By Victoria Bond
I think everybody felt the same sense of dread regarding the Coronavirus lockdown. We all knew it was coming but didn’t want to admit it to ourselves. It wasn’t until Boris Johnson said, with jurisdiction ‘you must stay home’ that the question finally hit me- what exactly am I going to do during lockdown? In all honesty, I haven’t found quarantine too bad quite yet and I think a lot of this has to do with maintaining some sort of routine.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been too strict with myself. I have had my days of binge-watching Tiger King and eating my body weight in snacks. I think that expecting yourself to be at your peak level of productivity during a global pandemic is unfair. It’s just as important to relax and look after yourself as it is to check boxes off your to-do list. That being said, if you’re like me, you too feel lost without a routine and maintaining some level of productivity. This urge for structure whilst also having time to de-stress, has led to me creating what I like to call, a chill quarantine routine.
I really struggle with maintaining a healthy sleep pattern without a structure to my day. I am something of a night-owl and as soon as I can go to sleep and wake up on my own accord, I often do. However, I find constantly sleeping in to have negative impacts on my mental health. I hate feeling like I’ve wasted half the day just laying in bed. Therefore, I do set an alarm for a reasonable time. I’m not up at the crack of dawn but I do like to be at least awake by 8/8.30am. I take my time having breakfast and getting ready, normally aiming to be fully dressed and ready to go around 10. I try to do my online lectures around the same time that I would normally have my lectures, meaning that although I am not physically in university, I still have my weekly university structure to work around. To make myself feel a bit more put together, I do get dressed (although maybe in some comfier clothes) and if the weather is nice I like to sit outside whilst I work.
I spend more time making my lunch now. We are blessed with having more time to spend making delicious food and trying out new recipes- why not embrace it? In true Gen-Z fashion, I’ve been eating avocado and eggs on toast like nobody’s business. I like to give myself a break whilst I eat lunch so I will watch something on Netflix which in my case is normally an episode of Peep Show that I have already watched at least 10 times.
I like to tackle all my bigger tasks such as writing essay plans or personal statements earlier on the day so that I can relax after my lunch. Most of my afternoons so far have been spent catching up with my set readings or some research. It’s really up to you what order you decide to complete your tasks in but I feel getting all my big jobs done first helps ease my mind and makes me less likely to procrastinate.
Around 3pm or whenever I’ve got all my jobs done for the day, I go for a run with my parents. We have just started following the ‘Couch to 5k’ app which is great. I’m really not a natural runner but I do want to keep active. The app really eases you into running and sets you a target to work towards. Taking daily exercise is such a great way to distract your mind from all that’s going on. I find staying in all day really overwhelms me so getting out and getting my heart rate up has been so beneficial to my mental health.
My evenings are spent doing whatever I want. Me and mum have started doing online Zumba classes which, as cheesy as they are, are another good way of keeping active. I’ve started reading lots more books, started lots more TV shows, all of which I have been putting off before.
As easy as it is to become de-motivated and exhausted during lockdown, I think taking it day-by-day is the best way to get through. Try not to think oh my god we have 2 more weeks to go! Plan what you will do tomorrow. Use this time to try something new- whether this is running a 5k or reading a new book. Every way you choose to pass the time is valid if it works for you. Finally, please don’t beat yourself up if you’re not as productive as you usually are. Looking after yourself should always be your top priority.