Health and fitness expert Eleanor Heaton-Armstrong tells us how to plan our daily routine during the lockdown period.
As we move slowly, surely – and hopefully not too painfully – in to the next week of isolation, the novelty of sleeping in, working from home (or indeed not working at all – shout-out to my fellow self-employed ladies!) and having more time with our families may be wearing thin.
There is much to be said for the importance of maintaining a daily routine during what will – fingers crossed – be a brief moment in time before we dive head first back into our old lives. And who knows, we might even find something useful from this ‘new normal’ to take with us!
Wake up slowly – and don’t reach for your phone
I have a terrible habit of reaching for my phone first thing and I’ve really been trying to knock it on the head.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to sleep as long as your body lets you, I’d highly recommend it, and the following capsule routine to gently awaken your brain and body:
- Eyes open, focus on what you can hear and see – not your phone!
- Have a glass of water as soon as you can. Your body has gone without water for a prolonged period and needs hydration asap!
- Breathe. I like to light a candle, or step outside my front door and take deep breaths, even if only for one or two minutes.
Take some time during the day that’s just for you
Making time for yourself during the day, even if you’re still working eight hours, is essential. If there’s any time left between work, housework and kids and/or pets, make sure you factor in something that rewards YOUR passions. Examples of this could be:
- A creative or educational project.
- Something that is useful, as well as satisfying. This could be baking, having a big clear-out, or rearranging bookshelves or cupboards.
- Enjoying some time outside in nature. Take a walk, cycle, run, or even simply sit on your doorstep and observe your surroundings with a cup of tea.
Plan in some exercise, at least three times a week
While there is no reason to make exercise a priority as part of your daily routine, a couple of 30 minute sessions a week will do wonders for your brain and body. There are heaps of studios offering online workouts including everything from yoga to barre to HIIT. Fitness guru Annie Deadman has teamed up with woman&home to offer brilliant at-home workouts for 40+ women three times a week. You could try Joe Wicks’ work out for seniors, too. If you want to mix it up, a run or walk in your local park is the perfect way to get moving without the need for a phone or laptop.
Distinguish daytime from evening
A clear distinction between working hours and leisure hours should be drawn during your daily routine. Make sure you leave your ‘office’ even though there is no one there to tell you to. This is your time.
To enhance your evening…
- Eat something satisfying. Whether it’s a nourishing meal you’ve cooked from scratch, an indulgent takeaway or a big bar of chocolate, you’ve made it through another day of isolation and you’ve earned it.
- Pamper yourself, whether that means taking a long bath, trying out a homemade face mask or relaxing with deep conditioning hair mask. It’s a good way to exercise some self-care.
- Try and have less screen time towards the end of the day. Bring your brain back to the present and focus on the now.
- Stretch. Again there are lots of online programmes that will help relieve the muscles you’ve used (or not used!) during your day. Or just do whatever feels nice!
Even if you’ve had a busy evening, take time to switch off properly instead of just jumping into bed. No matter what you’ve done during the day, your brain has worked hard and deserves a little R&R before drifting off.
Go back to that moment of quiet and solitude you had at the beginning of the day. Breathe, light a candle, look at the sky. If this is the one moment of peace you have today, make the most of it!
To enhance your bedroom routine…
- I love making my bedroom into a real sanctuary. A lavender atomiser, everything neat and tidy, even a little bit of classical or whale music on in the background! Trust me, it may sound silly, but it’s such a nice way to end your day. Plants are also a great way of bringing the outdoors in to enhance your surroundings. You can check out the best plant delivery services here.
- Acknowledge the good moments and the bad moments from your day. This situation is new to everyone and there is no right and wrong to your day. All you can do is pay attention to how you feel and process those feelings accordingly.
Devising a routine is all about making the most out of your day; whether that means a morning workout every day, learning a new skill in the evenings, or spending more quality time with your family – just make sure you do what’s right for you.
Enjoyed this article? You can follow Eleanor for more healthy lifestyle tips on Instagram here.
And remember that as long as you’re getting enough sleep, dealing with stress or anxiety in a healthy way, not drinking too much and eating well, you’re going to survive the next few months with ease.