As we settle down in to this lockdown period, I think it’s an important time to reflect and revaluate where we are in life. To press pause and think about what really matters to our happiness, and how we can create a lifestyle revolving around that.
In the absence of distraction and noise, and busyness. This is the perfect time to find out what we value and plan how we can cultivate a life of value when we emerge from this lockdown period.
That said, settling into the lockdown can be challenging at first, so here are my three steps to help you get through these changing times.
In times like these, it’s important to create structure in your life because it will being you routine and certainly. Uncertainly is what breeds panic so if you can start to make your day more predictable then you will start to create certainly in your situation. With that, you’ll start to feel more in control and thus more empowered – which is exactly what you need in times of uncertainty like this.
To do this, can you wake up at the same time, and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at set times throughout the day? This will help you break up the day into chunks, then you can fill the spaces in between with work (if you can work from home) or activities.
I live with my flat mate and her two year old, so our structure looks a bit like this –
7 – Wake up, tea
8 – Fitness
9.30 – Breakfast
10 – work/audio book (for the toddler)
12.30 – lunch
14 – Work/Play on the roof terrace
17 – Bath (for the toddler)
18 – Dinner
20 – Bed time (for the toddler)/Wind down – reading/watching a movie/chatting
We don’t always stick to this in a fixed manner, but we do use it as a guideline to help us manage the day. The aim of the structure is to create a plan in a space where there is no plan but we still have flexibility within it.
By creating a rhythm in your day, you’re priming your brain to build up and wind down depending on what stage of the day you’re in. The rhythm is what you create by putting certain activities into the structure of your day, and this is how you can set yourself up to win for each activity.
Using this technique will help you create a sense of mental stability so you can face any internal challenges that might come to the surface in your isolation period – you know, the times when you feel panicky because ‘oh my god we’re locked inside the house and there’s a virus out to get us!!!’ Or the times when you feel deflated and demotivated because you can’t do what you want so what is the point in doing anything.
These feelings are natural, so let them come up but do help yourself by putting the systems in place to help you throughout the day.
I start my day with a meditation and a hot lemon tea because this helps me wake up and get ready for my fitness class. The fitness class starts with slow mobility stretches and then builds up into a cardio workout – this builds up my energy for the rest of the day.
In the middle of the day I come out of my work rhythm to sit for lunch and connect with my house mate and her son – this gives my brain a break.
Then at the end of the day, I come out of my work space again and we have dinner together and then we wind down by doing activities that are calming. I usually finish the day with a mediation or listening to music because it generally calms my brain down, and I sleep better.
You might have a different rhythm but whatever it is, be consistent with it. This will serve you so much in the long run.
There’s no point getting caught up with what we can’t control – the ‘what if’s’, the ‘what they’re doing’, the ‘we should have’. Instead focus on what you can control, such as utilising your physical space.
A way you can do this is to create different zones for different activities, and then you can make sure that each zone has the appropriate set up for that activitiy
This is another brain priming technique to help you work the best in a zone, however it also can help you change your mood if you do it wisely.
For example you could have a quite/wind down zone which you only use for reading, meditating and sleeping. You could have a work zone which you only use for working and brainstorming in.
By using these techniques you’re giving yourself the best chance of thriving through the isolation period. You might even find yourself becoming motivated to do the things you’ve been putting off for years, or even to try new things that you hadn’t thought of before. If anything, I hope these steps help you centre yourself and inspire you to use this reset in the best way possible.
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Sending calming, positive and healthy vibes,