When this whole coronavirus thing started, I naively thought not much would change in terms of my routines. I knew I wouldn’t be commuting to work anymore, but aside from that my initial plan was to try and keep things constant.
Well, this didn’t work out. I realised very quickly that I needed to tune in to myself and what I needed and accept that a lot has changed. Because I’m not just ‘working from home’. I’m not interacting with people as much, I’m not burning as much physical energy and I’m trying to keep my head above water when anxiety wants to swallow me whole.
Over the last few weeks I’ve adjusted my routines, creating new ones that are keeping me balanced, for the time being at least. As time goes on, I have no doubt that I’ll be constantly tweaking and adjusting.
I’ve written about my relationship with routine before and that while I thrive in them, I can have a tendency to get stuck in them. Keeping up with self-awareness practices like journaling therefore is essential right now so I can keep on top of things and change routines when needed.
I thought it could be helpful to share the routines that are helping me right now and have had a couple of people ask on Instagram. Of course, it’s important for you to figure out what works best for you, but I hope sharing these ideas can inspire you.
I have to say, this one has changed the least. At first, Dan and I thought it would be wise to keep our wake-up time the same as it would have been if we were commuting. But, considering Dan usually gets up before 6:00am to commute to London, we dismissed that idea pretty swiftly.
Instead we’ve decided to take advantage of not having to commute by… getting more sleep. He still gets up a little earlier than me, which helps us avoid fighting over the shower and means he can enjoy some quiet time in the lounge before starting work.
Aside from the later wake-up time, my morning routine has stayed the same.
- Wake up to light-up alarm clock
- Journal (I write three to-dos for the day, what my self-care moment will be that day and set an intention)
- A little scroll on my phone
- Get dressed and put make-up on while listening to a podcast
- Eat breakfast while watching Instagram stories
- Start work
You may have noticed that I’m still putting make-up on. I’ve decided to keep this up because it helps me get in the right mindset Monday to Thursday (when I’m doing Blue Jay work on Fridays I’m sticking to what I normally do and not wearing make-up).
Taking make-up off after work helps me switch from work mode to rest mode too. Dan’s doing the same with his shoes – he’s wearing them while working, because taking them off at the end of the day signifies to his brain that it’s time to relax.
I don’t think there should be any hard and fast rules here however, do what works for you.
I’m not a very active person and the most exercise I would normally get would be one yoga session a week and some walks to Sainsbury’s on lunch breaks at work. But after the first week of working from home I could feel the nervous energy in my body building up and knew I had to do something.
So I decided to aim for at least one type of movement every day. Either walking (at the time of writing we are still allowed one walk a day), yoga or a home workout.
And that’s as complicated as it gets! What movement I do each day depends on how I’m feeling, but generally I’m now up to three yoga sessions a week, one cardio workout a week and walks on the other days. Dan’s been joining in and it’s been pretty lovely to try new things together.
This has been the most drastic, and most needed change. Pre-pandemic I would watch TV until I was sleepy, head into the bedroom, journal a little, put on a sleep story and sleep. These days sleep is not coming so easily.
Over the last few weeks I’ve noticed my anxiety getting worse the closer it gets to bed time. My heart would start racing as if I was about to go into battle. So a new, more comprehensive wind-down routine was needed. Here’s what I’m doing:
- About an hour before I want to go to bed, do my skincare routine and brush my teeth so I can just crawl into bed when tired
- Turn off the TV or The Sims, whichever has been occupying my mind
- Read fiction while listening to sleep music from the Calm app
- Journal (I write a few lines about how my day was, three things I did well and one thing I’m grateful for)
- Meditate for 10 minutes
- Go to the bedroom, douse myself in aromatherapy oils
- Put on a sleep story from Calm or Headspace
- Sleep, ideally
Even with this routine I’ve had some bad nights, but I still believe it’s taking the edge off and I’m loving that I’m now reading more.
And that’s pretty much it. Other than that Dan and I are staying in, playing games (The Sims has definitely been helping me and I highly recommend), watching movies (might I recommend Chef if you need something uplifting?) and TV (Brooklyn 99 is our current choice), reading (fiction only right now, thanks), video calling friends and family and only going out to get food or for short walks.
It’s still incredibly surreal, but we recognise how privileged we are to be able to work from home, to work in industries where our jobs are largely unaffected and to be together at this time. There are lots of things we’re worried about, and lots of things we’re sad about… but these are all things out of our control. Focusing on what we can control through routine is helping right now.
I hope you’re all doing OK, wherever you are. Please feel free to DM me on Instagram if you ever need a chat.
My monthly newsletter is going out next Sunday, 26th March and it will be all about… I have no idea, to be honest. I think I’ll wait until I come to write it and see what comes out. All I can promise is that it’ll be honest and packed full of resources. If you want to receive it, make sure you subscribe before the 26th.
Until next time, take care.
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