Last week, a colleague of mine drew my attention to the fact that it’d been a year since we first went into lockdown. I had become so used to my new normal that like many people, I had lost track of time and was simply waiting for lockdown to be lifted so we can meet up and see loved ones. However, what made me think when my friend drew my attention to the one year anniversary of our lives being turned upside down was how tired I had been feeling lately. You see, for a year now, I have been working from home and apart from my sister being in my social bubble, I had not spent time with anyone else – not even a hairdressers appointment. I felt fatigued and like many people, I was waking up, working, eating, watching tv, sleeping and doing it all over again the next day. So I felt the need to reset and start a new routine.
Across Europe, there have been several protests as people are feeling tired of not being able to go about life like we did before lockdown. As I watched the news, for the first time since lockdown, I could understand people’s frustration, however, I was not going to go out and protest – but I understood how they felt. I rather decided to evaluate my current routine and commit to live consciously doing things that are good for me. Talking to friends and family, I realised that they too were feeling the effects of staying home and not getting the chance to socialise much apart from the weekly shopping, FaceTime and zoom meetings. So I came up with a few things I did and hopefully you can do to help cope with the months ahead as we wait for things to return to some form of normalcy;
Pause – We have become so used to our new routines that we have forgotten how we all felt when we first went into lockdown. We had time to reflect at the start of the pandemic and I think almost everyone agreed that we had become so used to our routines that we had lost sight of what it meant to simply pause and take stock of life. I have been working from home for a year now and the thing with working from home is you sometimes don’t have the distinction between home and work life. I found that I was working longer and sometimes I did not even stop for a lunch break. While talking to friends, I found that this was the same situation with many and we all agreed that it was time to pause and reflect on what a healthy work home balance looked like and make the conscious effort to implement it in our work routines. So I encourage you to take time and look at how you are living and make the commitment to make changes that are good for your well being. If you are one of our frontline workers and have to leave home to go to work daily, make sure that you are looking at how you are spending your time when you get home from work- make sure that you are setting time aside for you.
Reflect – It is easy to lose sight of what is important when you are in survival mode and I feel we have all been trying to survive this new way of life. There are so many things I am doing now that I have not taken time to reflect and understand why I am doing them. All the work I did at the beginning of lockdown with my therapist have merely become routine and I had abandoned my commitment to growth as a person. However, I am learning to not be too hard on my self and setting time aside for myself to reflect on things I am doing and removing the ones that add no value or joy to my life. While I reflected, I also found that there were things I should be doing and I was simply not doing them – to be honest, I felt like taking a break from my life and that was not a good feeling. So pausing and reflecting was much needed to help me see what had crept in that was not needed and then making the decision to eliminate and bring on new healthier actions. As you take time to pause and reflect, you will be surprised what new routines have crept into your life that add no value – you owe it to yourself to ensure that during this difficult time, you take care of yourself and do what brings you joy.
Move – Everyone I know is complaining about how much weight they have put on and that includes me. As I was reflecting on what I was and was not doing, I realised that I was not moving much during the day and to be honest that was the story of most of my friends. I had invested in a Nintendo ring fit to help me move at home and as I reflected on my daily routines, I noticed that I had barely used it. The intention was there but once again, I was not consciously choosing to do this and I was totally avoiding it. I was not going out for walks either as the weather had been a bit wet lately – so I would sit at my desk during my working hours and when I finally logged off at the end of the working day, I would become a couch potato the rest of my waking hours. I think we all agree that this is not the healthiest way to live, so a friend of mine and I have decided to support each other to set aside thirty minutes a day dedicated to exercising and making healthy dietary choices. I am accountable to her and she to me – and when we fail, we are kind to each other and give ourslves the chance to start over the following day. So find a buddy, someone to help you stay on course and hold you accountable so you do not lose motivation and stop moving.
Sleep – I cannot emphasise this enough, a good sleep will have you feeing better and in a fantastic mood when you wake up. I had been so overwhelmed with work lately that I found I was not sleeping well and was clocking about 3 hours sleep a night – so I decided to get some relaxing scents for the bedroom and candles to help with my mood. These have helped me to relax a bit before bedtime. Already I can see that my sleep has started to improve. We all have what helps lift our moods and help us relax – reflect on yours and incorporate them in your daily routines. We owe it to ourselves to come out of this pandemic healthier – so take time for yourself and ensure that you are getting the sleep you need.
If like me you feel you are going through life without an intentional routine because you are surviving, then hit the reset button and refocus. Take the time to pause your routines, reflect on the actions you are taking daily and decide to make choices that will incoporate some time to exercise and a set time to help you relax and rest better. Life is hard as it is already and I feel we need to be conscious in choosing what is good for us mentally, emotionally and physically. Thank you so much for always taking the time to get in touch and share your experiences – I would love to hear from you still so we can effect the change we need by charing our experiences.