1. Prepare for the day as if you’d be going out
In normal circumstances, it’s hard to argue that there is something wonderful about those rare days at home, where you can get up late, stay in your pyjamas and sit around the house without any major commitments to worry about. In the current climate, however, finding some sense of routine while at home could be more important than ever. So on weekdays, getting up, dressed, washed and having breakfast can give that sense of normality. This doesn’t necessarily mean putting on a three-piece suit, a button-down blouse or getting the hair straighteners out. But there’s something about this seemingly mundane part of our everyday life that sets us up well. It gives us the expectation that the day will be productive and active.
2. Exercise regularly
It’s well known that exercise is good for us. It can help improve mood and decrease anxiety, lift energy levels and usually leads to a better night’s sleep. So finding a fun exercise routine that you can do is important. If it’s still appropriate for you and you can avoid contact with others, you can go out for a run or a long walk. There are lots of videos on YouTube to help families get active and have fun together. If you’re looking to get away from screens, there is no time like the present for a spontaneous disco or makeshift assault course in the house, or the garden if you have one.
3. Make a daily schedule for the whole family
This can be specific or flexible, depending on what works best for your family. It might sound like an obvious one, but having that rough outline of what your day looks like can make a huge difference. Make it together and write it out somewhere in the home where everyone can see it. Don’t forget to include rest time for each member of the family – whether that means being together or being alone. If you’re reading this as a parent, include activities that you’ll be doing – especially if you work from home – so the children know when you’re free and available to spend time with them.
4. Limit screen time
It’s so easy to finish school or work and default to screen time to wind down. If we’re at home all day, however, it’s a great chance for us to change up this habit. For many, phone use will go up anyway, as voice and video calls are so helpful for staying socially connected – which means, cutting down in other areas can only be good. If you play games on a console, you could go a bit old school and dig out the board games. If you browse social media endlessly, you could go back to the ancient pastime of reading a physical book or start keeping a diary. Finally, you could always find a new hobby to keep you entertained. You might need two minutes on Google for this one though …
5. Have meals at the table
Eating meals together (whether you have a table or not) is a great way to have quality, distraction-free time together to talk and listen. You may have little ones around, and if so, it can be great for enhancing their communication skills and maintaining eye contact. For any relationship, this time eating and talking about what’s going on in your lives helps build emotional connection. If you don’t have a table, a living room picnic is a great alternative – using a blanket to sit on helps avoid unwelcome carpet stains from sticky hands, and then you can pop them straight in the wash!
6. For remote workers, find a dedicated work space in the house
Separating work from the rest of your routine helps maintain healthy boundaries and maintain focus throughout the working day. Closing the physical door on your workspace ensures the lines between work and family aren’t blurred. It would be so easy to use sitting rooms for work, rest, eating and sleeping. Moving work to a different space, if possible, helps separate different parts of the day.
We know millions of people are facing an extended time away from physical places of work, so finding these new ways to live are important. But of course, there are many on the frontline who don’t have this option – those at checkouts, delivery drivers, the service industry, emergency services and others. We are very grateful for those individuals keeping us going.