Four weeks. It took me four weeks to realise and wake up. Yes, we are living uncertain and unprecedented times. Yes, we are angry, sad, shocked. But even though we feel powerless, we should still act. Because yes, we are staying at home, but this is actually doing ‘something’.
So in the beginning when I started working from home (and my company made us work from home one week before the UK lockdown), I was lazy. I would wake up late, stay in my PJs, log on. I didn’t have much motivation to exercise. I was eating a lot. I was walking a bit after work, but that was about it. Then I started realising that although your home is now your workplace and that there is no real divide, you could actually make the most of it.
Rise and shine
Literally. Wake up, (do not watch your phone), eat breakfast and wear some clothes. Wear comfortable clothes (depending if you have a video call that day), and do something that will make you feel good. It can be a quick yoga session, some stretching and applying some make-up.
Go to work
Actually you are not going to work since you are staying at home. But your mindset has to shift. In my case, I wear different slippers. So when I am done with my work day, I wear my comfortable fluffy slippers.
Try to find something that will make your mindset change. Maybe you could just go out or get the mail then come back in. Maybe you want to do a few push-ups. Anything that works for you.
Set your office space
This can prove quite challenging especially if you live in a small flat. I have installed my desk area on the dining table. More because I didn’t have space anywhere else as my company sent me a second monitor. So do find a space where you can work, and consider ordering a small desk or table if you live in a flatshare.
One funny tip I got from a colleague was to use the ironing board as a standing desk – why not!
I’ve ordered some small succulent plants to put around my screen.
This, too, took some time for me. I used to dance 3-4 hours a week and do some HIIT classes in between. Now I don’t move at all. So I decided to stand up once every hour and take active breaks. At lunchtime I try to go around the block and come back. You can also go for a small walk while listening into a work call (where you do not need to participate).
Then after ‘work’, I go for a longer walk and come back to do some exercise. Living in a ‘small’ old Victorian house type flat, this was a bit difficult. I cannot really jump hard or the whole building shakes (or so it feels) or probably the neighbours can hear. But I exercise on the carpet and it seems fine. There are so many live classes (dance, fitness, HIIT…) on Instagram. If you cannot stick to a schedule, there are also a lot of videos on Youtube. And the lives on Instragram are usually saved for 24h so you could always check them after.
I do some HIIT exercises every day now for 15 minutes with one rest day a week. Plus on top either stretching and/or dance (but the limited space frustrates me a lot). See, it is not much so if you find the exercise type that works for you, go for it.
Find or rekindle with a hobby
Because in these tough times, you need to do something you love at least once everyday. You cannot go out anymore, you cannot eat out or meet friends. Thanks to technology we can still connect – but it is important that you find something you like doing.
In my case it was piano. I used to play piano everyday and with work and everything I just stopped. But now, I have no excuse. So I started playing again and do a bit everyday. I feel so much better now.
So that’s it. I’m sure it is different for everybody and as anyone I still have lazy or bad days. But actually trying to follow a ‘routine’ has made me more organised, motivated and generally happier. Everyday I try to find one thing I liked about the day (or the fact we are indoors). For example for me, not commuting every single day is quite pleasant. I used to have to take 2 trains and one bus to go to work.
So even if you miss your life, it’s the little things and taking it easy. Not being too harsh on yourself because you feel like you could be more productive. In the beginning I felt like everyone in the neighbourhood was becoming a runner. I hate running so I find out other ways to exercise.
And you, what are your top tips? Is there anything that has worked for you? Let me know in the comments!