Like so many others, I took this period to try and sort out some long outstanding chores. One of which was my garden which had fallen into a sorry state. I had it reseeded just before lockdown and now I’m seeing the grass shoots reveal themselves. It got me thinking: what other seeds may we sow during this time?
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit since the government keeps issuing 3 week extensions, this might be the ideal time to start implementing some great habits to improve your life and realise the fruits of your labour once it’s over. So in which ways could we make our lives better now post lockdown.
When you’re done reading, checkout the resources below for videos, podcasts and apps to help you out.
Keep a Routine
When working at home, it can be attractive to think about staying in your pyjamas all day while answering emails and eating chocolate for breakfast. Lockdown has disrupted our routines no end and many of us may be feeling the effect. Keeping a routine provides a structure and framework to build your day around. A schedule allows us to do what needs to be done and see objectively the time we have. It makes us more productive, but also helps with mental health. A routine reduces the amount of time needed to think about things.
Having wake up, work, rest, exercise, and bed times that are similar each day means you don’t have to waste time thinking about what you should be doing at any given point. This helps to reduce anxiety as the day becomes predictable. Knowing the times for your day’s activities also allows you to focus on the task at hand without distraction, and gives you a feeling of achievement once it’s done. So settle on times that work for you and stick to them. Then also write down each day what needs to be done and make the most of your day. Routine is a great remedy to anxiety and lack of productivity. So make sure to establish a good one now, ready to roll out when this is all over.
Exercise has never been easier
We have seen an incredible increase in online exercise offerings. Many people have realised how easy it is to train from home, whatever our preferred method of training. During this lockdown and after, we really have no excuse for not moving. If you’re someone who struggles with motivation, take the advice of Dr Kelly McGonigal by using movement to engage with the world. She explains that the movement itself isn’t important, the moving is.
So choose something you enjoy and something that is part of your life. If you like dancing then dance. If you love your garden then garden. Don’t restrict yourself to traditional forms of exercise only. If your movement is an expression of you and you enjoy it you’re far more likely to keep it up. She goes on to explain exercising with others also seems to have a neurological effect of bonding, making us feel more connected to those we train with. So grab someone, virtual or otherwise and get moving. Zoom and FaceTime means you can train with your friends or loved ones regardless of your location and situation. The effects of exercise are well known, but you can have the added benefit of feeling more connected too.
Technology and Social Media are not the enemy
We are lucky that we live in a time when social distancing doesn’t mean we are distant socially, but rather that we have to do our socialising from a distance. Phones, Social Media, FaceTime and Zoom mean we can still see and hear from one another. I’ve been in contact with some people more now than ever before lockdown.
If this situation teaches us anything, it’s that technology and social media are only as good or as bad as we use them. I feel before lockdown these things distracted us from one another, but now they are showing their power to connect. Going forward we should keep this going, as we schedule in calls with groups and individuals we simply don’t see enough of.
Faster isn’t always better
That’s what she said. And by “she” I mean a friend of mine, as we discussed how lockdown had affected her. It reminded me of how you would zoom down the highway, (remember doing that?), and then have to slow down because of roadworks. It was only then you realised how fast you were going. The pace of life we were leading was so fast, with experiences flying past us like the blur of trees on the roadside. Many of those experiences are beautiful and unique, and without slowing down we simply never noticed them fully if at all.
Lockdown has forced us all to pump the brakes. Can we start now to use this time to become more aware of the experiences in our lives that bring us joy? Eat your meals without the tv on, go for a walk, have a bath, talk to your friends without distraction, watch a movie, read a book, listen to a podcast at normal speed. In essence this is the art of being mindful. Extracting the joy from the variety of good things in our lives by taking the time to notice them.
Sure, not everything in your life may be good, but there are some things that definitely are. So going forward remember to slow down from time to time and take note of them. Meditation can be a great tool here: it gives us a moment in our day to just stop and take stock.
We have no idea what the future holds
I think it’s safe to say no one saw this coming. Our futures are all unknown and although that brings very little solace to us at times, it’s worth remembering. I’m reminded of a quote from one of my favourite movies, Lucky Number Slevin:
“The unlucky are nothing more than a frame of reference for the lucky, Mr. Fisher. You are unlucky so that I may know that I am not. Unfortunately, the lucky never realize they are lucky until it’s too late. Consider yourself for instance; yesterday you were better off than you are today, but it took today for you to realize it. But today has arrived, and it’s too late, you see? People are never happy with what they have. They always want what they had…what someone else has…”
I think we have all been given a chance to reflect on the things we loved that we can no longer do. Let us not allow any more tragedy to come into our lives, for us to take stock of all the good we have right now. Take today and all its elements as the gift that it is and rejoice in them.
For more tips on how to establish a routine:
Feel free to join me Tues-Sat 8:15 to 8:45 for Yoga and Meditation
If you want to try a new style of training which is audio only try the new With U app:
To find out more about Dr Kelly McGonigal:
I also recommend great workouts here:
Or you can also check out my IGTV for loads of free meditations.
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