Words by Libby Redrup
Photography by Holly Phillips
Designing your perfect morning
Pre-lockdown my morning routine consisted of reluctantly rolling out of bed, rushing to get ready, then power walking through Hyde Park to get to my 9 am lecture on time. Lockdown was the first time in a while I have had the chance to build my perfect morning, and it’s been kind of overwhelming.
Waking up knowing you have the rest of the day (or even month) where you are expected to stay inside your house but still carry on with normal life can be scary. And there is a lot of pressure to have a super productive start to the day. Comparing yourself to your friends who are ‘morning-people’ can make it feel like if you haven’t ran a half-marathon, revised a full module or cooked a breakfast fit for Master Chef all before 11 am you’re already off to a failed start.
Your perfect morning routine does not have to be literally perfect. For some the perfect morning is staying in bed for an extra hour to watch an episode of your current Netflix binge (if you are interested mine right now is ‘You me her’). But just setting a little plan of what you are going to do as soon as you wake up can make the day a whole lot less daunting, and means you have instantly achieved something you intended to do that day!
Now for the rest of the day. Everyone has a different view of productivity, set your own goals, and don’t compare them to other peoples. This is a pandemic not a job application, nobody cares if you haven’t become fluent in three new languages or learnt how to bake every type of bread from scratch. At this point just existing is an achievement!
Make sure your goals are realistic, if you are planning on watching a module worth of lecture capture, applying to three jobs and conquering world hunger all in one day you might be slightly overestimating yourself. Think realistically about what you need/want to achieve today and make a list (I love lists!). That way you get the pleasure of ticking stuff off without always feeling like you are underachieving.
If you are struggling with your mental health start simple and fun. Think about what you would enjoy doing that day; maybe make your favourite meal, go on a walk or find a new song you like. Work towards mental goals instead of just physical ones; how do you want to feel at the end of this week? Looking after yourself and achieving the small things makes it so much easier to tackle the big stuff.
Communication is key
Physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing. Talk to people! When lockdown first started It felt like constant Zoom quizzes, virtual parries and House Party calls (remember the days of house party?), but these seems non-existent in the second lockdown.
Set yourself a goal to text, ring, zoom, email, write a letter (whatever you want) to at least one person who you don’t live with a day. A blank snapchat of your face or tagging someone in a meme doesn’t count! Actually speak to them and ask them questions; what have they been watching, eating, reading? Ask them how they are (and mean it). If you are feeling isolated and lonely chances are your friends are too.
It can be hard to tell people you are struggling, remember to properly check in with your friends. But if they don’t check in with you, just tell them! It’s very unlikely they are purposely not checking up on you, some people just don’t feel comfortable asking or don’t think they need to ask. But I promise you, your friends want to talk to you.
Change your space
Having an excuse to stay in your room is heaven on earth for some and a living nightmare for others. But either way it’s a good idea to get some fresh air every now and then. Go for a walk. Even though the northern chill is fast approaching its still important to go outside for an hour or so (maybe take a hat and scarf). If you don’t like walking alone stick your earphones in and listen to a podcast or there are hundreds of walking meditations designed for when you’re on a stroll (two birds with one stone!).
Changing your space doesn’t have to mean leaving the house. If you’re more content (and warmer) staying inside your room, that’s fine. You can still change your space. While it’s unlikely you can decorate your uni room (without abandoning all hope of getting your deposit back) you can still move your furniture around, declutter your desk or change your bedding (how long has it been since you last washed your sheets..!?). A fresh space can give you a fresh, positive outlook and make you feel less trapped inside the same four walls.
This last one is pretty simple, just don’t be a d*ck. During lockdown its easy to get frustrated at people, maybe your housemate keeps stealing your bread or your lecturer hasn’t responded to your email in a few days. Its normal to get worked up, but try to be kind. Express how you feel but do it in a nice way, chances are your housemates and lecturers are grumpy too (and they are way more likely to do what you ask if you use your P’s and Q’s!).
Most importantly, be kind to yourself. It’s okay to lose your cool sometimes, it happens and people will understand. Remember to be kind to yourself. Often, we are kinder to others than we are to ourselves. Before you give yourself a hard time for not being as productive or healthy or patient as you want, think to yourself, would I say this to someone I care about? If the answer is no, then don’t say it to yourself!
Books to read
- ‘Good Vibes, Good Life: How self-love is the key to unlocking your greatness’ by Vex King
- ‘the subtle art of not giving a f*ck’ by Mark Manson
- ‘Women don’t owe you pretty’ by Florence Given
- ‘The power of now ‘by Eckhart Tolle
- ‘The things you can see only when you slow down’ by Haemin Sunim
Apps to try
- Couch to 5k
Things to listen to
- ‘adulting’ by Oenone Forbat
- Shagged married annoyed- by Chris and Rosey Ramsey
- the mental illness happy hour by Paul Gilmartin
- terrible, thanks for asking by Nora McInerny
Websites you might need