This week the UK has entered into a month-long lockdown again. With a few key exceptions (i.e. schools and universities being kept open), it will be a very similar experience to March to May of this year. This may be very daunting to a lot of us, as we’d just got used to life being a bit more normal again. I think there are some things we can learn from last time around and, as a freelancer and someone with mental health issues, these are the tips that I will be following myself this time around, both professionally and personally.
Get dressed for the day and set a schedule
It may be tempting to just lounge in your pyjamas all day, but that’s not great for productivity. Make sure you get dressed for your work day, as this will also help with getting out of the house. Then set a schedule. Choose your working hours and stick to them.
Make a reasonable to do list
It really helps me if I write my to do list the night before so that I know what I need to do the next day. However, something I suffered from when I first started working for myself was setting to do lists that were too long and then I felt bad for not completing them. Work out how long each task will take you (overestimate!) and be reasonable. Only plan for about 5 hours of work to allow for breaks and tasks overrunning!
Find a work-life balance
This will be helped by setting a schedule. Make sure you do something at the end of the day to signal that you’re moving from work to rest. It could be changing into comfy clothes or your pyjamas, having a relaxing cup of tea and reading a book or going for a walk. Try not to work into the evenings or on the weekend if you can help it.
Make a list of things you want to do
It can be hard to think of ways to entertain yourself when your options are limited by lockdown. However, there are still plenty of things you can do. Making a list of them will give you things to look forward to and will motivate you to do them. I have made a list over on my lifestyle instagram, including some cooking, some crafting and lots of reading.
Fresh air is great for you and making sure you leave the house every day will do wonders for your mental health. Staring at the same four walls every day can feel a little claustrophobic, so get out in nature. Even if it’s really cold outside, wrap up warm and put your favourite hot drink in a keep cup! Plus, the exercise of going for a walk, run or a jog will be great for you to.
This may be difficult due to shortages in lockdown or other issues you may have, but if you’re a foodie like me, planning nice meals to eat each evening will really give you something to look forward to!
Get off your screens/social media
Yes, it’s important to keep abreast of the news, Zoom has been wonderful for keeping up with friends this year and Netflix kept us entertained during lockdown, but with work being predominantly done online when you work from home, you can spend most of your day on one screen or another. Make time to do something that you enjoy that doesn’t involve a screen, such as crafting, cooking, baking, playing an instrument, going for a walk or playing a board game.
Embrace the new normal
Yes, it may be a while before we can do things we used to enjoy, but maybe you can recreate them at home. Make a fancy coffee and cake experience at home, create a cinema in your own home, workout in your living room, travel to a new place through a book or meet up with friends on a video chat. We may be in this for a while, so it’s best to accept it if you can!
If you want some more tips on self-isolation, check out my blogpost from the first lockdown here. If you want someone to chat to during this strnage time, check out my social media. For work enquiries, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org.