Finding a New Daily Routine During Lockdown
Quarantine Tips for Productivity
Why Should we Comply with Lockdowns and Regulations?
Let’s face it, quarantine is rough. We’re just not used to this!
As Americans, we like our freedoms and can be quite stubborn about it. We don’t like being told what to do (especially by the government), and we hate when our routine is disrupted. However, in times of global crisis, we have to be good citizens and comply with lockdown and health regulations for the benefit of our society. This might mean developing an entirely new lockdown routine.
First of all, it starts with good manners when it comes to hygiene. If we want to get through this ordeal quickly, it’s absolutely imperative everyone gets their act together — and keeps it together — so we can get back to normal as quickly as possible. This means adhering to the lockdowns, quarantines, social distancing and CDC health and hygiene guidelines. One of my former athletes, Mikaela Shiffrin, posted a great video that addresses this issue.
Finding Routine Amidst the Chaos
Even though many Americans are either entrepreneurs or are able (thanks to technology) to work remotely, most are not used to being confined to their homes every day. As someone who has worked from home for large periods of time throughout my career, I know how important it is to establish a solid routine.
When you work in an office, your routine and daily agenda are usually clearly laid out and easily enforced. Those of us who work at home have learned to develop our own disciplined routines to keep us productive and on track. For those used to commuting to work each day, working from home can be challenging. We’re creatures of habit, and habits are hard to break. Here are some suggestions on how to maintain a solid, yet flexible lockdown routine while confined to the house:
Try to stay as close to your normal schedule as possible. Since we’re fighting against an unknown enemy that pertains to health, it’s important we get enough sleep. It’s easy to stay up later when our bodies are trying to tell us that this lockdown feels more like the weekend or a vacation. Try and follow your normal sleep routine, but if you need extra rest, it’s okay to wake up an hour or two later. Good sleep is paramount to good health. Since this is a stressful time, there will probably be some sleepless nights, so consider using natural sleep aids like Melatonin or CBD oil.
It’s more important now than ever to incorporate exercise into your routine. Staying safe means doing everything you can to boost your immune system. You can usually go out for a walk, run or bike, while still complying with your local guidelines on social distancing. Make sure to ONLY go out with people you already live with; we don’t encourage meeting up with others.
Try to explore and find somewhere off the beaten path! Just getting some sun can help manage stress levels. If you’re confined to your home, or prefer not to go out, then put on a t-shirt and shorts first thing in the morning to get in a quick 20 to 30-minute workout and stretch. Squats, burpees, running in place or on stairs, core exercises, push-ups, and more can all be done inside. Add a 6-8 lb. medicine ball (jug of water, bag of flour, whatever you have laying around!) and you can create a plethora of upper body, core and lower body exercises.
A simple exercise maintenance program can allow you to maintain your current fitness level, stave off boredom, and kick-start your motivation in the morning. There are tons of great videos you can look to for inspiration. Personally we love Eliteam! Created by 2X Olympian and World Championship Medalist Doug Lewis, these creative, fun, and effective exercises can be done at home or outside at a park, and are family friendly… perfect for getting wiggly, housebound kids moving! You can find his exercises on Instagram, Facebook, and their website.
Clean Up and Dress for Work
This is super important. While it’s tempting to stay comfortable, you can’t take work in any capacity seriously if you spend each day in your PJ’s. Leave it for the weekends when it’s time to relax. Dressing in a professional manner will help put you in the right headspace. Take care of the “Three S’s” each morning after a quick workout, and dress appropriately for the day ahead.
How many times have you told yourself: “I really need to start meditating…” but never gotten around to it. Well now is the time to start!
Mindfulness exercises can very easily be the most important part of your daily lockdown routine. They are key to managing this stressful time, and studies have shown meditation and similar awareness exercises can strengthen your body’s immune response. Just 10-15 minutes each day — whenever you can fit it in — of meditation, progressive relaxation or deep diaphragmatic breathing will help you get through tough days and help everyone maintain a happy household.
