If you’re anything like me, which I hope for your sake you’re not, but if you are the first thought that popped into your head when they announced the lockdown was, “Great! I can stay in my pyjamas all day!” Now as much as this realistically wasn’t the case it was my way of rationalising the fact that my entire daily routine had essentially been chucked in the bin. Well… That’s what I thought, and that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
There’s something you should know about me, I like routine. I loved school because I knew what I had to be doing at every single point in the day; and if I forgot (which happened often) I could go and look at the whiteboard. So, when the holidays came around and the routine stopped, I was not a happy egg. A go to phrase in the Voyle household during holidays was always, “Lets go with the flow”. I have a deeply ingrained distrust of “the flow”, I don’t know where it wants to take me and that makes me uncomfortable. So, when the government announced the lockdown I, in a similar fashion to the summer holidays, was not a happy egg.
I immediately felt very stressed and anxious, because all of life’s certainties had suddenly disappeared. So, I did what any mature adult does in a moment of distress.
I called my Mum.
My Mum has always been a pro at helping me to see sense when I am stressed and anxious and also was a master at keeping me in a routine over the holidays while maintaining the appearance of “Going with the flow.” A very crafty woman. I think she had been expecting my call and she did an incredible job, reassuring me that it would be ok, I just had to adapt to the situation.
The reason that I am telling you all this, is because I am almost certain there will be people of all ages that are feeling all the same things as me. Well not ALL the same things, I highly doubt that many of you are taking this opportunity to see if your beard will finally grow. Especially the women and children. But hey, if you are…. Go you!
Anyway, I digress. If you are feeling this way, my aim is to give some tips to survive the lockdown and create some semblance of normality in this very bizarre time.
*Disclaimer: Some of the things on this list are in fact quite sensible, others are decidedly not.
Sam’s 10 steps to staying sane
1. Don’t wear your pyjamas all day! I discovered this one quite early, it may be different for you but for me to be remotely productive in any way I absolutely cannot under any circumstances stay in my pyjamas. Instead I try to wake up at a normal time, get dressed, have a shower, drink a coffee and have breakfast. Definitely not in that order. So, my first tip is to maintain your normal routine as much as possible. This will increase your productivity levels by 1,000,000%. That’s science.
2. Have at least one thing in your day that you are looking forward to. This is quite a subjective one, it can be anything! But organising your day so you punctuate your schoolwork, work work or anything else your doing with something you enjoy can make the world of difference! This could be a walk on your lunch break, a cheeky game of FIFA before dinner, or even a chocolate digestive over a cup of tea mid-afternoon. Having a few little things through the day that you can work towards will make the days more bearable.
3. Have a goal each day. It could be as simple as, tidying and sorting your bedroom, mowing the lawn, or finishing that bit of schoolwork that you have maybe been putting off for a couple of days (I’m speaking to myself as much as anyone else there). Giving yourself a simple goal for the day will lead to a moral boosting sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goal!
4. Number 3 leads me nicely onto this next one. Give yourself a goal for the whole of the lockdown. This one is potentially more time consuming, although I guess that’s the one thing, we aren’t short of at the moment. You may want to start a project, a friend of mine has been renovating a bike! You may want to learn to play that guitar that’s been sitting in the loft for years or teach yourself to do a backflip or you may even want to learn a language! I recommend Elvish or Klingon, that’ll take up some time.
5. Have fun! I have found it’s quite easy to get down during this time. What makes you laugh? What cheers you up? Try and do these things as much as possible! Turn your lounge into a movie theatre and have a film night! Host your own version of ‘The Chase’ live in your kitchen! The possibilities are endless!
6. Make memories. We are living through something that nobody alive has lived through before, we are making history! Take photos, write a journal, record a vlog. Whatever is going to help you remember this weird time in the future and give you something to show your grandchildren when they ask you about the “Great lockdown of 2020!”
7. Find time for you and God. It is so important in this time to stay rooted in a relationship with our Father and to feed ourselves spiritually! With all of the uncertainty and change happening at the moment, the love of Christ that is the same yesterday, today and forever will provide the stability and reassurance we need. For me this is about half an hour worshipping with my guitar during the day and 20 minutes reading the bible and praying before I go to bed. How might this look for you?
8. Try some baking and cooking! Now, you don’t have to be a MasterChef level cook to enjoy some time in the kitchen! But the feeling of accomplishment when you tuck into your tasty treat is unbeatable. For this reason, I’ll attach a link to a recipe for chocolate rice crispy cakes!
9. Get some exercise! Going for a walk is an amazing way to clear your head and reset when you’re feeling a little flat. But you could also exercise with Joe Wicks on the T.V or play catch in your garden. Anything that gets the blood flowing and takes your mind off work. A secondary tip I want to add to this is to make sure you take breaks! Office hours get blurred when you work from home and this can mean you never switch off, try and make sure you get yourself a break at least a couple of times a day!
10. And finally, keep in contact with your friends and family. I am video chatting, messaging and calling different friends and family every day! I highly recommend Netflix Parties as well, they’re a good laugh. It is so important to keep in contact with those we love in this time; to offer comfort and to simply have a laugh and a giggle over a cuppa!
So there you go! Here are 10 tips from me on how to stay sane in this lockdown. These are just a few ideas though; the most important thing is to take care of yourself and support those around you (respecting social distancing of course). If you know someone who might be struggling give them a call and check in. Through all of this I guess my top tip is number 7, remain close to God in this time and remind yourself and your loved ones of the love that Christ will always have for us.
God bless, stay safe!
Chocolate rice krispies