Staying on Course – Tips to Creating a Daily Routine & Staying at Home

I reflect on this often. I am a creature of habit. Sure, I love vacation and spontaneous activities from time to time, but I still somehow find myself yearning for that routine. In respect to recent troubling and unsettling events, I am clinging to my routine more than ever these days. 

I know many are struggling right now with just getting through the day to day. I am no expert here. I don’t have all the answers, but if I can help one person, then I think this is all worth it to share…

 

  • Establish a schedule – Sure, this may vary from day to day. If you are someone whose work schedule changes or if you are currently going into an office or other work setting, this may vary. If you’re like me, and are currently finding yourself in a work from home setup, a schedule is so important.
    • First, I wake up and I go for a run. This varies on a daily basis based upon what’s on my current training schedule. I take a look the night before and determine if the mileage or workout will take longer (if so, I need to wake up earlier). 
    • After I complete my run and/or other scheduled workout (running or at home workouts for now!), I get my oatmeal started because I like to give it some time to cool down (I’m odd in that I prefer cold oats 🙂 ). 
    • Then I head upstairs to take a shower and get ready as I normally would for the day. Sure, I’m not dressing in business casual attire, but a fresh set of clean clothes and look and feel presentable. Brush your teeth and brush your hair. Maybe put on a little foundation or a dash of mascara to really feel back to normal. If you feel like you’ve gotten ready as you normally would, you will feel more productive. Get ready as usual. Make your bed. Greet the day!
    • Next, I head downstairs and put any dishes away from the drying rack and get the rest of my breakfast ready. 
    •  Then I have my breakfast and catch up on email and watch something like YouTube or the news.
    • Then I am in working mode. Throughout the day I make sure to take walk breaks as needed (even if it’s just around the house) and stretch. Taking a few minutes not staring at a screen is very important.
  • Lunch time! I am still doing a small meal prep every Sunday to save time on key ingredients I use throughout the week like butternut squash or sweet potatoes and protein like grilled chicken. This way, all I have to do is heat up the chicken and I usually toss the potatoes or squash in the air fryer for 10 minutes to crisp them up so they are very tasty.
    • Throughout the day, I am making sure to get up and “do laps” around my living room (having a fitbit or garmin makes it fun to try and get at least 10k per day!). I also break up the day by taking a few minutes here and there to do simple tasks like toss in a load of laundry or wash some dishes.
    • Once the workday is done around 5, I like to unwind a bit with a show, youtube video, or read a book.
    • Then it’s either some foam rolling/stretching, an at home orangetheory workout, or both!
    • Dinner time! Same thing as lunch…I usually have some ingredients prepped and others that I cook as needed. I find that taking my time getting my meals ready brings me joy! 🙂 
    • Then the rest of the evening is for me to just relax. I like to spend time just hanging out with my fiance or catching up on some of my favorite tv shows.
    • Time for bed! I try to be in bed by 9:30 or 10 to make sure I am well rested and ready again for the next day!

  • Find ways to stick to parts of your routine that you love. I have found that it’s important for me to keep parts of my routine that I love. While I have shifted grocery shopping to not every week and avoiding peak times like my usual early morning grocery shopping Sunday, I am still doing some meal prepping. I make the meal preps a bit smaller so that I can enjoy doing more cooking throughout the week, but I still keep my Sunday meal preps because they make me happy!

