I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s daily life has changed today compared to a month ago. How has mine changed? As hard as it was to adjust at first, I think I have finally settled into a new routine, which I have even penciled into the monthly planner I have sitting on my desk. Although it’s messy (and that’s the only reason why I haven’t included a picture of it here), below I’ll try to map it out for you, and maybe it can give you some ideas to come up with your own routine or complement the one you already have.
(Limited) news update
I try my very best to wake up early. I love sleeping, but I have realized over the years that starting my day earlier, when there’s more light, makes me feel more productive and better with myself. The first thing I do when I wake up is pick up my phone (like I’m sure most of you do), and I take about half an hour to read the world news updates. I have found that reading too much about the current situation makes me feel anxious very easily, so I have decided this is the only moment during the day I will do so. Since we are so connected through the Internet and social media (which I do constantly keep up with during my day), if something extremely important happens in the world, I know I’ll eventually hear about it.
I have also found that exercising early in the morning makes me feel energised, so I try to alternate between yoga, jogging and home workouts.
For yoga routines -which I like to do on Monday’s to start the week off with a more positive mindset- I usually follow flows online, mostly from the fitness blogger Sjana Elise. You can read more about the reasons why I do yoga and where to find online routines in my previous article here. I have also set myself the goal of learning how to do a handstand before the lockdown is lifted, by practicing Adriene’s tutorial on YouTube. Once I master it, I think I’ll try a forearm stand tutorial, although it does seem a lot more challenging and I sincerely hope the lockdown is over before I have the time to accomplish it!
When I jog I try to vary my routes so that it’s visually more entertaining and I can get to know parts of the city I haven’t had the chance to explore yet. I had heard a lot about Fallowfield before coming to campus, and although nowadays it’s not the buzzing and party-like neighbourhood I had read about, it was still nice to cross it off the list. This week I plan on taking an “excursion” to Old Trafford, which I hope to have the chance to see from the inside before I leave Manchester this year.
As for home workouts, I follow a couple fitness bloggers on Instagram such as kelseywells and kayla_itsines and simply copy their routines. I especially like Kelsey’s routines because most of them don’t require any fancy equipment and if they do, they can usually be done with resistance bands. I bought these off Amazon at a really cheap price and I have found they’re very effective and portable. I also know the uomsport Instagram is regularly posting workouts and challenges, although I haven’t come around to trying them out yet. Finally, I recently downloaded the Mywellness app, which is offering workouts specially for UoM students, so you should definitely check it out.
On days on which I feel a bit more anxious than usual I have tried to either turn on short meditation drills or to follow 10-minute yoga routines like the ones by “TheFloga” on Instagram. She has a really good one for neck and shoulder, which you can do at your desk and in between work breaks. It’s very relaxing! The Headspace app is another useful resource for people (like myself!) who have only recently started meditation. You can read more about my experience with meditation in my previous article – why do I do yoga and meditate.
A large portion of my day is obviously spent on assignments, group work and now, my dissertation. As much as I have always liked to take my time with my schoolwork and I have no trouble spending hours every day working at a desk and multitasking to get a lot of things done, I’ve tried to pace myself in the past few weeks. Keep in mind that the situation we’re going through is one of a kind and it involves types of stress you probably have never dealt with. What I’m trying to say is, don’t be so hard on yourself! I have tried to set the goal of getting at least two big chunks of work done in my day, from two different modules. However, if I feel I’m inspired to keep working on something, I go ahead and do so, and forget the other task I had originally planned to do that day. I also try to take short breaks every hour or so. I either make myself coffee, have a snack, stretch, go on social media or browse the Internet, take a short walk outside, cook, watch Netflix or speak to friends on the phone.
Shopping and cooking
I have set out one day of the week to do my grocery shopping, usually to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, milk and eggs. I also try to think ahead of the next two or three meals I’ll cook so that I make sure I have the ingredients to prepare them ahead of time. I have the habit of cooking in bulk because I don’t mind eating the same thing for two or three days, and I find it’s a lot more efficient than cooking every day. While I cook, I like to listen to music or sometimes I call up a friend and gossip while chopping away.
Cleaning and laundry
As dull as it sounds, I have also penciled into my calendar the days on which I plan on vacuuming and dusting my room, when I need to do laundry, and when I should change my bedsheets. I don’t know about you, but every time I change my bedsheets, I feel I sleep better which is why I try to do it periodically. Moreover, even though I don’t aaalways make my bed in the morning, I feel a little sense of accomplishment when I do. It also gives me a comfortable place to lie on if I feel like taking a rest during the day, and since the bed has already been made, there is a lower risk of temptation to crawl back under the covers.
Finally, I would just like to end this post by encouraging you to keep busy but to relax when you feel you need to. Sometimes it’s OK to not be productive, to watch Netflix for hours, to talk to friends and family on Zoom or WhatsApp, or to do absolutely nothing. It’s also nice to bask in the sun, even if it’s only for a few minutes right outside your door, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. This will probably sound like a yogi cliché but try and look for a balance in your day to day and you’ll find that making it through the week will get easier.