5th May 2020.
Article by Hannah Fellerman.
I hope you're all doing well during these difficult times we are living in.
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The importance of having a routine in the lock-down.
Things have changed in such a short space of time. But by now, most of us have become used to a new routine of sorts; for the past five to six weeks we have had no choice but to stay at home far more than we usually would, due to the lock-down imposed on most of us because of the covid-19 pandemic. This has brought about new challenges and perspectives on the lives we lead, the world around us and the relationship we have with others. Many of us have found a new appreciation for areas of life we would normally take for granted, others have had a more negative reaction and become angry at the situation, frustrated that they can't go back to “reality”. There are a wide range of emotional reactions to the situation and this is completely understandable. However, we can all try to incorporate certain changes to our days to positively influence our well-being and self growth.
Not all of us have the opportunity of working from home under “normal” circumstances, but fortunately many of us have now been given this opportunity. Others may have not been so fortunate to be provided with the means to work from home. Others still have to go out to work as they are front-line workers; their routines have stayed the same for work with a possible added sense of panic, risking their lives in the process of helping wider society with their daily needs (including health care and communication needs which includes providing the means to carry out work needing to be done from home), in addition to not being able to have conventional social time with friends or family. This is a great example of self-sacrifice and a high level of commitment which we should pause and reflect on and express thankfulness for the valuable contributions they are making for the betterment of society in these tough times.
Then there are the parents who have had to learn how to home-school their children, which is a challenging new experience. Their week day's are mostly taken up with making sure their children are not only doing their homework, but attending their usual classes at home, as well as having enough play-time. I can't speak from personal experience but I can only imagine how much patience that may be required to suddenly go from being a mother or father, to teacher practically overnight with little or no experience teaching a school curriculum.
If you have pets, you might be enjoying spending more time with them, but they may be getting fed up of not having their own “me time” as they had before, or they may become even more clingy and needy because they are getting used to you being with them nearly every minute of the day! As a cat owner I can definitely profess the latter!
Certain communities of society such as the disabled, chronically ill and those under occupation or oppressed in any way live in a sort of “lock-down” anyway and this pandemic has not changed anything for them. The rest of us have the fortunate opportunity to get back to our freedoms we so easily have access to, which is another blessing we should take a moment to contemplate on. In the mean time, we have to make the most of the situation we are in now, which for the most part is still much more privileged than the communities I've mentioned above.
What I have just described is how our daily lives have now changed due to the new rules and regulations put in place by our governments. Shops, schools, colleges, universities, places of worship, restaurants, entertainment venues and parks are no longer open to the public, so we have had to adapt our lives accordingly. This brings me on to our spare time; what do we do now?
We can spend most of our time where we are not working watching TV, browsing YouTube, shopping online, playing virtual games, or sleeping more than we normally would. These things are not completely “bad”, we most likely need some time to wind down, relax and take things slower. The fact that we cannot conventionally socialise like we did pre-lock-down, means we are spending more time alone in our homes either by ourselves or with our families and significant others. We can take this opportunity to relax and care for ourselves in a way which means we have decreased the pressures and stresses of a faster paced life (which we may or may not realise was the case before), yet we need to be careful not to “over-do” it with this sort of self-care. This can very easily turn into laziness, procrastination and lack of motivation. This is where carving out a new daily routine is very important. Some of us may not be able to work until the lock-down ends due to our jobs not being suitable to work from home (like retail workers) or due to health problems or other personal reasons. This means it is of even greater importance to set out a new routine for yourself.
Why should we set a routine for ourselves?
The health benefits of keeping a routine are briefly outlined by Author and Podcaster Tim Ferris in this short interview clip:
Keeping our mental and physical health in-check and striving to improve are two things a set routine can enable us to do.
I have personally done far more in the last six weeks than I would ever have done in a typical two or three months pre-lock-down. I have started various weekly online group study sessions in addition to the one class I was already doing and I have had more time to decorate my home with crafts and art work that I have made inspired by YouTubers, and items that I have bought online. Although I believe I could have made more time for these activities pre-lock-down, the notion that I could do them at a later date made me under appreciate the blessing of time. The lock-down has forced me to realise that the use of my time is extremely crucial to my personal development in more ways than one.
I am reminded of the inspirational boxer Muhammad Ali's 1977 interview answer at the age of 35, when asked what he would like to do when he retires from his career. Ali breaks down the average humans lifespan and concludes that at the age of 65, he would only have had 16 years to be productive. His retirement would be spent being as productive as possible, doing good deeds and giving to charity before he dies. He believed that the life we live on earth is a preparation for the life we will have for eternity after we pass away. Whether you believe in a Creator of the universe or not, the below extract from this interview should give you some inspiration to use your time on earth as wisely as possible.
