This photo was taken last year… simpler times!

Like most, I’ve found these last few weeks exhausting. Some days I’m fine, keeping busy and feeling positive, while on other days it’s easier to get caught up in a web of worries. I think it’s normal and expected to have ups and downs and I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to deal with this weird time.

This is my third day of being furloughed. I was really thankful for having work to keep me occupied so the idea of having to stay inside with no real purpose for the foreseeable future is quite daunting.

But I’m trying my best to take each day as it comes, without looking too far ahead. I want to stay as productive as I can with cleaning, writing and reading when I can but I’m sure some days will just be spent sat on the sofa watching The Simpsons – which is okay. However, I know that if I spent every day doing nothing, my mental health would take a big hit. So, I’m going to try and stick to some sort of routine for the next few months.

To encourage myself to stay productive and inject some joy into my days, these are some guidelines I’ll be trying to stick to:

1. Get up before 9am during the week.
2. Between 10am and 4pm on weekdays do SOMETHING productive.
3. Go out for a walk once a day (unless the rules change).
4. Do an exercise class every other day.
5. Limit the amount of junk food I eat.
6. Have a video call with my therapist once every two weeks (for as long as I can).
7. Focus on my own writing – fiction and blogging.
8. Get changed out of my PJs on most days and into a fun outfit.
9. Every now and then, put makeup on including a colourful eyeshadow and curl my hair.
10. Have regular phone and video calls with family.
11. Meditate for at least 10 minutes either every day or every other day.
12. On down days, put a song on that I can’t resist singing along to.
13. Keep the flat clean — tidy house, tidy mind and all that.
14. Use mindful techniques when feeling overwhelmed.
15. Avoid checking the tabloids and only look at publications and platforms that don’t sensationalise the news.
16. Accept that not every day will be a good day.
17. Celebrate small achievements.
18. Try not to use your phone too much.
19. When it’s difficult to get motivated, start with one small productive thing – even if it’s reading something off of your reading list, or having a shower.
20. Be kind to yourself.

This type of structure doesn’t work for everybody, some people prefer not to put any pressure on themselves and just go with the flow but I know that wouldn’t help me. I’m aware that I won’t always be able to stick to these ‘rules’ but its nice to feel like I still have some form of routine. If I’m having a bad day, I can look back at this list to remind myself of what will make me feel better. If you have any tips, I’d love to hear them.

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