Why Routine is Important – Even During Lockdown
There’s no shame in having lost the plot a little over the last week or more. Perhaps, these days, you’re finding yourself having breakfast at 4PM and cooking dinner at 3AM, just as your restless energy levels start spiking again. Give your armpits and your hoodie’s neckline a little sniffle – are you starting to smell a bit ripe? That’s probably because you’ve been living in your trackies since first going into lockdown. What about your hair? Is it styled to perfection or are you currently rocking the bird’s nest look atop your head? Hey – we’re not judging!
In fact, we think it’s perfectly normal that, with this drastic change in our daily lives and routines, many of us are still adjusting to the situation, and we all have different ways of doing so. While some might have already found their groove and jump out of bed every day at 7AM to get dressed and made-up and go about their usual day-to-day ritual as normally as possible – without leaving the house, of course – others are still finding their way. While some are purposely using this opportunity to slow down and swap their work suits and pumps for tracksuits and loungewear, to keep their hair down or up in a leisurely mess and abide by a new schedule, for others this new-found style of comfort, could be masking anxiety and depression.
Whichever category you fall under, it is important that, once you’ve adjusted to this new situation, you do your utmost best to abide by a daily routine. It doesn’t have to be elaborate nor does it have to be super strict, but you do need to set yourself at least five goals everyday – ranging from simple things to more ambitious to-dos. We are creatures of habit, habits that have suddenly been taken from us overnight. And while you may not feel the mental ramifications of this situation just yet, over time, they will start gnawing at you, especially if your routine is currently completely out of whack. A solid routine helps to distract us from the fear we are all feeling right now – even on a subconscious level – and keeps our mind focused on the positives – the things we are able to control and change, even if only in our own household.
Here are five daily goals to set for yourself during lockdown.
Initiate a New Wake-Up Routine
Now that you’re working from home, you’ll have gained plenty of extra time in the mornings that you would usually spend commuting to work. Use this time to fit in a gentle morning exercise routine and follow it up with a proper, unrushed breakfast. Exercise and a healthy breakfast will work wonders on your mind, body and soul. Get up at the same time every morning – even if it’s two hours later than usual – and don’t start with work or anything else until you’ve crossed these two important items off your list.
Make the Effort
OK, so your colleagues aren’t going to see what you’re wearing and there’s really no need to spend half an hour styling your hair with products and intricate braids or giving yourself the full make-up treatment – unless, of course, you want to – but making at least a bit of an effort, is going to make you feel good. Just going through the same getting-ready-motions you would go through on any normal workday, will give you that sense of normality even in this abnormal situation. In other words, brush your teeth, comb your hair, wash your face, slap on all your favourite creams and dress in something you wouldn’t feel embarrassed to be caught in, even if you’re not going to be expecting visitors any time soon.
Use Social Media Blockers During Working Hours
Set yourself strict working hours but allow for flexibility. We all have different home realities – some of us are trying to work whilst also having to homeschool and entertain kids, others may have all the space and freedom to work but are finding it increasingly difficult to stay focused. That’s OK – just do your best. Set yourself a goal of working one full hour at a time, then taking a break to check in with the rest of your family, make a cup of tea, or catch some air on your balcony, the garden or just by standing by the open window for a bit. Try to install social media blockers on your computer during working hours; it’s already hard enough to keep our news-intake to a minimum without social media sending us into a rabbit hole of bad news and fearmongering videos and articles.
Keep Track of Your Eating Habits
One of the hardest parts during lockdown, is keeping track of your normal eating habits. There are suddenly so many hours to fill in the day, and at times it can feel like we’re the cast of the famous Groundhog Day movie, with every day feeling exactly the same as the previous. So, when you stop to think when you’ve had your last proper meal, you might find yourself clueless – does breakfast count as breakfast at 3PM? Our digestive system can really affect our overall wellbeing – empty, rumbling and nervous stomachs will only end up increasing feelings of anxiety. Try your best to stick to regular eating hours as much as possible and opt for healthy snacks in between – because you will do a lot of snacking, there’s no way around it.
Don’t Forget to Schedule Downtime Too
A lot of people and articles online are stressing productivity as a way to get through this lockdown situation sanely. And while keeping busy and using the time to distract yourself with creative projects, house chores and the like is certainly important, it’s equally important to allow yourself some daily downtime too. Regardless of where in the world you are and what your current situation is, these are stressful times and we are all learning to navigate this new world. Give yourself the time to relax and reflect on what’s happening in a calm and non-judgmental manner; count your blessings and practice gratitude, especially when you’re feeling frustrated or stir-crazy.