I’ve tried many times to build a routine, and it’s usually been about improving my health. You know the type of thing, the grand plans to become a ‘morning person’ and rise at 6am to go to the gym before work. Part of my aims for this year had me pondering such things and I figured once I got past my knee, then foot, issues I’d see what I could do. I had purpose, I was determined and I was going to become a morning person come hell or high water!
Then it was March and the world changed.
I now have a different routine, a routine that involves not going out much at all and when I do being very wary of where people are, how far away they’ll be if we continue on the same trajectories. A routine that involves waking up, having breakfast, checking to see if there is any work to do today (most days there hasn’t been but it’s picking up again thankfully). A routine that involves writing in my journal and meditating every day. A routine that involves pushing myself to do a little exercise even if it’s only 10 minutes or so each day. A routine that is still evolving but feels like it’s now just the way things are.
Which is, less face it, about all we can do at the moment.
One new part of my routine is to take regular breaks – for those of a MacOS persuasion I can highly recommend TimeOut (currently free!) – and during those I find myself counting my many blessings.
I’m also trying to stay off social media and not reading much of the news if I can help it. The latter is largely about the coronavirus, the former veers from coronavirus facts (some times) to the usual silly nonsense which helps ease some tensions. I find I’m better off reading a book, playing on my PlayStation, or spending 20 mins playing the piano.
Like many I did go into this lockdown period with a sense of determination, I would use this time productively! Oh yes, I had grand plans but I quickly realised that all I was really doing was distracting myself from the situation, not a bad thing in and of itself, but putting pressure on myself to achieve things and remain productive was likely to end up stressing me out more when, inevitably, I started to fall short.
I have kept myself busy but I’ve deliberately not planned what I’ll do in any order. Some days I’ll sit and watch TV, others I’ll maybe potter around our home and tidy up, do some chores, and of course we have two dogs who are loving all the extra attention (and who are in for a shock in a few weeks time!). And yes, I am doing a little exercise. I’m trying to stretch more to counter the fact I’m more sedentary at the moment – this is my starting point – I have a little dumb bell routine made up that I’m doing every day or so, and I cycled into Glasgow city centre the other day, round George Square which was utterly deserted, it’s all so very eerie.
It’s probably also telling that my focus and energy to write anything here has gone missing, although I have started to revisit that long dormant novel so maybe the words are all being used up there.
I can’t really venture out to shops – I’m ‘mid-risk’ as I have high blood pressure, plus a bad chest infection a few years ago gives me the fear of getting anything worse – but thankfully my partner is able to go out, face-mask firmly in place, to get supplies. She’s even volunteered to help out some local people who can’t manage out.
But the biggest part of the routine we seem to have fallen into is to talk and laugh, often. It’s a wonderful way to cope.
We will all come out of this period different people. Some will be better, some will be worse, and the longer it goes on the bigger the change it will be, and I just hope everyone is staying safe and being kind to themselves, in whatever form that may take.
As for me, well I’m still not a morning person and that’s ok, and if I’ve learned anything from all of this is that I never will be.
And that’s ok.