A Good Start to a Lockdown Day
Reed Wellbeing’s Partnership Manager in Leeds, Christine Lunn, writes about starting the day well.
Not all of us start the day with a spring in our step. Bring in a pandemic and national lockdown measures and all of a sudden it is a whole new level of difficult.
The good news is, whatever your current situation, there are a few simple steps that can be put into place to give you the best chance of setting you up for a productive and happy day.
What can you control?
In a time when so much is out of our control, it is becoming increasingly evident that we should focus on the things we can control.
Nobody can tell us exactly when lockdown will come to an end or the answer to many questions about the outcome of the pandemic.
Giving too much energy to things outside of your control is likely to leave you feeling anxious and fatigued.
So, start your day by asking yourself, “what can I control today?”
There are many ways you could answer this question – such as what you will wear, what meals you will plan for the day, what work tasks, home schooling or housework you might focus on.
Consider your whole day and you are likely to find many aspects that you can decide on. Doing this should give you an increased sense empowerment, motivation and purpose.
The ‘normal’ routine
Consider what your normal routine pre-lockdown would have involved from start to finish…
Alarm goes off. Get up, shower, brush teeth, make breakfast.
It is easy to presume these activities aren’t as important as when things were ‘normal’ . But the truth is, they hold even more importance.
These activities are all completely within our control and provide that crucial element of ‘normality’ that we are craving.
Don’t underestimate it. Stick to what you know – it will be of far more comfort than you realise.
There seem to be a lot of stories of people getting their exercise near the end of the day or when they finish their work if they are working from home.
This is great and the most important thing is to be active and plan this time in.
It is worth considering though, whether you could try more activity at the start of the day.
Physical activity is proven to improve mood through the release of endorphins and helps us to feel empowered.
Doing your exercise in the morning could be the best tool available to us for starting the day in a great mood.
Keep in mind that even just 10 minutes of moderate activity can make a difference.
Make a plan(-ish!)
We all like to know what is going to happen next…
And we’re back to the original point here – we are in control of our own daily plan.
You could have a vague outline for your day or it could be a very detailed plan task by task, but overall it is better to have some structure rather than ‘winging it’.
You do need to be kind to yourself and your plans. Be flexible where you need to and don’t be scared to change the plan if there is logic to do so.
For example, you might be struggling to focus on a project you wanted to complete during the morning.
Could this be reasonably moved to the afternoon? Could you use the free time to pick up with your manager, employee or colleague instead? They might just be needing that contact and time to refocus too.
Find the element of fun
Smiles and laughter are crucial for wellbeing and can help us through the hardest of times.
Starting the day with something fun could make the world of difference to your day.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
- A 10 min chat with a friend / family member / colleague who makes you laugh or feel happy.
- Start learning a language, just few words each morning and you can have fun building them into the rest of your day.
- Play a game or make a smoothie with your child/children to immediately create a happy buzz
- Put some upbeat, feel-good music on and have a dance or singalong!
- Do a virtual work out by joining or creating a group and see each other using their home space imaginatively to get fit!
The list could go on and be as silly as you like – but if it gets you smiling then you are on the right track.
Be kind to yourself. Not every day will start perfectly, but following these steps will go a long way towards it.
Finally, it may seem cheesy, but positivity truly does breed positivity so giving yourself a pep talk with a solution focussed attitude really is quite useful!