In a recent post on Instagram, I recommended that to help you stay healthy mentally as well as physically during lockdown, you should Create a Daily Routine. Many of you asked for more detail on my routine and how I created it so here you go.
The current situation has caused many changes to everyone’s daily lives which may have left you feeling chaotic and out of control. I always tell people the best way to lower stress levels and feel more in control is to change the things that are within your control – like your routine. Now I know it’s much harder to stick to a routine when you’re trying to juggle homeschooling, working from home, the daily admin of life and the fact that everyone is at home at the same time. Especially if you normally have outside help perhaps from dog walkers, childminders, cleaners, even little things like online food deliveries. But little changes and a bit more structure can really help you regain some feeling of calm and control.
That said, the most important thing with creating a routine is to be open and flexible to changing it day-to-day or week-to-week as your needs and focus shifts. And even more importantly DON’T beat yourself up if things don’t go to plan. Life throws us curve balls even now because we still have to accommodate the needs and demands of others and we can’t control them (as much as we might like to).
How I approach creating a routine
I’ve been creating a daily schedule for myself for the past two years to help support my own energy levels. It’s helped me to get on top of my wellbeing after I was diagnosed with a chronic health condition and is helping me maintain my health (so far) during lockdown. Here are some tips to help you create your own routine.
Write it down
I write my to-do list and schedule for each day in a bullet journal. I have half an A5 page per day (this was originally to limit the number of tasks I could set myself on a day to help stop me overdoing it). I normally mark out one month of days so I can schedule things which need to be done on a specific date (which still applies even now I think!) Having it written down helps give focus – you may choose to be specific or general with your routine and schedule – make it work for you.
List and schedule the things you have to do and the things you want to do
I write down a list of things I need to do that day, including the basic things like showering, breakfast, lunch, dinner – because when you have limited energy you have to account for everything but now more than ever I think it’s essential to maintain the basics like eating three meals a day and personal hygiene!
This step might not be appropriate for everyone so skip or amend if it doesn’t work for you. Each evening I write down how long I think each to-do on my list for the next day will take, and schedule a time to do each activity. I also schedule a buffer time between each activity to allow for things taking longer and to give me all-important time out to make a cup of tea, get ready to go out for your daily walk or even just to take a breath and be in the moment rather than simply rushing around doing.
It helps to know what time of day works for you for certain activities when you’re doing this and you may need to take into account the needs/movements and activities of others in your house too of course!
Try to avoid over-committing yourself with activities on any one day. It’s easy to think without the pressures of going anywhere you’ll achieve so much more – some days you might, but other days the time will disappear without you really knowing what you’ve achieved – but I can tell you what you did achieved is surviving – and that’s enough.
I personally set all tasks in 15-min blocks – so something can take 15-mins up to 1.5 hours – I try to break any bigger tasks which may take longer into smaller component parts because for me if I schedule something too big it feels overwhelming and tends to not get done. Even if I think a task will take 5-mins I schedule 15-mins for it as mentally it gives me a lift because I have achieved it in less time and earned myself some time back!
Change locations and focuses
Some people advocate doing similar activities together at the same time – which can be very helpful in some situations. But for me I know I work best if I can change location or change my focus every few hours. But you may be different so understanding yourself and how you work best is important. If blocking together similar activities works for you – do it!
If it’s not working – make a change
Don’t forget, if you find your routine isn’t working for you don’t be afraid to mix it up and try something else. It’s taken me years to identify a routine that works for me, and it’s constantly changing as I change and the world around me evolves! It’s changed significantly since lockdown began and below is a rough outline of what my routine looks like now.
My daily lockdown routine
This is more of a Monday – Friday routine but weekends are similar, I just swap work for household chores/life admin and increase the amount of relaxation/downtime.
The activities I do change slightly each day but here is the routine I try to follow.
6.45 – 7.15 am – slowly wake up, do a guided meditation (for 10-15 mins) while sitting in bed with my headphones on, rinse my eyes and mouth with warm water to help wake me up.
7.30 – 9.30 am – some form of movement – perhaps an online yoga class or a run, breakfast, shower, get dressed and ready for the day.
9.30 – 12.30 pm – this is generally my most productive time work-wise so I try to tackle big projects, anything which involves creative thinking/writing (like this blog post!)
12.30 – 2.30 pm – Lunch and walk with the dog (if I haven’t already been out for a run in the morning).
2.30 – 5.30 pm – the afternoon is generally more of a struggle for me so I try not to schedule activities that require too much energy or brainpower. So I might do simple work or life admin bits, recipe testing, taking photos, catching up with friends (online and over the phone of course) social media, etc.
5.30 – 9.30 pm – I try to stop any work-related activities by 5-6 pm, I switch off my laptop, close the door to my office (I’m lucky enough to have a separate office space now but when I used to work from the dining room table I made sure I packed away my bits somewhere out of sight so I could properly switch off). Then I have some time for me – I may do an online yoga class (if I didn’t do one in the morning), take a long hot bath, spend time with my partner, relax and watch TV (I’m currently rewatching the whole of Friends from series 1!) then we cook dinner, clear up, watch TV, play board games, chat with friends and I make my schedule for the next day.
9.30 – 10.30 pm – evening skincare routine – it can be tempting to skip this if we’ve been at home all day and not been wearing make-up but for me, it’s a little ritual which forms part of my evening wind-down routine (will share more about the products I use and my exact routine in another post), read in bed or chat with my partner before going to sleep.
So that’s my daily lockdown routine – I hope that’s helpful to those of you who are struggling with your own routines at this time. If you have any questions drop them in the comments below OR if you’re someone who feels like you have your routine sorted do you have any other tips you can share with people?
Stay safe everyone x