Keeping a routine during lock down

Similar to most of the world, England is now just over a month into Lock Down. We are advised that we can only leave the house to go to the shops, get some fresh air or to attend doctors appointments or care for vulnerable people (such as grandparents or at risk members of our families).

Also like the majority of people, I am not working. Under the government’s Job Retention Scheme, I am one of the many thousands of people who have been ‘furloughed’ from my job. This means that while I am still employed and still getting a paycheck (albeit not as much as my usual pay would be) I am not actually required to work until 31 May. My partner however is still working from home, so he at least still has that routine of work to keep the days moving. I however do not. As he is working, I am trying my best to be helpful which usually means staying out of his way during the working hours so he can focus and I don’t cause him too many distractions.

I will admit that this has been a struggle some days, as it does feel very much like limbo. As someone who has been working since they were 16 (and I will be turning 28 this year!), it feels very unnatural for me to not have work to do or meetings to attend. I have never had this amount of freedom before in my life: Even when I was at university I had a set schedule of classes to attend, and the majority of my free time was either spent studying or working part time. Now I have no choice but to stay at home and, for the first time ever, am being encouraged to sit around and watch Netflix all day!

Now do not get me wrong, the first few weeks of this were amazing! I could potter about the house and do my little bits and pieces: I could write, draw, start those sewing projects I had been planning, sort out my wardrobe. All of these little jobs I had wanted to do but never got around to doing. But after about the third week of this I’d done everything. I’d finished all the projects I had been thinking about, cleaned everything about five times and caught up with all of my Netflix shows. I had peaked. I also realised that I am a person who loves a routine, and also likes to know (as much as possible) what each day will bring for me. With no routine my already terrible sleeping habits were worse and my motivation to do anything at all was starting to dwindle. If lock down has taught me anything, it is that I am a total creature of habit and having a routine actually helps me to function better in my day to day life.

PSA: I know that we are in the midst of a global pandemic and that this time of lock down is not, by any means, a productivity contest. If you want to take this time to take naps and be as lazy as you possibly can because you never get the chance to be so, then by all means go for it! Do whatever you think is right for you to be able to cope during this strange and unprecedented time. If you feel like you cannot cope though, reach out to loved ones and your friends and maybe take this time to truly reconnect with people or to really reconnect with yourself on a deep and spiritual level. As long as you are looking after yourself, do not feel like you need to do more.

So now I have worked out a proper routine and I thought I would share it with you guys just in case anyone wanted to copy it or be inspired to make their own. I tried to stick to the usual 9-5.30 work day that I am used to, but this can obviously change if you are used to doing something else.

  • 8:00 am – Wake up. Morning routine of feeding the pets, making breakfast, having a morning cuppa and getting ready for the day ahead.
  • 9:00 am – work out time. Either a run, yoga or barre class.
  • 10:00am – I write for this blog. I plan out my posts and sort out what photos (if any) may be needed.
  • 11:30am – I am currently taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo, so this is an hour I dedicate to just writing my story or planning out the plot points. I like to limit myself to an hour otherwise I will just spend all day writing!
  • 12:30pm – Lunch time! My partner will stop for lunch so we will have some food together and then maybe go for a little stroll around the park near where we live.
  • 1:30pm – I do some YouTube lessons. At the moment I am trying to practice drawing, so am watching a variety of different creators and following a lot of different lessons on how to improve my drawing and painting techniques. I used to really enjoy art at school but never really continued it as I grew older. I am therefore using this time off to get back into it. I am by no means ‘good’ or ‘artistic’, but it’s something fun and is a nice little creative release for me.
  • 3:00pm – On Tuesday and Thursday, this is the time that me and my partner will play a video game with a friend. We all sit down, have a cuppa, and play through a video game together. At the moment we are working on Divinity Original Sin 2. It’s a lot of fun and if you are looking for a really in depth RPG to get stuck into then would highly recommend. It is also great fun to play with friends. The rest of the week however, this is when I just have completely free creative time: I will write more of my story, journal, paint, draw, sew something or read a book. Whatever I feel like on the day and it gives me a good two hours or so to just focus on a creative outlet with no real time constraints.
  • 5.30pm – Done for the day. This is then when I will tidy my desk area up, shower and get into my jammies, maybe call my parents or a friend, and then snuggle down with my partner for the night with dinner and movies.

And that is how my days usually go. I also like to start each day with a little to-do list where I write out everything that I would like to work on for that day and any reminders I have for myself, such as when to phone my parents or if I have to go to the shops that day. I have made my routine to be as set as possible in the timings, but have left it quite flexible as to what I do during that time: If I don’t want to go for a run, I can work out at home, or if I don’t feel like writing anything, I can do some painting instead.

Hope this helps guys and if you are sticking to a routine, let me know what yours looks like compared to mine! Even if you are just spending 4 hours a day watching Netflix, let me know what shows are binge-worthy and I may have to rearrange my own list! Stay safe everyone and look after each other.

T xxx

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