Maintain your normal
In today’s blog post I want to talk about things that you can do to help maintain a sense of normality, now that we are beyond the first couple of weeks of lockdown within the UK.
The days seem to blur from one into the next
I’m sure you’ve had the situation where you been on holiday for a couple of weeks and after the first week you forget what day it is, and all the days they seemed to run into one another. You may have also found that the same thing is true now that we are in lockdown in the UK. For example, it’s currently Monday morning, however it doesn’t really feel like a Monday, and yesterday didn’t feel like Sunday.
Humans are very complex creatures, however one thing we like is to have is regularity and a routine. For example, when you go to work on a Monday morning you might take the train. If you do, you want to know that the train will be at the right platform, at the right time & take a normal amount of time to get to your stop, so that you can get to your office at a certain time.
So, my top tips for you during this time of lockdown is to try and maintain your normal working week.
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you still have your alarm clock turned on. This means that you will be getting up at the same time as you normally would, having breakfast at the same time as you normally would, & get ready to leave the house as normal.
Although you may well be working from the dining room table, if you can maintain a regular working day, you will be able to keep a better track of what day it is in the week. Another thing that you should plan in for each working day, is regular breaks away from your computer screen. When you’re normally working in an office, you will get interruptions from colleagues asking if you want a cup of tea, or trips to the photocopier or printer. Now that you are working from home, you need to make sure that you are still having please regular breaks away from your screen.
If you are lucky enough to have a back garden, why not spend 5- or 10-minutes mid-morning and mid-afternoon just walking round outside enjoying some fresh air. We know we are limited to less than one hour of exercise outdoors per day, so why not use some of this time away from your screen hello during the working day. If you don’t have a back garden, maybe you have a balcony or somewhere else that you can go to away from your screen. It might even be a different room where you live. You could even spend 5 minutes just going up and down the stairs. It’s good exercise and will help to break the monotony sitting in front of a screen all day.
Ultimately, what we need to do is to break up the day into manageable chunks so that it doesn’t run into one long block.
What about the weekend?
It’s vitally important that when you’re trying to maintain your normal, you to have things planned in for the weekend. You probably used to have things planned for the weekend, whether that be a Friday night out, or going to see a sporting event on a Saturday. Given that sporting events are now almost all cancelled, and you can’t go out to a club on a Friday night, what else can you do to give yourself a treat at the weekend?
Don’t forget that lots of restaurants are now offering takeaway services. Loads of the restaurants around you are small family run businesses. Like all other small businesses, they will be suffering with the current lack of trade So if you can buy your Friday night takeaway from one of these restaurants locally that will really help them and ultimately the local economy.
Something else that you need to maintain in your lives is comedy. You probably have somebody at your workplace who tells lots of jokes. You probably watch comedy programmes on the television or listen to them on the radio or podcasts.
What about the funny?
If you don’t already listen to podcasts now is probably a good time to investigate them. If you don’t know what a podcast is, it’s basically like a radio show that you can listen to whenever you want. You can even download it directly to your phone, tablet or your laptop. The BBC sounds app is a great place to start your podcast journey. Why not download the app today and see what takes your fancy? All you need to do is to search for a category and the app will suggest lots of possible podcasts that you might like. You might already be regular podcast listener, in which case why not search for new podcasts. Don’t forget that there are lots of other apps that you can use to listen to podcasts.
Something that we all need to have in mind is that we all like treats every now and then. So just as you have planned into your diary holidays, days out, meals, etc, you need to continue this even though you can’t leave your home. So, what sort of treats could you have?
We’re only a couple of weeks away from Easter, and it’s traditional for people to have an Easter egg hunt. So why not plan to have something similar at home this year as well. If you don’t already have lots of Easter eggs at home, think about what you could use instead. Remember it is traditional for people to paint for shells of eggs at Easter, so if you have eggs in your cupboards, why not paint them this year.
Don’t forget but when people are out walking and looking for NHS rainbows and teddy bears in peoples windows; this year people are also looking for drawings of Easter eggs.
Another thing to think about is your level of alcohol consumption. If you’re like, me then you probably used to have a glass of wine most evenings after your meal; what has become known as “wine o’clock”.
Now that we’re in lockdown it’s obviously really important that we don’t start wine o’clock shortly after breakfast! That’s definitely not normal.
I’m definitely not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy a glass of wine (or whatever), however we are trying to look after each other’s health while this virus is around, so if you can look after your liver as well that would be a benefit. In fact, Now is a great time to start increasing your level of physical activity. It’s something that will almost certainly make you healthier and help your immune system fight any infection should you get any in the future. This is really important because the research is showing that being physically active and having a good respiratory function promotes a swifter recovery from coronavirus.
Don’t forget that being physically active also releases endorphins, the body is natural high. Yes, it will take a few sessions of physical activity to get to this stage, however when you get there you will enjoy the resulting feeling after you have done the physical activity. But stick with it, and you will get there. If you’ve ever had the sensation of really enjoying going fast, doing something risky, or even eaten some chocolate, then you will know what I mean by the endorphin rush.
So in conclusion take care of yourselves. Maintain a normal working week and keep the weekends for days not to work. Give yourselves a treat every now and then as you would normally, and don’t forget to look out for your family, friends and work colleagues.
We’re all in this together, so if you have some additional ways that you use to help you maintain a sense of normality, please let us know using the comments field below.