With the start of the second UK lockdown I have been thinking about how I want to approach this time differently and I have decided to focus on three main things.
Reducing Screen Time
During the first lockdown, and just in general, my screen time was huge! I could spend hours mindless scrolling through Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and constantly reading the news. For the next couple of weeks, I have disabled a lot of notifications on my phone so that I am only seeing the things I actually want to be seeing. I have turned off breaking news alerts for my news apps and will check in once every couple of days to see if there is anything I need to know.
Another thing that has a huge impact on my screen time is YouTube. Whilst this isn’t ‘active’ screen time it is something I want to work on reducing. I am the sort of person that likes to have something on in the background whilst I work and this usually comes in the form of YouTube videos. From 9am until 6pm when I am working and not in meetings I will have videos playing constantly and then I will put another couple on whilst I cook the tea or clean around the house. I am definitely not giving up watch YouTube because it’s something I love but I want to be more mindful about it. Podcasts are something I want to listen to whilst I work, rather than watching a video. It still gives me the background noise that I like and they are quite often informative or funny!
Since we started to come out of the first lockdown, I feel like I have lost some of the balance that I had before. My university module started in September and my candle business launched in November and I felt like when I wasn’t doing my 9-5 job I was working on something else and it was too much of a juggle. I am not going to stop doing any of those things but I need to find a better way to manage them. One thing I have been trying to do is sit down on a Sunday and plan out my diary for the week. I love this diary with two pages per week because I use one side for events and the other to block in my main tasks. I find that when I have planned out which days I am going to work on my shop, uni work or house work I can then plan in the days were I won’t work or can plot in an hour for myself in between the tasks.
Another thing I am trying to do is learn to say no to the things that I don’t want to do. In the first lockdown, we had a minimum of 2 zoom quizzes a week, among other calls, and I found it way too much! I want to be able to have calls with friends but I don’t want to feel obliged to do them almost every day when I know that I have other things to get done.
Building in Healthy Habits & Routine
With working from home and having less of a routine, there are a few things that I try to build into my day that really make a difference to how I am feeling.
Within my morning routine, I am aiming to do 3 workouts a week. I really want to get back to working out because it sets me up for the day and does make a big difference to my mood but I know that committing to working out every morning will be too much currently. Another thing I love doing in the mornings is having a coffee in bed and 15 minutes to read or watch a video and just get myself into the right frame of mind for the day before starting work.
During my work day I try to make sure that I get up from my desk at least once every hour to have a walk about or stretch and give my brain a little 5 minute break. I find that if I just stay sat at my desk and try to carry on working, I become very unproductive and get less work done than if I take those little breaks. Also, with the evenings being darker, I am trying to get out for a walk during my lunch hour to break up the day. This really refreshes my mind and it’s great to get moving even if it is just for 20 minutes.
Once I have turned off my computer for the evening I can find it quite difficult to switch off but there are a few little habits/ rituals that help me! The first thing I do is shut the door on my office space. I know that I am so lucky to be able to do that because I have my own little office but if you are working in your living room, or kitchen, or bedroom, try to move everything into one corner at the end of the day. I just find that it helps signal to your brain that the work day is over and you can relax a bit more in your space. This is also the time when I give myself half an hour to just relax. Whatever I need to get done can wait 30 minutes whilst I decompress from the day and read or play on my switch or whatever I fancy doing for that half an hour. The final habit I have formed is putting aside time for me to have a long bath and watch a TV show or listen to a podcast. I love the whole process of running the bath, using my favourite bubble bar from Lush and lighting a candle for the perfect relaxed environment. It is something that I look forward to and it is a habit that I want to keep up during this lockdown.