In such strange, uncertain times it can be easy to fall out of your routine and struggle with everything that is going on, but I’m here to share with you what I have been doing to make lockdown a little bit easier. It is important to remember that not every day will be a happy, productive one, but that is 100% okay. Do not be hard on yourself and remember to take things at your own pace. It’s easy to look at social media and see friends baking, working out and completing DIY projects and feel rubbish because you’ve not even got out of your pyjamas today, but try not to compare what you are doing to what others are doing. Take each day one at a time and just do what suits you.
Keeping in Touch
The first thing that I have been doing is making sure that I’m keeping in touch with friends and family. I’ve been doing pub quizzes through video calls, phoning my Mum and sister, having virtual coffee dates with my best friends and just generally messaging all my friends and family. I have even made the most of all this free time to catch up with some friends that I haven’t seen or spoken to in a while due to us both being so busy. It’s been strange not seeing any of them for over two months, but it’s worth it to make sure we all stay safe and healthy. This is definitely a habit that I want to keep when the lockdown is lifted as I’ve really enjoyed taking time out to chat to friends when I usually wouldn’t have time to. I will make sure, going forward, to take the time to speak to my friends that do not live nearby more frequently.
Establishing a Routine
After face-to-face teaching was cancelled at uni, I really struggled to get into a new routine. It was strange not having my normal weekly routine at uni, where I would get to catch up with friends and then having lots of fun things planned for the weekend, but I did manage to get into a new routine. I try to wake up around 8 am to make sure that I am in some semblance of a routine for when the lockdown is lifted. I always get dressed out of my pyjamas because I feel that I am less productive when I lounge around in pyjamas all day (however everyone needs a pyjama day every so often!). I try to go for at least one walk a day to ensure that I am staying fit and healthy. I also find that even when I cannot be bothered to go for a walk, it always lifts my mood and leaves me feeling refreshed and glad that I did. I also have an unhealthy dinner, such as pizza or a burger on a Saturday night so I have a treat to look forward to at the weekend. We also have a big group video call where we do a pub quiz on a Saturday night, so it’s always fun to catch up with everyone then. On Saturday, I also like to put makeup on for the pub quiz as I really miss getting ready to go out with all my friends, so it brings back a sense of normality for me. I have found it really effective to get into a routine so that I am getting enough sleep and exercise, and to give me things to look forward to throughout the week. It also means that I don’t stay up super late every night and have a long lie every morning. I go shopping at the same time on the same day every week to help with my routine, and I have also planned all my meals for the week, so I only have to visit the supermarket once. This also minimises food waste and means I don’t need to worry about what to have for dinner every night. I have also found it useful to plan what I want to achieve the next day or tasks that I want to complete by categorising them by ‘should do’ and ‘could do’. The tasks that I ‘should do’ are ones I need to complete and the ‘could do’ are ones that are not necessary but I will complete them if I want something to do. I feel this breaks tasks into much more manageable chunks so I do not feel overwhelmed.
Take Time for Yourself
I have found that I really enjoy having some ‘me’ time and taking some time to relax by myself. I love going for a long bath on a Sunday night with a hair mask and facemask to chill out before the week ahead. I usually put some music on, or something on Netflix and take some time to unwind and destress. This helps me to clear my mind for the week ahead. Seeing as the weather has been so beautiful, I have also enjoyed sitting outside in the garden reading a book with a cup of coffee. It is so lovely and peaceful to sit outside in the sunshine listening to the birds. I have also enjoyed spending a lot of time cooking and making myself really healthy and tasty lunches, which is not something I would usually spend a lot of time on, I would just make something quick for convenience.
I kind of touched on this in the section on taking time for yourself, but I have loved having the time to get back into reading. I used to read a lot when I was younger, but I have totally fallen out of the habit in the past few years. I have really enjoyed re-reading some of my favourite books and starting new ones. My Mum also sent me this lovely gift which contained a surprise book, you just pick the genre that you want, so I cannot wait to start reading that next! I have also been baking a lot more than I ever have after I managed to get a hold of some flour after the shortage in the shops. I have baked scones, empire biscuits, truffles, lemon drizzle cake…the list goes on. I have also taken this time to learn how to do new things with my hair, such as how to use rollers and how to give yourself a blow-dry, so I have enjoyed learning new skills and pampering myself. The same goes for makeup – I have been experimenting with colours and techniques that I never usually do in my day-to-day makeup so it’s been fun to take the time out to practice that and try out new things. There are also loads of free courses you can do online which are really interesting, such as project management and social media marketing which I am really tempted by. I have also been using this time to practice new languages on the Duolingo app which is a free app where you can learn over 30 different languages – I’d really recommend it for people looking for something to do.
I have found it really important to keep the house nice and tidy and clean. As I am spending more time inside than ever before, it can be easy for the place to get in a bit of a mess but it is important to try and spend a few minutes tidying up after yourself so the place is nice and tidy for the next day. I find that it makes me happier if I am in a tidy space, rather than one that is messy. When I am doing any work, I find it really important to sit in a tidy place at a desk to maximise my productivity. When I was completing my exams for uni, I tried to keep my space tidy and only use it for studying, so I knew when I sat down that it was time to work and I was in the right mindset.
Beginning in 2020, I couldn’t have imagined that my day-to-day life would look anything like it does at the moment. In order to keep myself going throughout lockdown, I have made sure that I’ve got little treats and nice things to look forward to. This could be as simple as buying yourself a facemask, a bath bomb, making yourself your favourite dinner, buying your favourite snack at the shop, or even just making a really tasty breakfast, such as pancakes. I have really appreciated little things like this over the last wee while and it’s made me appreciate the things that I normally love to do, such as a coffee date at a coffee shop with friends a lot more. I won’t ever take this for granted ever again. I think it is really important to be kind to yourself at the moment, now more than ever and to do something nice for yourself every so often. I do not know how much longer we are going to be in lockdown for, but I hope that you find my list of things that help to make lockdown easier for me. I cannot wait to be back in my flat at uni in Aberdeen but until then, I’ll just have to keep staying positive in lockdown. Please check up on your friends and family at the moment, this is not an easy time and a lot of people will be struggling. Just do what you can to stay positive and get through lockdown, these are not normal times so just try and find your own new ‘normal’ for now. Stay home, protect the NHS, save lives.