BY: CLAIRE SIERRA How’s your home stay going ?? Things are changing so swiftly. Out of an abundance of caution and care for you, our beloved team mates, and neighbors, we’re not really taking reservations right now. We’re not really closed, either. I imagine your world has changed drastically too. And you’re going through your own version of freak-out & feeling fine. We think of you and know you’re finding your new way. In a time when we most need grounding, relaxation and rejuvenation— the cornerstones of a Balch experience—I wanted to offer some timely support—from my perspective of 30 year therapy/coaching & spa/wellness practice. Each week seems like it’s own month. The ups and downs are remarkable. You might be feeling signs of stress, worry, isolation and loneliness—which as a therapist, I know are key triggers for depression and anxiety. Whoa, nelly! While we need “physical distance” (along with copious hand washing—mamma mia!) I feel strongly that we don’t need “social distance” – that is the language of control and isolation. Words shape how we think and we need connection now, more than ever. So, a few antidotes (read on.) If you are someone who is used to going to work someplace, you are used to and likely craving social connection. And with your work routine tumbled about, (or gone entirely) you might be feeling a bit lost. I’ve worked from home for many years, and I’ve been relaxed, effective and productive. And I’ve developed a mostly-sane rhythm for myself. So here are some suggestions to help you maintain (or regain) stability and sanity in what is an uncommonly stressful time. 1. Think of this as a retreat. You may have wanted some stay-cation, and here it is! Use this time to rest and replenish. Give yourself a several days to sleep in and lounge around. Just notice if you feel good and empowered. or if are you slipping into malaise. Expect emotional turmoil. If it lasts, break the pattern. Move on to step 2. 2a. Create structure for yourself. If you’re used to getting up at 6 or 8 am and making coffee, do that. Decide when your breaks will be. Create lists so you can shift gears as needed to focus. 2b. Or make a new routine. You get to decide how you want to spend your time. If you are not used to being at home so much, it’s disorienting and can take a while to find the perfect balance for you. Limit news intake. Find positive input. (And for god’s sake, limit time on the rabbithole of social media. It’s dangerous in there!) 3. Dive deep into self-care. This is the retreat you’ve been wanting—or not! Here it is, though. Think of this as the perfect moment and that all is well. (That alone will help immensely.) I suggest 20 minutes or longer for morning spiritual practice. (My morning practice is up to 2 hours. I love how it sets the tone for my day.) Afternoon, around 3 or 4, is another great break to reconnect. Break habits of working late. You could read sacred text, pray, guided meditation, contemplative journalling, connecting with higher guidance, using oracle cards, oiliating your body, doing yoga on-line … endless options. 4. Get outdoors. Right now, outside is the safest place to be! Take walks around your neighborhood or go to the local park. Meet friends or neighbors there, and stay a safe 6 feet away. (Remember, wash up when you go back inside.) 5. Stay connected. Network, co-work and have virtual meetings with colleagues. For many of you, remote meetings aren’t the norm. Virtual meetings serve a variety of tasks and purposes. Spend an extra 10 minutes at the start of team meetings to catch up on each other’s personal lives. Find new ways to stay engaged while forging a shared community with your friends, family and coworkers. Set up virtual coffee, lunch and dinner dates. Using Zoom, Facetime, Messenger and Skype video conferencing, it’s never been easier to visit while staying home. You might start to enjoy this! For co-working, you get on video together, share what you’ll be working on, set a time, then go do it! It’s incredibly effective at getting those avoidable tasks done. It’s a great way to do projects together, or work separately yet together in a virtual room. 6. Reach out for support. Whether that’s friends, colleagues or professional helpers (like me), it’s not a time to “fake it till you make it.” Let others know, so we can help you. We don’t have to do this along—just at arm’s length. 7. Everyone’s at home, now what? How disorienting it is, to juggle having your spouse and/or kids at home also home, when you’re trying to work. You probably have different rhythms. They may need schedules or routines, too. And expect meltdowns, they happen. Communicate with compassion — everyone is having a time of it. Set clear boundaries and expectations. Help each other find emotional balance in a stormy time. 8. Check in on a friend or colleague, or 3. Never have we been happier to receive a random phone call! We now have time we never anticipated. Trust that your timing will be perfect, and you’ll be a blessing to each other. Do this daily. 9. Practice gratitude. Research from Dr Joe Dispenza reveals that 10 minutes of gratitude boosts your immune system for 4 days! One meditation is simply closing your eyes and feeling the appreciation for all the things going well in your life. If you need a boost, there are great gratitude meditations to be found on-line using YouTube or Insight Timer app. Or start a gratitude journal and list things you feel happy and appreciative about. Start small, go big. Everything counts. 10. Make sure to disconnect from work at the end of the day. (Surprisingly, that’s the biggest reported issue about working remotely.) Now that there’s not a clear “on” and “off” to your workday, it might be sloppy at first. That’s okay, you’re human and learning a new way of being. Be compassionate with yourself and family members who might be struggling to find balance and new rhythm. It pains us not to encourage your visit, and we’ll look forward to seeing you soon. In the meanwhile, know it’s a great time to dream and plan of getaways. (See ideas here.) We (still) like it better when you’re here. This widespread change in travel means a loss of business that is devastating for us and other small businesses. We’ve got an idea that benefits us both…. We are offering a Discounted Gift Certificate so that you can travel later at reduced fee. This helps us by replacing lost cash flow and helps YOU with a getaway at a reduced cost. Purchase between $75 and $500 in value (good for bistro, lodging and spa) and get 20% off. Use Coupon Code: GorgeLove If your interest is piqued and you’d like to know what the upcoming events are, learn more here. Enjoy Spring! The magic is (STILL) closer than you think! Claire & Josiah for Team Balch P.S. At the Balch we’re very aware of the heavy toll this outbreak may be taking on your emotional well-being. You might be feeling isolated, lonely and disconnected from the people you normally see everyday. You’re not alone. Lean into the tools above to create a new reality for yourself. Develop new routines that support you. Break down the physical barriers. And reach out for support. You know me as a boutique hotel owner, but I’ve as therapist and coach for years. I offer coaching, therapy and several sessions that have been enormously helpful to clients and might be perfect for you. We know that in challenging times like these that the power of care, connection, tranquility and wide-open nature—the essence of the Balch experience—are needed most of all. You can have a taste of it, virtually. And when you’re traveling in the future, know we’re here and ready to welcome you with our quirky charm, rural elegance, and world class hospitality that you’ve come to expect. At the risk of being vulnerable… we could use your help. If you’re in a place to plan ahead, we both win. Purchase a Discounted Gift Certificate and travel later at reduced cost. This helps us by replacing funds lost through cancellations due to this health situation. Click here and use Coupon Code GorgeLove to receive 20% discount.( Click Book Now on the reservations page, and then go to the Gift Certificate tab.) Choose an amount from $75 to $500. These are transferable and unused amounts can roll over to another visit. Good for lodging, food and spa services. Available now through end of April. If you need to adjust your planned travel reservations, please contact us at 541.467.2277. To adjust reservations made through an online booking agent or travel site (like Expedia or Booking), please contact them for assistance.