It’s been knocking on for 6 months now since the UK went into lockdown and stopped us all being able to go to the pub without having to download an app and order after scanning a QR code. And I for one am finding the whole thing quite monotonous now. We live in a world with this existential long-term dread and short-term uncertainty and frankly, it’s naff.
I’ve realised how much I need human interaction and varied working days to perform to my best as a content executive. The same routine of getting up, putting on clothes and walking to the kitchen table, over and over, for 6 months has made me feel like a hamster on a wheel. I love working from home don’t get me wrong and hope that in the future our work/life balance is such that we can regularly work from home on a Friday if we fancy. But not having the option, at least, to go into an office is really bleurgh.
And, as I write this on a leaden Monday afternoon, I fear I am not the only one who is feeling the monotony. So in my blog for today I thought I’d let you in on a few things I’ve been doing to help break things up. Some may work for you, some may not but they’re certainly worth a try.
Walk, walk, walk
I don’t care how grim it is up north, get up and out as much as you can. An early morning walk, before work, really changes my entire day. I think it’s because it’s an activity you’re doing before the workday, starting your day with work isn’t the best thing for your mental health, especially not for 6 months. Having that time to yourself before you get started might give you a sense of control, knowing that your day isn’t just, as the great philosopher Rihanna once said, work work work work work work.
Change Your Surroundings
I recognise I’m going to sound like a real millennial here, praising coffee shops and other co-working spaces (the kind of thing that baffles my Dad) but they really do work. Removing myself from my flat to a different environment has slowly, over time, disassociated work from, well, home. It’s made me appreciate my living quarters more and I now look forward to going home now because it isn’t a place that I associate with work. Of course, I’m not out every day, that just isn’t viable, but spending 2-3 days outside of the makeshift office has made a world of difference.
Recognise Things Are Pretty Rubbish
It’s a pretty rough time at the moment. The peak of the infection is past us… hopefully and now we’re just left with this in-between space that isn’t complete lockdown but is by no means normal life. It’s ok to feel a bit naff about things. Recognise you’re having these feelings and know that they will pass, however much of a fog you find yourself in. Don’t put yourself down too much, being kind to yourself is one of the quickest ways to feel better about this situation.
In whatever capacity, giving right now is one of the most inwardly rewarding things you can do. However bad things are, the fact I can write about it in a blog on the company’s Thoughts page means things aren’t as bad as maybe I think they are. There are always people worse off and helping them whether it’s donating money, food or clothes often lends perspective and gives you an opportunity to feel grateful while also doing some good.
Some places you can donate to:
- akt – An amazing charity helping homeless LGBTQ+ Youth
- Mustard Tree – A great Manchester-based charity that helps homeless people
- 42nd Street and The Horsfall – A charity that helps young people with mental health issues
- Talbot House – They support parents and carers who look after people with learning disabilities
- The Girls’ Network – A network aiming to help young girls from disadvantaged communities
For a more exhaustive list check out this page.
From planning to get an iced coffee at lunch to working out how best to spend your Saturday. Planning nice things in the short to medium term is a nice way of breaking up the monotony. I’ve loved planning days out to places in Greater Manchester and beyond. It’s been nice to hop on a train and just go somewhere completely new. That excitement of planning it and then looking forward to it has been really joyful. As I mentioned, it doesn’t have to be big either, meeting up with a mate at lunch for a coffee is just as nice, those little moments that are different to the 9-5 are priceless.
Don’t Be Afraid To Reminisce
With such an uncertain future ahead, looking back on stuff that made us happy is a nice way to escape. Whether it’s through old TV shows (I’m currently binging Gilmore Girls and loving it!) or visiting places that I’ve been to is a nice way to forget about the COVID hellscape we’re currently experiencing. We’re always told to look forward but I think during this weird time we can all be forgiven for looking back a wee bit.
Are There Things You Do That Help Break Up The Days/Weeks/Months? Let Me Know
I hope you find some comfort in one, two or all of the above suggestions. They are in no way intended as long term fixes but I think they are really important in the here and now. If you have any other things you’ve found helpful be sure to get in touch and let me know. Now, if you don’t me, I’m going to walk and plan a trip to Lake Windermere while reminiscing, changing my surroundings and recognising the global situation is rubbish – ta’ra!