Having some sort of routine is immensely helpful for me. I don’t always do the same things each day, or do things at the same time each day, but I have an idea of useful things I can do throughout my day. Being confined to home means this is that much more important for me.
Before the lockdown started in New Zealand I had settled on several daily rituals. One: Go to the National Library and write one job application, send out one expression of interest for a flat, and write, research, and edit some of my fantasy novel. This helped me have a purpose for getting up, and helped me separate my work space from my personal space. Two: Play my guitar for at least ten minutes. This helped me relax into the rest of the day and fill me with a lot of joy. Three: Read a short section of my bible, and mediate on the words for five to ten minutes. For me the most important part of staying at peace. Four: Do some exercise – brisk walking counts. A must for maintaining my mental wellbeing. Five: Spend time in meaningful conversation with my flatmates. Human contact is necessary for survival. Six: Write a to-do list for the next day. This helped me focus my intentions and keep moving forward.
Being in lockdown has increased the difficulty of doing these things. I have been blessed with a job, and a wonderful place to live, so I need not send applications out. However, being confined to the same physical space makes having separate spaces for work and creativity more difficult. The best I can do is leave work at my work desk, and write my stories, poetry, and music in the open communal and relaxation spaces. I am physically able to play the guitar, but being in a small space with others makes playing and singing with gusto a challenge. I’m working on it. Reading the bible and praying do not have vast spatial requirements, but with my headspace turned upside-down I pushed it to the side. Only after a week am I starting to make it a regular thing again. I read and pray on my afternoon break with a cup of tea. Getting regular exercise is more difficult while staying inside. I have turned to watching a twenty minute YouTube video while doing a yoga routine initiated by our 2014 Wildcats team. Sunny days I also go out for a walk after work. The three people I’m living with make a point to eat dinner together and intentionally spend time in conversation. Some days at lunch two of us watch an episode of the series Supernatural. I stopped writing to-do lists for a few days while getting settled in new surroundings. I’ve restarted doing so again just before bed. Spending time reading and writing with paper and pen is a good way to start the process of drifting off to sleep.
For more detail I’ll break down my lunch ritual. First, I leave my desk, absolutely imperative. Second, I decide what to eat and make it systematically. Put bread in toaster. Get plate and spreads while it cooks. Put leftovers/other food in the microwave. Setup TV to watch an episode if we are going to.
It helps to have an idea of what I’m doing in advance, and I get a certain type of satisfaction from efficiency, even with something as simple as the act of making lunch.
Figure out what helps you keep being you. The world is different at the moment. Physically it is smaller, but we are still connected with much of the world thanks to the power of the internet. Stay in contact with loved ones, and spend time on projects we want to complete. Little and often is what my mum always says. Do that and we’ll stay interested and enthusiastic. If you can do more, do! But if you need a break, know that’s ok.
What are some of your daily rituals? Would it help you to write them down? To separate the space you have availabile into distinct areas? You’re awesome, so give yourself the best chance of making magic happen.
Dream big, embrace peace, and love, always.