Despite what you may be reading and hearing from others about all the amazing new skills they have learnt and the DIY projects they’ve completed during lockdown, know that there’s nothing you actually need to be doing.
Quarantine has not magically granted everyone oodles amounts of free time, newfound energy, motivation and focus. For many it’s meant more time looking after children; more time in the kitchen having to make every single meal; working from home has meant working more (I’ll just check my emails quick – sound familiar?); even the weekly shop is a time drainer both at the supermarket and then at home having to wash everything before it goes in the cupboards. The ‘new normal’ is frankly exhausting.
And we haven’t even mentioned the Coronavirus itself! The whole issue of the pandemic is tiring enough, thank you very much, without making us feel bad for not redecorating the whole house, baking cakes for our neighbours and becoming a zen master with a super stretchy yoga routine.
Let that guilt of unproductiveness go, it doesn’t serve you and doesn’t take all the facts into account. Here are the top ten things you don’t need to be doing right now, and a few quick wins to help you feel better.
- Redecorating: You don’t have to be redecorating right now. It’s expensive, time consuming and just adds unnecessary pressure. Leave it for another time.
- Organising your stuff: Sometimes that challenge is one too big to conquer. If you can’t face sorting through all of your clothes, cupboards and drawers, then leave it until you are motivated to do it.
- Crafting: The thing you make rarely ends up like the thing you set out to make, and usually takes up more time too. If that sounds too stressful for your perfectionist brain, maybe give crafting a re-think.
- Cooking: Unless cooking is your thing, now is not the time to be trying out all those fancy looking recipes that have ten thousand steps to them. Keep your meals simple but pack them with veg.
- Video chatting: You don’t have to video chat every day with all of your friends and family, you really don’t. An old-fashioned phone call will suffice and, remember, you can say ‘no’ when you need some quiet time.
- Learning a language: It is HARD learning a new language. Unless you really have a drive to do this, it’s OK not to emerge from this lockdown newly fluent in French or Japanese.
- Writing a novel: Now’s the perfect time to put pen to paper and write that novel. Is it? Writing a novel takes time, patience, focus and plenty of effort. If you’re lacking in those areas right now, adding a novel on top won’t help.
- Becoming a workout wonder: If you didn’t workout fifteen times a week before the pandemic, why are trying to during it? Do try to avoid sitting for long periods but getting yourself moving for 20-25 minutes each day will do.
- Learning to play an instrument: It’s another one that takes a lot of focus, time and effort so unless you’re majorly invested in wanting to learn an instrument, save it for another day.
- Start a blog: If you want a blog simply as an outlet for you, then go right ahead. If you want a blog for fame and fortune, you know what I’m going to say, that takes time, a lot of effort and absolute focus, so maybe now isn’t the best time.
Quick wins for your day
Brush your teeth – That fresh minty feeling will help you wake up.
Get dressed – Don’t think about it too much, just put something on.
Make your bed – A messy bedroom is often nothing more than a messy bed.
Drink a glass of water – Not many of us drink enough water, grab a glass and drink.
Boil the kettle – And dance while you’re waiting, it all goes towards your 20-25 minutes a day.
Just like that you’ve achieved five things in your day and you’ve only just got up!
However much ‘free time’ you have, make sure you give yourself at least one minute to take a few deep breaths and remember that it’s OK not to be productive while in lockdown. The world feels like it’s throwing a lot at us right now, so be kind to yourself and don’t pile on more to keep up with the Joneses.