If you’re a beginner and the idea of meditation seems daunting, don’t worry! Just like physical workouts, there are tons of free or paid online tools to help guide you in your mental exercises. I personally like Headspace, but there are many others like Buddhify and Calm.
Good Eating Habits
Being confined to the home for days or weeks on end during a pandemic is very stressful and overeating, snacking, or turning to junk food is an unhealthy coping mechanism that many turn to. The cupboard and fridge are easily accessible, and boredom or stress can derail even the best of intentions. Working or studying from home has likely made you more sedentary, so you need to take into account your daily activity levels and adjust your daily caloric intake accordingly.
Drinking more water, and eating more fibrous fruits and vegetables is an easy way to keep hunger or boredom snacking at bay while still remaining satisfied and healthy. Grocery stores may have slim pickings at the moment, but you will usually find the fresh produce section well-stocked. Consider shopping the outside of the store, and filling your home with all the colors of the rainbow so you have plenty of easy healthy options on hand.
There’s also great healthy shelf-stable options as well. We love the convenience of Probar! Based in Park City, UT, they’ve been making organic, non-GMO, gluten free, plant-based protein food products for 18 years and their meal bar is our go-to for a healthy snack or recovery meal, since it’s got perfectly balanced macros as well as a wide variety of micronutrients from unprocessed whole foods. Plus they’re satisfying! I can go for hours on just a liter of water, one of Probar’s new Live Probiotic Nutrition Bars and some fruit.
If you feel like you’re always too busy to develop good eating habits on the go, now is a great time to start turning your food choices around. Your future healthy self will thank you for it!
Listen to Music
Music makes me happy, so when I’m working at home, I often have some smooth jazz or classic rock playing on Apple iTunes. You can use it to amp you up, focus you, or calm you down. If you find your daily mood affecting your ability to be productive, try music therapy as part of your lockdown routine!
Work in Blocks
If you normally commute, working from home (especially during this pandemic) means there may be some added distractions (like kids at home). Some experts recommend working in blocks of 30-45 minutes before taking a break. Since I’m used to working at home, I can go in 2-3 hour blocks of work. Whatever works best to maximize your productivity – just make sure to take a short break and walk outside, grab a healthy snack, fix some coffee / tea or use the TP you’ve been hoarding!
Split your Time
You don’t need to spend all your time doing office tasks! This is also a perfect opportunity to take a morning or afternoon and pursue a project around the house that has been put off for months. It’s also now officially spring, so why not get some spring cleaning out of the way? At some point, the world will begin spinning again and we’ll all be working at full speed. Taking time to incorporate projects around the home into your lockdown routine can help you feel more fulfilled and productive.
Develop an After Dinner Routine
One of my favorite European traditions is taking a walk outside after dinner. This allows the evening meal to settle and ramps up the metabolism one last time before winding down for the night. Try to come up with an evening routine that doesn’t just involve flopping on the couch or staring at your phone every night. If your city allows you to get outside, do it! If not, consider some light yoga and stretching, or a therapeutic bath with candles or salts.
Be Conscious of Your Media Consumption
Its okay to stay connected to the outside world, but try to limit your dose of daily news. It’s important to stay informed, but a quick read of the morning news is all you need at this point. With a full day of work, exercise, cooking, music, reading, games or movies – the gloom and doom of this pandemic fades away and helps insure a better night’s sleep. It’s easy to spend all day glued to your screen in a situation like this, but that’s one of the worst things you can do for your mental health! Stay smart, stay up-to-date, but don’t ruminate or panic. Find yourself in a negative thought spiral? Turn off the devices and go back to tip #4 and meditate for 10-15 minutes to get yourself in a more productive headspace.
Settling Into Your New Lockdown Routine
New routines and habits take time, and this will certainly not be an easy adjustment for most of us. However, it is a great opportunity to develop healthy habits for both your body and mind that you will be able to continue to implement in your everyday life, even after the quarantine and crisis is over!