How to make the most of more time at home

It’s impossible to ignore the impact that “The Big CV” has had on our society. With more time spent at home, it’s easy to fall in to the trap of letting that weekend chill vibe carry through into everyday living. For many of us, our days are spent outside of the home environment and the times we are at home is often chilling out and relaxing, maybe with a glass of wine, almost always with the TV on and mind off.

But while it goes without a saying that this “time off” from our normal day to day is, for many, a welcome breather. However, in these current circumstances home can feel much more restrictive and as time goes on, it is important that we find a new routine that keeps the mind and body healthy. Here are some tips you may want to consider trying…

1. Keep active
If you are anything like me, you will feel a strong temptation to move from bed to sofa to kitchen. I am trying to create a new routine that includes some exercise at some point during the day. There are many trainers who have started putting out really great content on Youtube. Joe Wicks is a national treasure who is really stepping up to the task, by offering 30 minutes of free classes for kids every weekday morning at 9am. He also has hundreds of more workouts available for free on his Youtube channel, at your convenience; all without the need for a gym or equipment. You could also try Yoga or go for a walk or a run if you can do to get some fresh air, and get in to nature a little. I like to have some windows open and ensure that the air keeps moving in my home. I have also heard that it’s good to introduce some leafy plants in to your home if you can, to help clean the air.

2. Stay productive!
If your company and your role enable you to work from home every day then not being distracted by home “stuff” can be a challenge especially as we don’t know how long we will have to work this way. I have found that maintaining as much of my “normal work” routine as possible really helps to set the scene for my work day. However, as mentioned above, a little morning exercise, or meditation, and a good breakfast are also a great use of the extra time in the morning . I have also learned that its important to take regular breaks (and not feel guilty about it!) as well as resisting the urge to work longer hours. Work your normal hours and don’t feel bad about switching off when you would normally switch off in the office.

3. Keep Cabin fever away
As a very socially active person, this is something that I, like many are most concerned about. I did some reading and the most effective way to not go mad is to try and do things that keep your mind active and be sure to vary these over the course of the weeks. Maybe take this opportunity to start a new hobby or refine some old skill but have been too busy or distracted to do so. Pick up a book, and lose your mind to an imaginary world. Anything that reduces screen time will be beneficial for the mind.

4. Eat well
This one is a bit tricky with all the panic buying that is occurring (however, supermarkets seem to be getting a handle on managing their stock now)! As always try and avoid processed foods; whole foods are more nutritious and kinder to the planet and your body. With the extra time at home, I am going to try and focus on cooking more meals from scratch and (after a “free week” of unashamed gluttony) avoid over-eating, or eating because I’m bored. I am loathe to commit this to page, but I am also going to try (operative word) and attempt an alcohol detox!

5. Keep connected, be kind
This time of isolation is going to mean either spending many months with the same faces, or for some, alone. It’s a time of much enjoyment for the introverts among us, however, for those extroverted socialites its going to be a bit more of a challenge. Thankfully social media and technology are really becoming an advantage at this time, and I have really learned, in the few weeks that I have been self isolating to not underestimate the value of a video chat conversation, to brighten someone’s day and reduce any feelings of isolation. I heard a great saying this morning about being physically isolated but not mentally isolated; practice social distancing but not emotional disconnecting I think that’s spot on. You can also do multi-people video calling using apps like houseparty.com so families and groups of friends can all hang out virtually together.

For those of you who live with children and partners, or friends. However much you may love and adore them, this new amount of time together is going to naturally put pressure on our relationships. I am quite pragmatic about the fact that the frustrations of spending more time indoors, and restrictions on our normal social interaction will put pressure on the home environment. I believe that one of the most effective things that you could do is to try and be present and aware of this and try to consciously give each other some space, and remember to be kind. Maybe try and do random acts of kindness throughout the day to alleviate some of the intensity that this increased amount of time together may incur.

Also, keep smiling (not in a weird way!) Smiling is known to release of tension ease stress and anxiety. Smiling may act to redirect you to a more positive direction.

6. Declutter
A cluttered home is a cluttered mind as they say, so it’s a great time to organise your home to help keep your mind calm. For those who like to keep active it’s a great opportunity to do a spring clean in your house! Go through your clothes, I used a really helpful strategy of considering if I bumped in to an old friend or colleague in that outfit, would I feel ok about it? If not, time for it to go! Totally vain but helps to be a bit more aggressive in your decision making. If it’s in good condition, drop it off at a charity shop, if not you could upcycle them or use them for rags for cleaning.

Whether or not you shop at H&M, they have launched a clothing recycle programme. You bring in your clothes to the store, and you get a discount on their products. Even if you aren’t a fan of their clothes, they have some nice homeware pieces.

A tidy organised home will help you feel calmer and more in control. Kanan at Simplifydecluttering.co.uk is a life coach who helps people manage stress and anxiety. Amongst many tools, one of her specialties is decluttering and organising – just what we need during these uncertain times. She very kindly offers, offers free virtual consultations – reach out to her through the website.

6. Keep calm
And my final tip would be to keep calm. These are unprecedented times that our great grandchildren will no doubt still be speaking of. Wash your hands, stay home unless absolutely necessary (you may be carrying the virus even if you don’t have any symptoms) be kind, help out any elderly neighbours who may be struggling to get supplies and lets all try and make sense of this new temporary strange reality that we have all found ourselves in.

If you are struggling or feeling anxious in these times you can contact:
Infoline: 0300 1233393
Email: info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Tel: 116 123
Email: jo@samaritans.org

If you are able, they are great charities to donate to. Also, many churches are doing online services that you can catch for some help (https://hillsong.com/uk/onlineservice/)

I hope you found this helpful, please keep safe and healthy. Overall, with the right attitude, it’s a great opportunity to recharge, take stock and make some positive changes to our lives. And once we have done that, there is going to be one heck of a party when life is back to normal!

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