This week (and for the foreseeable future) I'm letting go of all the hustle and bustle.
Now, more than ever, is the best time to stay away from big indoor events and instead find renewal by slowing down at home or being outdoors in nature. Did you see the hashtag #flattenthecurve? If too many people contract the corona virus at the same time, our hospitals will be flooded with a demand that they cannot meet.
So it is time that we all give ourselves a “white space”, like a break, but without the negative connotation.
Have you ever heard of this term?
I like to define white space as the silence between all the bustle and chaos. It is a time when you can be human instead of doing human. You can't think of anything or what's most important – and get to the root of how you eat, love, exercise, sleep, and want to spend your time and money to make you feel light, happy, and healthy. It doesn't have to be complicated, you can keep it simple.
The advantages of spaces?
You can intentionally create a life that you want to live.
You can show yourself as your best.
White space is a gift of equal opportunities to which we all have access.
My white room happens in the early morning. I get up in the dark, put the kettle on the stove and take a 15-minute break while sitting on the couch with no electronics, no diaries, nothing but myself. I not only feel a feeling of renewal, but without wanting to, so many ideas come in.
This short break has such a positive effect on my well-being and imagination that I have decided to include even more empty space during my day. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer … and I know that it will be good for me to take a break every hour to stand outside in the warm Colorado sunshine and soak my face in the sunshine. That’s next on my list.
This idea of empty space is not only practical, but also universal.
In Singapore, teachers are given 10% time to develop their own innovations outside of the official curriculum. Not only are the teachers getting more creative, I can also imagine that they feel a greater sense of independence.
I had my first experience with white space over 20 years ago when I lived with a friend in an Orthodox Jewish community in Caracas, Venezuela for a short time. We didn't shoot any electronics from dawn on Friday until after sunset on Saturday. I was in my 20s at the time, trying to absorb as much of the culture as possible. This meant a lot of dancing and socializing so that I could practice my Spanish. The deliberate slowdown was a gift that I enjoyed … but probably wouldn't have initiated on my own if it hadn't been my home mandate.
Another form of white space for many people around the world is Sundays as a day off. So let's use that and rest!
What does the white room look like for you?
Maybe you are sitting on your porch and watching the clouds? Listen to the birds or hear nothing? And hopefully think about how you might want to take extra care of yourself during the coronavirus pandemic. That would definitely be a good place to get your attention. And if you feel like you're missing something, flip the script over in your head and tell yourself that you are not missing anything, but may get sick and spread the virus to others. It's just not worth it.
And if you're not sure how to take care of yourself, go back to the basics. Health can feel complicated, but intuitively we all know what is good for our wellbeing and what is not. So get some extra sleep. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and slow down your sugar intake. Move your body – jump on a trampoline or go for a long walk. Connect with others – write a letter to a loved one that you actually wrote in the mail and send a text to a friend you haven't spoken to in a while. Breathe deeply several times throughout the day. Use this time to focus on your potential and, on the other hand, to become leaner, healthier and happier. Be the silver lining in this time of uncertainty. You have that
I am currently collecting stories about the white space and where it comes to life.
Would you be willing to share your White Space experience with me? If so, please do so and I will be excited to see what you have to say below.
About the author: Heather Aardema is a National Board certified health and wellness coach who lives in Colorado with her husband and two elementary school students. More of her essays that focus on getting well and living fully can be found at RootofWellbeing.com.