I don’t know if it’s just me, but these last few days have started to feel like that week between Christmas and New Year. The days have started to lose their structure, people not going to work, shops looking ransacked and everyone hoarding food because they don’t know when they will be able to get more...Happy days, eh?
So remember what it’s like during and after that Christmas week:
- You forget what day it is.
- You get less productive.
- You drink and eat more.
- You exercise less.
- You spend the next month trying to get life back under control
- You experience the most miserable time of the year.
And that is what happens after just one week of chaos! We have got several weeks/months of this to look forward to!
So why does this happen? Well, a major reason is how all our usual habits and structure of living is thrown on its head. Our routine goes out the window and our lives are left unstructured. And when everyone around you is in the same situation, it quickly becomes really hard to function properly (just like that Christmas week).
So I guess we have a couple of options before us:
- Descend into anarchy, learn what we can from Mad Max and go hog wild.
- Adapt to the new situation and keep/build as much structure/routine into our lives as possible.
Personally, although option 1 sounds exciting, option 2 will probably be best overall…
Identify your old structure/routine
Identify the old structure/routine you had in your day last week. Everyone is different, but it probably followed a pattern something like this:
- Wake up at a set time.
- Get breakfast/shower/clean teeth etc
- Get yourself/others to school/work.
- Eat a meal at a set time.
- Come home from school/work.
- Eat a meal at a set time.
- Do “leisure” stuff (watch TV, go to the gym/pub etc).
- Clean teeth and go to bed at a set time.
Once you know what your routine was, we know what your “anchors” throughout the day were. You could trust these, you know where, when and why these things happened. It is these “anchors” that help us get through the day/week/month.
After speaking to people, I’ve noticed that many of these “anchors” have come unstuck and without anchors, our lives can start flapping about like a mother hen. And that’s no good for anyone. Being a health and fitness coach, the first thing I notice people doing is not exercising or being active enough, and even, dare I say it, eating badly (I’m sorry, it’s my job to notice these things!)
So what can we do to help fix things?
Set new anchors
Yep, if our old anchors helped keep us grounded, new anchors can help us get grounded in reality again. Of course, things may have changed now, so we will have to adapt, but the principles should remain the same. There are some habits that are simply just “good” for us, regardless of the context. And just because we can go all Mad Max, doesn’t mean we should.
So, take a look at your calendar/diary for the coming week. If it’s anything like mine, it’s emptier and has a lot of things scribbled out. But we can still incorporate good habits and plonk them in there as big, heavy, solid anchors to keep us going. Some suggestions include:
- Still get up at a set time (you decide what time).
- Still do your morning routine of shower/s**t/shave etc.
- Still have all your meals at set time (even if you don’t need to)
- Still go to bed at a set time (even if you don’t need to)
- Set aside a time to do the jobs you have been putting off for months (yes, I’m actually going to do some admin!)
- Set aside a time for social fun (it may get difficult, but life is all about overcoming difficulties)
- Set aside time to stay connected to friends and loved ones. Even work colleagues, especially if you’re working from home
- Set aside a time to exercise and keep active (in case you didn’t know, we can help you with this!)
- Set aside time for your Mental Health. Give yourself space for mindfulness or wellbeing solutions (we have articles to read on this too!)
- Set healthy eating habits (we have an entire online course dedicated to changing your eating for the better).
I like to end on a point of action. So here is your homework (if you choose to accept it):
- Identify what your anchors were last week.
- Identify which ones can be kept going for the coming weeks/months.
- Add new anchors that will help you, for example:
- Subscribe to Eat, Move, Be Happy and get all exercise, eating and support you can shake a stick at (do you like my attempt at a Jedi mind trick there?)
So keep talking to each other - stay connected, and remember it’s okay to not be okay. We are here for each other.
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