The 4 Ms

Although the accommodation industry ground to a halt, we worked almost every day during the lock down. A business the size of ours with lots of moving parts can’t just close up even though the usually unrelenting flow of work slowed to a trickle. As Australia began to emerge from the lock down a few weeks ago, I found myself getting anxious and a little manic. In the throes of the pandemic I was pretty calm and centred. The worst of it is over here in Australia, why get anxious now?

I’ve always been great in a crisis but can tend to have a little wobble when the coast is clear. That’s fairly common I’d say but I can’t fall apart now, that would be really counter-productive. I think we’re all just a little overwhelmed, under-stimulated, and over-zoomed.

So I did what I always do when confronted with a problem – RESEARCH! I came across the 4Ms of mental health. It’s perfect for me because I get to DO a lot! The 4 Ms are Movement, Mindfulness, Meaningful Engagement and Mastery. (Dr Sue Varma)

So checking in with the 4Ms… I’ve started back at yoga which along with walking is great for movement. I would like to get back to dancing or join a gym but not the kind where they yell at you.

As for mastery… well I wouldn’t go as far as saying I’ve mastered anything but I’m giving it a red-hot go. I’m learning new stuff every day and working towards mastering new skills in writing, editing, and publishing. I want to learn how to knit but wanting and doing are two different bags of fish.

I have been struggling with Mindfulness and Meaningful Engagement. At the moment, I can’t seem to even do 5 minute run to the supermarket without listening to a podcast, can’t sit waiting for 5 minutes without scrolling through my phone. I’m trying to do too much.

I’m obsessed with productivity.

So in honour of not beating myself up this is what I’ve done. I’ve switched back to guided meditations because I can’t seem to just sit in Vipassana like I could 6 months ago. As always journaling is helping but I often find myself trying to fill in the blanks in my current work in progress rather than getting out what’s in my head. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself?

And as for meaningful engagement… there was precious little of that going on, but I’m doing Camp Nanowrimo and concentrating on the second draft of a few projects. I’m aiming to write mostly by hand for the month, staying away from my computer where I can.

I think I got far too accustomed to isolation and I’ve been spending too much time on Facebook absorbing all the toxic waste, racism, and unchecked privilege. I’ve always said Facebook is like alcohol; not inherently bad but if you’re reaching for it 10 times a day you’ve got a problem. I’m happy to say that after three days away from it I’m feeling heaps better. I was wasting so much time and energy and even though I was marketing and networking I wasn’t writing enough. I’d convinced myself I was being productive.

The past two days have been stress free and joyful. I’ve worked on two projects, walked on the beach and started qi gong again. At the end of the month I’ll limit myself to 10 minutes a day for marketing… it’s not like it was terribly powerful the way I was using it anyway, my R.O.I. of my time spent was miserable!