Updated: Feb 23
How to stay healthy, productive & positive during quarantine lockdown!
Currently in the blurry midst of week 12 something of an indefinite lockdown here in Sydney and I think it’s safe to say, this time round we’ve all been a little more vigilant in protecting our health and wellbeing from the impact that can come from the uncertainty and isolation.
Implementing tools to navigate these trying times, has been so crucial for our mental health, our relationships and to keep our careers ticking over.
Now I’m certainly no expert when it comes to this topic, but over the last 18 months, after multiple lockdowns and work adjustments, these are some of the things that have helped me to focus on my better days. Of course, there has been days when the stress, sadness or anxiety overwhelmed and crept in, but knowing tomorrow is a new day and a chance to restart, helped to shift my focus to a more positive mindset, taking each day one step at a time.
The Daily Routine
I’ve always found sticking to some kind of daily routine beneficial when it comes to staying productive and motivated especially when working from home. This not only ensures I achieve what needs to get done each day both professionally and personally, but also keeps my mind busy so it doesn’t have time to entertain all the white noise.
With so many people out of work or forced to work their regular 9-5 job from home, it can be very easy to slip into a bad routine and unhealthy habits. Regardless of your work / life balance shift, if your previous daily routine worked for you, stick to it.
That means setting a morning alarm at the regular time, getting up and dressed, starting your work on time, taking regular breaks and switching off at the end of the work day to begin your regular night routine.
During these times, I’ve been a lot kinder on myself, the alarm may get set back a little later after binging Netflix the night before, or I’ll switch my morning walk for reading a chapter of my book. It’s important to listen to your body and what it physically and mentally needs but setting a daily routine always helps set a positive tone for the day ahead.
Adjust Your Schedule
As someone who thrives on scheduling and making lists, I usually know where I’m going and what I’m doing each day for months in advance. But with so much uncertainty in this current climate, plans regularly change and my schedule needs to adapt.
To avoid falling into a funk of procrastination and no action, I’ve found it more achievable to make a bite size manageable plan to work from, a list of things to tick off that are doable, keeps me focused on the present workload as opposed to focusing on things that I can't change. By narrowing my plans down from months to days, has given me the ability to achieve tasks and not dwell on the unachievable.
Stay Connected - But Limited
Our ability to connect virtually has never been more appreciated or needed during these times. It has enabled us to keep our businesses afloat, work from home, find solace in isolation, stay connected to our loved ones and bridge the gap of time and distance through virtual means.
I've found myself in awe of the way so many people have carried on with such hope and positivity, despite what's happening around them and to them. Adjusting to survive this new normal, embracing online and social networks to pursue new careers and education for self-development, learn new skills and hobbies or find creative ways to pivot their career to suit the current environment.
With that said, not all forms of media are equal, particularly in large doses so it’s incredibly important to recognise the content your consuming and gauge whether it’s healthy or triggering for you.
For me, that is the news. Call me ignorant, but I stopped watching the news pre-pandemic as I noticed it would trigger my anxiety. Whilst I think it’s important to know what is going on in the world and in our own backyards, I have the control to choose what and how much of said negativity I consume and for me this was a healthy shift I’m glad I made.
Life right now is already so heavy, so limit social and news media to a level you feel comfortable consuming, not an amount that makes you anxious.
We all know if your cup is empty, there’s not much left to give to our families and our work.
Stay Hydrated & Eat Well
Staying on top of your health is imperative during this time and immunity is king.
Naturally, when we mentally feel low, the typical thing to do is either reach for comfort food or fail to eat altogether. Indulging in that extra glass of bubbles over dinner of scrolling on the Uber app may seems appealing, but remember, this is a time we can’t afford to drop the ball on our health and how we are fuelling our bodies. Now is the time to eat well, up the vitamins and stay hydrated.
Move your Body
We know that exercise is good for our overall health and sense of well-being, but exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits. Physical activity pumps up the production of your brains feel-good endorphins, easing depression and anxiety which many are feeling right now. Schedule your day to include some form of exercise, get out in the fresh air and if you’re lucky, a little bit of sun for some added Vit D.
You don’t always have to be rearing to jump up and get dressed for the day (even though this generally makes you feel better in the long run). Sometimes you just need one of those days, the ones you want to stay in comfy clothes and have a doona day on the couch and that is perfectly acceptable. If you need it, do it.
Now is the time to reward yourself. Not because of any grand achievement or milestone, but simply for surviving the heavy days. Reward yourself with something you love to do, like baking, watching Netflix, reading a book, take a bath, go for a walk or treat yourself to an online purchase etc. Whatever your guilty pleasure, do it unapologetically because you deserve it and that fleeting hit of dopamine will make all the difference.
Be a little kinder to yourself during this time, your future self will thank you for it later.
Keep Things in Perspective
It’s very easy to get caught up in the white noise and wave of heightened emotions that come from so much uncertainty, and I’m personally guilty of this. To vax or not to vax, will lockdown ever end, when can we see our loved ones, will we ever be able to travel again, will the world go back to normal, will we have to live this way forever etc.
The truth is, there is no definitive answer and likely never will be. The world has changed and likely never will be the same again, but it will adjust and settle into a different rhythm, we will learn to live a new normal and who knows, maybe that will be even better?
Remember to keep things in perspective and focus on the positives and what is immediately important, the things you can control and make the absolutely best of it. Vaccination rates are high, we can finally see light at the end of a very long tunnel, change is definitely coming. Until then, be grateful for the little things, a morning coffee, a daily walk, our health, the job you maybe hate but still lucky to have, more time with our fur babies, meals on the table, the roof over your head etc. Focusing too far ahead with all the little what if’s or when and how’s is overwhelming and will completely rob you of appreciating and enjoying all the things you have to be grateful for right now.
Love Bella xx
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