Ever since the pandemic emerged in March of 2020, there has been so much uncertainty in the world. Chaos and destruction along with boredom and sadness arose. Mental health has been at the forefront of my mind ever since (pun not intended), and I know I’m not the only one.
Consistency has been something I’ve always struggled with and now lockdown being reinstated in Toronto, ON it’s been harder than ever for me to have a reason to get up everyday. It’s a new year and I had really high expectations for things to take a turn for the better but the only thing that has changed are the days itself.
So how do you pass the time? How do you make the most out of your day? And how do you cope with work from home stress?
I’m not perfect by all means so I don’t have any true answers to any of those questions, but I have been trying my best to get myself excited for the future. I’ve created mini routines that comfort me. I hope these tips help somebody out there because they’ve definitely helped me. I do want to note that everyday is different, I’ll have good days and bad days and sometimes I’ll only manage to tick some of these off or even tick none of them off – it really just depends on how I feel. I just wanted to curate this list for myself as a reminder.
Drinking ice cold water in the morning
It feels so refreshing and exhilarating when ice cold water runs through your system first thing in the morning. I always drink from a huge water bottle to ensure I drink enough water for the day and I highly recommend the Hydroflask – it keeps my water ice cold for 20 hours! I fill the water up and dump a couple of ice cubes and I’m good to go. This miniscule task always makes me feel like I’m doing something good for myself.
Walking outside in nature
And I specifically mean going outside rather than just at home workouts. Obviously, please be safe, wear a mask if you’re in a crowded area and keep 6 ft apart. Try this if you can find an empty walking trail or hike up somewhere. This is something I want to implement into my everyday routine. The hardest part is getting ready to go outside but once you get out, it feels so good. I love reconnecting with something real and less digital. It’s a great way to disconnect online, get fresh air and have a small form of exercise while you’re at it.
Incorporating scents into your environment
You can do this by lighting up a candle, adding incense, putting on your favourite cologne or perfume on or my personal favourite way, adding essential oils into a diffuser. I was given a huge set of essential oils for Christmas along with some at home Saje purchases and I’ve been putting different scents into my diffuser everyday. One of my favourite things to do is figuring out what mood I’m in and putting different oils in depending on how I feel. Scents always lighten up my mood and I always feel like it can totally set up a vibe and an atmosphere when working from home. I think hitting any of the 5 senses: touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell is a good way for you to boost your mood.
Getting ready as if you’re going into the office
Unfortunately, some people might have to do this regardless because they’re in professional zoom meetings or they’re an essential worker – in that case, thank you for your service. Otherwise, if you’re like me working from home and staring at the screen all day, this tip really helps me get into the ‘I’m at work’ mindset. I personally don’t go all out do the whole outfit thing, but I put on makeup. Whenever I do my makeup, it’s therapeutic for me. It’s my ‘me’ time and it creates restart button for the day. I also love trying different eyeshadow and makeup looks depending on my mood because now I don’t have to keep commute time in mind, I just spend time blending and playing with colours.
Taking your time to make your cozy caffeine drink of the day
Whether you’re a pod user, coffee dripper, steeping tea, whisking matcha and so on, take your time. I feel like the fresh smell of matcha and coffee in the morning is equivalent to kicking me straight into productivity. I’m unsure if this is a healthy thought but I always associate the taste of coffee or tea with productivity. It also makes my environment cozier especially if it’s a warm drink. I become so motivated when I have a cup of coffee beside my laptop and a journal out.
Planning out your day and journaling
Speaking of, as some of you may know, I own a bullet journal and I live by it. I write in it every single morning and set expectations, goals I have for the day. I love to see my day laid out like that along with the process of ticking off tasks you finished.
Journaling is completely different than using a planner. I own multiple types of journals (blog post on that coming soon). Whether you write your daily affirmations, letters to your future self, gratitude journal and so on, it’s so important to take your time to do self reflections in the morning. I personally write dreams I’ve had the previous night and my current thoughts at the moment. It’s fun to look back on in the future and it gets all of the icky thoughts out.
Physically making one meal a day
This is something I do with my significant other but if you live with roommates or on your own, I highly suggest you do this. Most lunches, Akeel and I make food and it’s so rewarding. I know everyone has the urge to just quickly log on to an app and order delivery but something about you, yourself making the food and knowing every single ingredient that goes into what you’re eating is rewarding. I also think the task itself feels like an accomplishment and I can honestly take any minor wins these days.
Doing one task just for yourself everyday
I don’t really know how to explain this one without sounding like if you’re not doing this, you’re not being productive. I think everyone has these tiny projects in their head like ‘I want to teach myself something’ or ‘I’ve always wanted to start this online business’. I think if you do mini built-up tasks for these projects you eventually want to secure, you’ll feel like a tiny weight lift off your shoulders. I’ve always had so many ideas that I’ve never touched and been disappointed and wished I could’ve started earlier. I think my issue was always seeing it finished rather than thinking about the tiny steps it takes to get there. A good example of this is this blog. I’ve always wanted to write about whatever I felt like, have my own logo, have a site up and so on but I saw it a finished project rather than something I want to work towards. This blog is still a work in progress but look at me, writing this post right now. This is my little something for today and I know that I’m going to feel so happy once I get this post published.
Listen to your favourite playlists
Lastly, we all know music is good for the soul. I haven’t met one person who doesn’t like music. It doesn’t matter what you listen too, just listen to your favourite playlists or artists. I went one week without thoroughly enjoying and processing any songs in January and that was one of my worse weeks I’ve had in a while. When I finally sat down and started playing some iconic playlists of mine, all I did was dance and sing for an entire hour. I don’t care how stupid you feel but sometimes you need to get loose and you need to shake all the tension away. I think music connects you to so many people and when I finally had time to turn on my music, the energy lifted, and I felt less alone.
I know these may be some common sense items here but sometimes, I forgot stupid stuff like drinking water in the morning or even eating sometimes. I think lockdown has made me realized that even though the world feels like it stopped, time hasn’t, and you have to make the most of it.