  • Make a list of what  you want to get done. I find that having an ongoing list and a daily list is extremely helpful. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t get to something, but having a productive list helps you to maintain focus on something to keep your mind occupied. On my list, I keep work related items and non-work items too. Some are essential for day to day and others are just fun! I have items like “make an instagram post”, “call mom”, “do laundry”, “start a knitting project” or “make banana bread”! A physical list can be really helpful, or use a planner, or even an app (I like to use the notes app on my iPhone and have recently been trying “Microsoft To Do”)
  • Get moving and get outside if you can. Even throughout the day, try and take breaks to do some laps around the living room. I like to start my day with a morning walk or run. Being outside and getting fresh air can be really helpful to clear your head. If you aren’t able to get outside, now is a great time to explore everything that’s available for home workouts. For me, I have been loving doing an at-home orangetheory workout in the afternoon. I don’t have too much in terms of at home workout equipment (just two 8-lb. Weights and a hip circle) but you don’t need anything for these workouts. I really encourage you to try out various workouts and find one you actually enjoy. One of the reasons I think we like the act of going to the gym is that your sole purpose there is to workout. It can be extremely challenging when you are supposed to turn your workspace/hang out and chill and watch the tv on the couch space into a workout zone. Therefore, it’s so important to try a workout that you will enjoy. Since I am really missing going to the orangetheory studio, I am loving the at-home workouts that you can find here:
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  • mailto:runfreeordienh@gmail.comStay connected to friends and family. We are so busy in our day to day lives. If you’re like me, then you may live in a completely different part of the country than many of your loved ones. After graduating college back in 2011, I moved up to New Hampshire, so it has definitely been tough at times not being near my family. My siblings have since moved all over the country as well. I am making sure that I am calling my family and friends much more frequently now. This is the current state of our social lives now. It’s time to take advantage of Face Time, Skype, Google Hangouts, just a phone call. It’s amazing how much better I feel after a call with loved ones.  
  • Stay connected to co-workers. When I needed to make the switch to a mandatory work from home structure at my IT job, I knew it was going to be a big adjustment. If you are also someone that is used to normally being in the office with your team, it’s so important to make sure you are taking time to talk about topics other than work. Whether that’s starting a meeting with a few minutes to check in with everyone, or setting up a virtual coffee break or happy hour, using random channels on Slack, or messaging throughout the day, it’s so important to keep your connections with co-workers strong during these times. You may not realize what each individual is through outside of work, so it’s important to take time to talk and connect. 
  • It’s okay to just relax! Find activities to help you unwind. It’s okay to take some time to binge watch that Netflix show you’ve been meaning to watch for months. Maybe it’s time to read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf unused. Pull out a board game or puzzle from the closet, and revisit some of your old video game favorites. I was feeling very nostalgic myself, and started playing “Rollercoaster Tycoon” again, which has been a lot of fun for me. I even pulled out some of my knitting supplies and re-taught myself to knit. Even if I am not making anything fancy, it’s nice to have something to keep me busy.

  • Clean and organize. Okay, maybe this isn’t the most fun, but I am finding that it’s nice to be able to set mini projects for myself that I can slowly work through as the days pass. Perhaps, you have been meaning to clean your fridge or pantry, or go through your closet and create a pile of clothes to donate. Usually, I feel like these tasks are a major undertaking and I’ll set aside a whole day/weekend for a major spring cleaning. These days, it’s nice to be able to spread it out and slowly make your way through it.
  • Do some online shopping (but keep a budget!). This could be a variety of things. I know there are many options out there for grocery delivery and pickup. I haven’t taken advantage of this yet for myself, but the positive aspect here is that you can take your time in meal planning for the week and stick to a budget. You can also switch out your weekly shopping to places like Target with online delivery. I have found that if you buy certain items from Target online, the entire order ships free. This helps to restock on household necessities like dish soap, coffee, body wash, etc. I even took advantage of a sale on Zappos when I received the notification from my Garmin app that my shoes were way overdo to be replaced with my marathon training. The biggest advice here is to be conscious of how much you are spending online as it can be a lot easier to overspend with just the simple click of a button. 

Remember, some days are going to feel better than others. I think the biggest takeway here is to just take it day by day. We are all going to get through this strange and unsettling and scary time together. While I focused on adapting to a new working/staying at home lifestyle, I wanted to recognize everyone who is out there on the front lines. There are still people out there putting themselves at risk every day working in grocery stores or in health care. I have so much love and respect for these individuals and I am keeping you all in my thoughts, hoping you all stay well and healthy. If you need somebody to chat with in getting through these days, you can reach me on instagram @runfreeordienh or through email at runfreeordienh@gmail.com

Have a wonderful day and hang in there! 

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