My days during lockdown – and I’m still shielding so whatever tier we’re in, it still feels like lockdown to me – have lacked structure.
And just like in the past, when I’ve had periods of unemployment, I’ve sometimes struggled to know what to do with the empty hours.
I’ve also been struggling to exercise. I always intend to do some exercise every day but then it gets late, or I’m tired, or I’ve got a headache, and I don’t do any. Then the following day, I think, “What’s one more day off? I’ll restart tomorrow.”
I should have taken a leaf out of my mother’s book: every morning since the lockdown began in March, she has gone for a walk, even if it’s cloudy and wet. Initially she only went half a mile, but now she does 2 miles a day and she’s fitter than she’s been in years. She loves it too: she has socially distanced chats with people she meets and has made loads of new friends.
Earlier this week, someone on Facebook asked for an exercise buddy. You’d get “together” at the same time each day to exercise. You’re obviously in different places but somehow promising to check in online and say, “Yes, I’m here and I’m doing this Joe Wicks workout!” makes me much more inclined to do it.
Now I’m exercising at 4 p.m. each day and posting in a Facebook group to see if anyone feels like “joining” me. It’s made a huge difference to the rest of my day too. Just having that small bit of structure in my day is like an anchor. It has a knock-on effect on how I spend the rest of my time.
Funnily enough, they were talking about this on Radio 4’s You and Yours today: Father Christopher Jamison was saying how it’s important to have shape in your day during the lonely days of lockdown. He suggested starting the day with a period of silent contemplation rather than a Joe Wicks workout, but I’m not sure silent contemplation would do quite as much for my thighs.