The pandemic has done all sorts of things to our health, and not just because of COVID. It has made us more sedentary, it has made us neglect our health & wellbeing and the added economic or financial stress has left the stress hormone, cortisol raging in our bodies. With schools closed and the kids at home, your boss calling you for the sixth Zoom session of the day during #wfh or having to order the umpteenth supermarket shop of the week, its easy to forget the one person who needs your attention the most: YOU.
In this article, we break down how to add small habits to your daily routine that'll help you take back (some) control in this second year of the pandemic.
Of the myriad of things we lost in 2020, one key factor was the separation of work and life. The intangible borders of society that helped compartmentalise our lives into tidy boxes came apart with the first lockdown. In this new mishmash of an existence where you tutor your child at the same time as answering a client email meant that anytime you had allocated to yourself to wind down or regroup or change hats disappeared. You are wearing all the hats and all the hats need answers NOW.
So the first thing to do is to recreate those boundaries. It may not be a 30 minute commute but it could be a 30 minute "no device time" that demarcates the end of the work day and beginning of family time.
Avoid going straight for your phone when you wake up. Give yourself 10 minutes to an hour (whatever is feasible!) to spend in meditation or prayer, read a book, do a bit of Pilates or Yoga, journal or set intentions. This will allow you to take control of your day vs. being controlled by the email inbox.
Be vigilant in maintaining those boundaries: you may need to vocalise these new boundaries to colleagues, bosses, spouses or children and ask for their support and respect. Ultimately, a healthier you would be more of an asset to your organisation and family vs a disgruntled, chaotic you.
Schedule your day
Something else that disappeared was the coveted schedule. Pre-pandemic, we knew what time we'd leave home, spend in the Colombo traffic, what time we'd have lunch etc. With the pandemic, it's easy to miss the important for the urgent and spend an entire day doing nothing for yourself.
In your schedule, pencil in the time for an online Barre workout with Barressential or a 10 minute stint with the Headspace app. If you've written it down, you are more likely to hold yourself accountable.
Put down the smartphone
If you don't have a screen time widget installed on your home screen, make that your first to do! It's shocking to see that you've spent 7 or 8 hours staring at a screen and will compel you to put down the phone and look around!
Delete apps that suck your time but give you nothing in return. What did you enjoy doing before the iPhone came about? Pick that up again! It could be building jigsaws with your family, playing a board game, reading, gardening or simply looking out the window for those ten minutes you spend scrolling Instagram. The positive impact on your brain will be phenomenal.
Much like on the airplane, you've got to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others! Put these tips into practice today itself and begin to feel the change in your mind & body. Your mind will feel calmer, your sleep will be better and the time you spend with your family will become true quality time.
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