Meeting Your Needs While Sharing Space With Others

I hope you are having a good week and hanging in over there. I know that in my house, we all have our good days and bad days, and just want to reiterate how normal it is to be flowing through all of the emotions right now.

Today I want to talk to you about how to take care of yourself and make sure you’re meeting your basic needs that will help you feel good during this time, while also sharing space with others.

This time is so unique in that many of us are in different living situations than we normally are. We are home more. Our partners are home more. Some of us are living with family members. Some of us are living alone and spending all of our time solo.

It’s a weird time. It’s different. It takes adjusting.

I feel like I have so many tips to share on this because so much of my living situation has changed.

  • For months now (even before Coronavirus), Ryan and I have been together 24/7. That has definitely taken some adjusting for both of us.
  • We then went from living very independently to living with my parents!
  • This past weekend we went down to stay with Ryan’s parents for a weekend so we were in another new environment

All of these changes have really pushed me to think about a couple of main questions:

  • What are my actual BASE needs that allow me to feel good?
  • What are creative ways, given the circumstances, that I can make my best attempt to meet those needs?

The first step is really knowing what your BASE needs are. I call this your “Bare Essentials” and actually created a 4 minute video on this MANY years ago (seriously, this video is ancient but a goodie!).

I recommend choosing a handful of things that you know help you feel good. Some examples:

  • Alone time (maybe it’s each day, or a few times per week)
  • Quality sleep (what does that look like for you?)
  • Movement (what frequency per week usually feels good to you?)
  • Getting outside every day or most days
  • Interacting with friends and community
  • Quiet time in front of the TV or reading
  • Vegetables, food that is readily available
  • Your favorite morning bevvie
  • Having a clean home or room
  • Quality time with your partner a few times a week
  • Laughter
  • Time connecting to your spiritual side (journaling, meditating, card pulling)
  • Focused work time

Your bare essentials will change over time, too! So it’s only important to tune into what you feel like they are in this current phase of your life.

Right now, mine are:

  1. Food that helps me feel good
  2. Getting outside almost every day (I can’t stand staying indoors all day)
  3. Focused work time (I am bursting with ideas and find that I sleep better and am just overall so much happier when I am getting my ideas out into the world)
  4. Alone time a few times a week
  5. Decent sleep

If you want, pause for a second and take a minute to think of what yours are. What are the bare essentials that help you feel your best right now?

The second step is to figure out how to make those things happen. Here are my tips for that:

Communication:

When you have a new living situation, it’s extra important to communicate clearly about what you need with the people you’re living with. 

For instance, I told my family “when you see the office door closed in the morning, please don’t come in because that means I am doing something that requires alone time. At all other times of the day, feel free to come in!”. It’s clear and polite, and it also just lets people know what I need during that morning time when I am usually either journaling or meditating or just getting my head on straight for the day. 

I was listening to a podcast with Brene Brown the other day and she said that her son didn’t even know he was “allowed” to ask for Alone Time until he heard her ask for it one day. Sometimes it’s an awkward thing to start communicating your needs, but it actually benefits everyone around you and gives other people permission to do the same. 

Ryan knows that I sometimes ask for and need alone time, and now I hear him asking for it, too. When you communicate your needs, everyone wins.

If you’re co-working with your partner all day yet you feel a lack of romance or quality time, and that’s something you’re needing, initiate a conversation about it. You can say “hey, although we’ve been technically spending a lot of time together, I feel like we haven’t had quality connection lately. One night this week can we put all of our technology away, light some candles, cook something special and just talk?”

Communication, especially right now, is so powerful.

Taking ownership over what you need to do for you:

The clearer we get on our bare essentials, the more we can creatively find ways to work those things into our lives. Here are a few examples of how I’ve taken ownership over my needs lately: 

Since I know I feel my best with a lot of vegetables and the kinds of food I like, I take ownership over making sure I do what I can to have what I want around. I take more of a lead on grocery shopping and meal planning instead of relying on or expecting others to do it. 

When I was at Ryan’s parents’, I always offered to make a salad or veggie so that I was able to put my best effort forward on having the foods around that helped me feel good.

Since I know I like time outside every day, I try to go outside around 5:00 for a walk, a time that nobody else really needs me for anything, and I can still be home in time to help prep dinner.

Although I sometimes feel bad for closing myself off in my office for hours instead of hanging out with my mom or anyone else who is bored, I also know that I wouldn’t be honoring what I most deeply need in order to show up in the best way for my family.

Flexibility:

At the same time, it’s so important that we are flexible, and that we’re considering the people and environment around us. This weekend at Ryan’s parents’ was a perfect example. Did they have all the foods I am used to? No. Did we stay up way later than I am used to? Yes. Did I spend the day hanging out with his mom yesterday instead of working even though part of me really wanted to get more work done? Yep. 

But I loved my time there, and was able to be flexible and fluid around my ideal “needs.”

Flexibility is key. We can know what we need and aim to fulfill those needs as much as possible, yet flexibility is always important to keep in mind. We are not aiming for perfection, we are just aiming to do our best.

Each day is a new day with a new set of circumstances and a new opportunity to try again.

Some days we do all the things that we know make us feel great, and other days we don’t. And that’s okay, too. We don’t need to feel our best every day, but we can aim to feel as good as possible, as often as possible.

This concept of getting to know your bare essentials and figuring out how to fulfill them is valuable not only right now, but always, in everyday life. For instance, knowing your needs helps boost productivity, improve communication, and prevent burnout in the workplace. 

We can use this unique time to practice tapping into what our needs are and start playing around with meeting them.

So here’s your little self-care challenge today:

  1. What are your bare essentials right now? The things that help you feel good? Think of (and better yet, write down) a few!
  2. How can you come up with creative ways to fulfill those needs? Do you need to ask for something or communicate with someone to make these happen? Do you need to take more ownership over something like cooking?

Lots of love!

Jamie

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