Updated: May 6, 2021
By Kate Marchant.
It feels like seventeen millennia since lockdown began back on 23 March 2020 and although what lockdown looks like has changed dramatically in that time; the theme is still very consistent - wherever possible, stay safe and stay home.
The Quarantine Life
For many people, this has led to a great shift in how they live their lives, adding “from home” to parts of their routine that they never thought they could; like socialising, exercising or holidaying! So with everything being in the same place, how can we create structure, routine and clarity in a hectic, messy and confusing setting?
Rise and Shine
Wake up in the morning to an alarm and complete your morning routine.
This may seem completely pointless if you’re not battling rush-hour traffic on the way to your kitchen table, but if you’re dragging yourself out of bed and army-rolling to a laptop in a half-asleep daze, you’re not going to be as productive.
Instead of using the extra time for your commute, use the time to do some exercise, sort out tasks around the house that you never have time to do, or call that relative or friend who you always think you should call but you never get round to.
Get Dressed... properly
I am not one to criticise. I’ve been on many a video call with brushed hair and teeth, a smart shirt, pyjama trousers and big fluffy slippers. Business up top, comfort below! But getting changed into real-life human clothes will give a sense of transition into daytime activities. Also, taking those clothes off and getting into your PJs can become a transitional activity to show that work is done for the day, so it’s all the more satisfying when you snuggle into your cozy clothes again - yes!
When you’re doing too many things at home, every area can blur into one big mess.
Sadly, we’re not all living in mansions and able to create separate rooms for each activity, so zoning is something you have to be a little more creative with.
The most important zone is your bed. Your bed should be a place of rest, relaxation and sleep. Working, eating or studying in bed can all lead this to become a place of stress, so try to use other areas for these activities.
Also think about where you work and where you chill out at the end of the day. Could you work at the table and relax on the sofa? Try to stick to set activities in these separate zones to allow more clarity about what each zone is for.
OK, so, don’t stare at the clock intently or anything, but in our normal routines, a lot of aspects are triggered by time. We leave work at a certain time, get home at a certain time, our gym sessions are at a certain time - our routine is made and we just follow.
But in the current situation where working is at home, travel is gone and gyms are pre-recorded sessions to be watched at home, all of that routine goes out the window.
So try to add it in yourself. Schedule working hours and stick to them. Make time for breaks during the day. Schedule in some time for exercise. Schedule a Zoom call with some friends in the evening.
Setting aside time for these activities not only makes it more likely that they’ll go ahead, but also gives you a lot more structure in terms of how you manage your day.
Patience is a Virtue
Be patient with yourself. This is new to us all and things are changing all the time. No-one expects you to be a "Superperson" right now. If you skip an exercise class, oversleep or fall behind on the mountain of laundry, it’s OK. You’re doing great!