In my last post, I mentioned that I would share some practical tips for how I am navigating this current season of life.
Some keys for me have been:
- Maintaining some routine and normality,
- Staying social,
- Being intentional with my God-time, and
- Keeping a check on my head space.
We’re all different. Some of my thoughts might resonate with you, and others may not. I would encourage you to simply use them as ‘food for thought’, to assist you in mulling over what might work best for you. I’d love to have others sharing their tips too, so that we can be a support to one another during this time. Add your ideas in the comments below.
If you check out my post, Today is the day, you’ll find a list of a few simple daily routines that have been helpful for me. Today, I thought I’d share a little more detail about some of these.
Wake up happy
We’ve probably all heard the saying of how someone, ‘Got out on the wrong side of the bed today’, when they’re in a bit of a grumpy mood. I prefer not to do that 😂, so I find it’s good to:
- Wake at roughly the same time each day (either using an alarm or relying on my body clock). Enjoying the odd sleep-in is pleasant, but living a day-in, day-out lifestyle of sleeping half the day away is not the best idea (motivation tends to plummet when we do this!).
- Let some sunshine in once I am awake (Draw the curtains, raise the blinds). Some people like to take an early morning walk to soak up those first rays of the day. I love doing that in warmer weather, but prefer to snuggle in bed and linger in the warmth a while during the colder months.
- Read or listen to my daily devotions in bed and ask God what He wants me to do for the day.
- Drink two glasses of water to kick-start my body.
- Review my plan for the day.
- Get up and enjoy a nice breakfast and a cuppa. It’s getting cool where I am now, so I like to pop my ugg boots (slippers) and dressing gown on when I first get out of bed too (It would be all too tempting to hop straight back into bed otherwise ha ha).
I’m not sure about anyone else, but I feel like COVID-19 has led to rather an increased intake of food and somewhat less movement! Oops!
To make some better choices, I’ve started meal planning (I might need to look at snacks too… Chocolate comes from cocoa beans… They’re fruit, right?! ha ha. Maybe not lol). Anyway… meal planning helps with shopping, staying organised and being a bit healthier.
I’m also including some exercise in my plan each day. 1 Timothy 4:8 says, “Training your body helps you in some ways, but serving God helps you in every way by bringing you blessings in this life and in the future life, too.” Another version says, ‘Bodily exercise profits little…“. It may profit LITTLE in terms of eternity, but it does profit SOME as it keeps us physically fit and strong and able to live life to the full.
A walk outside is great for my mental health – escaping the four walls of home to enjoy nature seems to bring fresh perspective on life. I have bushland nearby. Some of you might be close to the beach or forest. Even if you’re in a city, you may be able to wander through a park, or play a little game of spotto to find the greenery in hanging baskets on balconies etc. Exploring the natural beauty of creation really is something special!
There’s also lots of options for at-home exercise, whether you have equipment or not. YouTube has loads of videos and there are a multitude of apps out there, as well as some online virtual gym classes. I’ve downloaded a simple app for women’s fitness, which contains some warmup and cool down stretches and a variety of 15-30 minute routines to target different parts of the body. I also have the Couch to 5km running app, which helps you go from being a ‘couch potato’ to being able to run a reasonable distance. It involves short intervals of walking and jogging/running (you can set your own pace, so if you need to start with walking and slightly-faster walking, that’s okay!). It gives voice prompts, can play music while you exercise etc. You can use this app with a treadmill or outside, running the streets.
Another benefit of exercise is that it releases serotonin in our bodies, which helps us sleep. If you’ve found yourself struggling to get a decent night’s sleep, perhaps a bit of late afternoon exercise might be worth a try. Another tip for getting ‘forty winks’ 😴 is to have a notepad and pen on your bedside table. That way, if thoughts swirl through your head, you can jot them down and head back to sleep. I find this helpful if I think of things I need to do the next day (I write it down, forget it until morning, and snooze the night away peacefully).
After a couple of weeks in isolation the hours, days and weeks seemed to be morphing into one. I felt restless. I seemed to be accomplishing very little with my days. Boredom was kicking in…
To counteract this, I’ve downloaded a free app, ‘Microsoft To Do’, and set up some plans for each day of the week. Some great features of the app include: the ability to make changes whenever I wish, ease of ordering items so that I can put first priorities earlier in the day, and a function wherein I can tick off tasks as I go and at the end of the day I can restore them so they’re all set for the following week. There are many similar apps available in the app stores.
What types of things are in my daily plans, you might ask? Basically I have considered different areas of our life and included tasks in each area. We all need to nourish our spiritual, physical, mental, relational and financial health.
For spiritual health, I have devotions and prayer, church online and time to study God’s word for myself.
Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the Lord our God, to walk in His statutes and to keep His commandments… (1 Kings 8:61).
Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full, in his wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of his glory and grace.(Hillsong ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus’)
Physical health is where I include my exercise.
Mental health might be making a creative artwork, completing craft, getting out in the garden, journalling, reading a good book, taking in an online musical or ballet production, completing a job around the house that you’ve been meaning to get to for a while etc. Some people may enjoy playing instruments, building something, doing puzzles etc.
Some people enjoy watching TV and movies as some downtime. This is fine, however it can easily get a little out of control (I saw a meme this week about how someone had, ‘finished Netflix’ already’ 😂). So, it can be useful to add to your plan the shows you’d like to watch, or days when you’d like to whip out the popcorn and a movie. That way, you can enjoy those times of rest and relaxation, without becoming a square-eyed zombie ha ha. (Ditto for social media time – set yourself limits if you need to).
Relational tasks might be phoning a friend, writing a letter, posting a care package, playing board games or backyard cricket with your family etc.
Sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy, for good friends are like the anointing oil that yields the fragrant incense of God’s presence (Proverbs 27:9).
Financial health is generally doing the work your employer requires of you. It might also be paying the bills, budgeting, completing a training webinar etc.
Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty (Proverbs 21:5).
Overall, I like my daily plans to be doable and flexible. I try to mix things up so that each day feels unique (making each day count). I aim to build fun, laughter and joy into every day. I also journal three things I’m grateful for each day!
Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds (Psalms 9:1).
In the coming days, I’ll share thoughts on my God-time, social life, a sense of ‘normal’ and keeping check on my head space.
If you’ve got great ideas to share about routines, don’t forget to share them in the comments.
Have a fantastic day!
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (several translations)
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