Full interview can be found here:
As a practising Muslim of nearly seven years, past Ramadan's have somewhat been productive but I can say that this year, although not being able to attend group iftars and prayers, I am doing much more in the way of spiritual education than I have in most previous years this Ramadan.
I have not been so successful in my physical health as I have not replaced the type and duration of exercise that I did at the gym with anything equivalent. However, the days I do go out of my house now for walks make me appreciate the beauty of using the outdoors as a way to workout. Granted, I have not been doing as much exercise as I previously was doing, but a friend has inspired me to start home work-out's, which I hope will enable me to increase my fitness.
Many of us may have found ourselves having more time for our friends and family. Although we may not be able to physically be in their presence, we have most likely been sending more messages, calling and video calling, and dropping or sending food and other items to them where possible. Keeping our connections alive during this difficult time is a great way to keep our spirits up and remind us to appreciate our loved ones even more than we did previously.
A tool I have personally started using more to improve my daily routines is the pen. Writing things out by hand makes me feel far more productive than using my digital notepad on my phone. I do still use this, mainly for grocery lists, but using a notebook and pen to write down ideas and to-do lists enables me to get more than one thing a day done. I don't typically use a journal like a diary but using a notebook as a multi purpose tool (a bit of journalling, idea dumping, to-do lists and even doodles) is such a valuable tool to have for me personally. You may find that just incorporating this into your life without making huge changes to start with, enables you to slowly increase your productivity and personal growth.
However, here are some ideas of things you can work your way to incorporating into your new daily routines:
- Reading a book that has been on your shelf for years.
- Tidying a cupboard you have been “too busy” to tackle.
- De-cluttering your home of things you no longer use.
- Going on a daily walk, jog or bike ride.
- Picking up a new hobby you've always wanted to try.
- Learning a new language.
- Taking more time to pamper yourself.
- Changing or updating your home décor.
- Trying out new dishes in cooking or baking.
- Starting an online group book club or study session.
- Weekly video chats / phone calls with friends and family.
A couple of months ago, we asked you to participate in our market research for a new product line we are introducing at Ezelle. You answered and we are now in the early stages of producing an eco-friendly motivating and inspiring range of notebooks which you can also use for any purpose to add to your daily routines. This range of multi purpose notebooks is a result of an exciting collaboration between Ezelle and Anastasia Prints, run by Anya, a calligrapher who focuses on sharing positive messages with society.
If you sign up to our mailing list, you will receive a 15% discount code for your first order of any product, and when our notebooks are launched, you will also receive a 10% discount code to use on the new product collection! Being part of our mailing list (the Ezelle family) also entitles you to early previews of all of our new products. We will also inform you of future benefits you will have access to and all events we are holding.
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I hope that this month's article has inspired you to start implementing positive and productive changes to your daily routines, and maybe given you a new appreciation for life's blessings.
Please let us know in the comments below what your thought's are on this month's topic.
If you have any questions about our upcoming notebook collection, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hannah is the founder of Ezelle, who started the brand to combine both design and social change as these are two of her biggest passions; you can read more on our about page.
References and further reading:
- YouTube, “Why Having A Daily Routine Is Important” (https://youtu.be/L0s-iuhtoZM), May 20th, 2018, youtube.com.
- YouTube, “ONE OF THE MOST EYE OPENING SPEECHES | Muhammad Ali” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_mQ6n5mwMU ),April 15th, 2018, youtube.com.
- YouTube, “Muhammad Ali in Newcastle (1977)” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_mQ6n5mwMU ),Feb 2nd, 2020, youtube.com.
- Independent, “Muhammad Ali death: The boxer's response when asked what he wanted to do when he retired” (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/muhammad-ali-death-quotes-boxer-dead-aged-74-watch-answer-when-asked-about-retirement-a7065206.html) Samuel Osborne, June 4th, 2017, independent.co.uk.
- Wikipedia, “Iftar” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iftar#Around_the_world ), en.wikipedia.org.
- Doist, “Want to be more Productive? Don't Go Paperless.” (https://doist.com/blog/pen-and-paper-productivity/ ), Chad Hall, doist.com.
- Mental Floss, “7 Brilliant Reasons to Carry a Notebook With You” (https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/554844/7-brilliant-reasons-carry-notebook-you ), mentalfloss.com.
All images used in this article are royalty free.