Strictly I was never fully locked down during these last three months being classed as a “key worker” I continued to go to work so I never felt completely holed up in the house like many other people. However, I have used this time to make some positive changes to my life and although I am sharing those changes here I am in no way saying you have to follow these. That would be me being a dictator.
When our children were younger we had to have a military run morning routine to make sure they were up, fed, dressed and walked to school in time. As they have become teenagers and much more self sufficient they have needed our help less and less. This has meant I have slid into a lazy routine which isn’t really a routine at all. In time gone by at 9am I would be back at home after doing the school run and ready to take on the day. Nowadays I can just about manage to pour myself a second cup of tea still wearing my pyjamas and bleary eyed. The dogs would look at me in expectation of a walk and sadly I would think “Manana”. Then I thought enough is enough. During lockdown I had more time than ever as there was less to do or places I could go so it was time to revert back to being organised at the start of the day.
I returned to a 7.30am alarm call whether I was on days off work or working late shifts. The idea was to get up and get on with the day rather than lounging around till midday. Straight up and downstairs to sort the dogs out. It is ironic that since lockdown in the UK the weather has been settled with dry weather and unbroken sunshine. A quick dog walk first thing in the morning has been really enjoyable. Strolling in a t-shirt and jogging bottoms with blue skies above and a warm breeze on the skin has done wonders. Ten minutes out in the morning air really did wake me up and clear my tired head.
With our youngest now schooling online from home the house was quiet upon my return from the walks. This gave me some time to sit in the garden or in the living room with the patio doors open and a warm morning breeze filtering into the house whilst I drank coffee and read the morning news. That quiet time helped focus my mind. A catch up on what was happening in the world and then I could leave my phone alone for a while.
Kicking social media into touch
I have written previously about ditching some of my social media platforms for various different reasons. By scaling this back I no longer feel tied to my phone or wasting my time endlessly scrolling news feeds. By just having my blog twitter account, I have spent less time online and cleared away a whole host of rubbish that was cluttering my head. There is a recurring theme here of decluttering my life with a morning routine and ditching social media as you will see if you read on.
I have not missed Facebook or Instagram at all. In fact my wife will always update me or show my anything that I need to know from those platforms which is rare as you can imagine. By clearing my social media I have made time for more reading and so onto the next chapter.
This ties in nicely with the last title in that I have started to do more with my time than just endlessly scroll online. These last couple of months have seen my phone interupt me less due to a lack of notifications allowing me to sit in the garden and read some books.
I have recently been binge watching Bosch on Amazon and have read two of the books too. Picking up a book, reading and enjoying the peace has been relaxing for the mind and soul. Getting away from the online noise and reading a good book has cleared my mind and meant I have been doing something better with the time I have.
Reducing the news
The news channels have been filled with 24 hour Coronavirus updates. It is always good to dip into the headlines and catch up with what is happening but to watch the news constantly I feel is not good for your wellbeing. There is far too much bad news that can easily dishearten you and expose you to too much negativity which is not good.
My general rule has been to watch the 10pm news which gives me the updates I need without over powering me with negativity.
Along with regular dog walks I have started running and cycling again. You can never underestimate the benefits of getting outside and away from distractions.
Sometimes when I have been holed up inside the house and thinking about what to write about I end up driving myself around the bend mentally. Often I fill my head with junk that is not important but even just taking 10 minutes outside clears your mind.
Walking, running or cycling tends to help me de-junk my thoughts, clears my mind and puts things into perspective. I return home in a better state of mind and with a clearer approach to the day.
Some of the practices I have adopted do make a difference. Certainly having the sunshine and warm weather helps too. Sometimes it is good to reassess where we are, what we are doing and make some slight adjustments. I know I have benefited from doing so.