your thoughts, feelings, and reactions determine how you are showing up in your day, consider intentionally becoming the observer. If joining the news leaves you with continued negative reactive thoughts, try limiting how much time you spend in it and how often you check it. A practice can be to listen to the news without arguing with it. Let it hear itself out.
Another can be thinking about compassion while you take in news—for all sides. There is a saying that suffering is required; judgment is not. You can identify the source of the editorial and watch your thoughts so that you stay neutral. It is not only the content that invents the culture, but our reactions that become our experience.
After you join the news, it helps to get grounded, so do a chore, step outside, drink water, or take a break. If the news upsets you, step away from the source and try an exercise to interrupt your thoughts and reset your peace of mind. Look outside and say out loud, I am calm, breathing with it until you get there.
If the content makes you angry, step away from news for a while. Justified anger is important. Take time for a reflection instead of feeding what upset you.
If you do not like the way your body feels after being in the milieu of worrying news, read the news before you shower. Showering not only can clear the mind but also can clear how your body feels, so that it doesn’t cling to you.
We know connection is so imperative right now. Social media can be there to bring us together and to right this ship. Why not connect on social media and consider how it can be used to its highest advantages. The lighter side of this is unfolding in those spaces. The tragedy and uncertainty is also there to connect us.
Let the culture you counter empower you. We need voices for justice and mobilization alongside witnesses and allies. Be discerning about what responses you put out there. If you share a comment, ask yourself what work is it doing. Ask what world are we reacting to and agreeing to.