Updated: Jun 22, 2021
12 quick and simple habits that you can implement into your daily routine to help improve your productivity and well-being this lockdown.
It's no surprise that many of us are not only struggling to stay positive this lockdown but are also having trouble being productive. When you're stuck at home all the time it's sometimes difficult to motivate yourself to get stuff done. With this in mind we've constructed a list of 12 simple habits you can implement into your daily routine proven to help increase levels of productivity and uplift your mood.
1. Start and end your day with a mantra/affirmation
Saying mantras/affirmations out loud to yourself at the beginning and end of the day can help inspire and motivate you and it ensures that you begin and end your day on a positive note. Affirmations/mantras are positive statements that when said out loud can help channel both your conscious and subconscious mind into believing the statements you say aloud.
They can help rewire negative thinking patterns and help project you into positive thinking and focusing on your goals. It can be as simple as looking at yourself in the mirror when you wake up/ go to bed and saying "I am worthy and I have the strength and ability to achieve my goals."
2. Write thank you notes
Why not try ending your day by writing down one thing or one person you're thankful for and why. Gratitude is said to be strongly associated with greater happiness and the practice of it forces you to focus on the positives in your life and in a time where it's even harder than ever to overlook all the negatives that are occurring, its more important than ever to remind yourself of all the things you have to be thankful for, even if it's just for a few minutes of the day.
You can even attempt to romanticise the experience by buying yourself a cute set of thank you cards. Alternatively, you could use your phone and type out all the things you're grateful for each day, that way you have a full list of things you're grateful readily available on your phone to look back in if you ever need a little pick me up. And when it comes to a day where you're thankful for a particular person why not send a message to them directly saying why you're grateful for them, that way you're helping to spread the love beyond yourself.
Or perhaps you could go the extra mile and write them a physical thank you card and send it in the post, people don't tend to receive hand-written letters these days so imagine how special the receiver would feel.
3. Find an energising mid-day activity
It's safe to say many of us experience what's known as 'the mid-day slump.' You could have a super productive morning but when it comes to the afternoon you begin to feel tired and unmotivated, particularly when stuck at home. One way to combat this sense of afternoon tiredness and demotivation is to decide on an energising activity for you to do in the middle of the day.
Some ideas could include playing your favourite song and dancing around the Kitchen for a couple of minutes or getting some fresh air and exercise by going on an afternoon walk or perhaps a slightly more unique idea you may not have heard of is to change your pair of socks as many say it instantly makes them feel more fresh.
4. Drink a glass of water when you wake up
As many already know, drinking water provides the body with endless benefits but particularly if you do so first thing in the morning. Not only does it help set a positive tone for the day it had also been proven that if you drink a glass of water when you wake up it can help strengthen the immune system, get rid of toxins in your body, jumpstart your metabolism and help increase your alertness and energy levels!
All of those benefits simply from drinking a glass of water, it a no brainier - you should try and implement this into your daily routine.
5. Brush your teeth at morning and night
This one might seem obvious but you'd be surprised at how many people don't adopt this daily habit for a variety of reasons, particularly for those suffering with mental health related issues, hygiene can sometimes be sacrificed if you're feeling mentally exhausted and simple tasks to take care of yourself like showering and brushing your teeth can feel monumental.
Furthermore, a recent survey showed that during lockdown many people admitted to not brushing twice a day on those days where you're mostly laying in bed or on the sofa. In fact one creator went viral on TikTok after sharing her struggle with brushing her teeth at night, sharing a video of her brushing to encourage others to fo the same and the comments were filled with a wealth of people who could relate and felt comforted that they weren't alone or gross in that matter and that others too sometimes find 'easy' tasks difficult at times.
The benefits of brushing twice a day extend further than the obvious reasons in regards to the importance of good dental hygiene and protecting your teeth. Brushing at morning and night is a great way of feeling as if you've done something to take care of yourself, setting up and closing the day in a good light.
6. Set yourself one key intention for the day
Setting yourself one key intention for the day can help keep you focussed and centred throughout. It can be something as simple as making sure you go to bed by 9pm or ensuring you complete a particular work task but it could be also something broader and more general if you prefer. The idea being that you keep focus on the task that's most important to you for the day to stop you from fixating on the little inconveniences you may encounter throughout the day and keep sight of what task is actually important for you to complete.
7. Practice deep breathing
Taking a minute or two out of your day to just be still and take some deep breaths can impact your entire body in a positive way. If you feel yourself getting tired or stressed at any point throughout the day try taking a series of deep breaths, after each set of breaths focussing on how your body feels and repeat until you physically feel more relaxed. Doing this can give you a better sense of mental clarity, improve your attention span, lower pain levels and reduce stress. It also gives you a healthy coping mechanism for when you're feeling down.
8. Do 7 minutes of exercise
I'm sure many of you have already heard people droning on about the positive effects exercise can have not only on your physical health but for your mental well-being, but it really is true! Many give the excuse that they simply don't have the time or motivation to do a full work out routine so why not try just 7 minutes.
7 minutes seems to be a bit of a magic number when it comes to working out as you can still see lots of the positive effects of exercise after just 7 minutes.
Plus, most people can find a spare 7 minutes out of their day and for those who are aren't fitness fanatics and find it hard to motivate themselves to get their body moving, it doesn't seem like too much of a task to commit to less than 10 minutes of exercise. I think we'd all be lying if we said we haven't sat scrolling on our phone for 7 minutes straight. Even super short bursts of exercise can help improve your alertness, help you focus and decrease levels of stress and anxiety.
Moreover, working out doesn't have to be boring cardio, why not try a 7 minute dance workout.
9. Set aside 30 minutes for the small tasks
Sometimes we get tied down and caught up in all the little nitty gritty tasks we have to complete throughout the day and we let them bog us down and distract from the important things we have to achieve that day. Designate a 30 minute slot out of your day to worry about and complete all those little tasks. You can set a timer and throw on a playlist or a short Podcast and challenge yourself to complete as much as you can in half an hour.
It's important to remember that you may not get every single thing you feel you need to get done in that half an hour slot but if you tell yourself that's all the time you have to complete them and challenge yourself to do it in the time restriction, it's likely you'd still get more done than you would of if you gave yourself unlimited time to get it done and you'll be far closer to completing your to-do list than you would have prior.
Try using this method for things like taking the bins out, emptying the Dishwasher, cleaning makeup brushes or replying to an email you've been avoiding.
10. Avoid using electronics 10 minutes before bed
It's no secret that many of us lay in bed scrolling through our phones before going to sleep but numerous resources suggest that it can have a negative impact on the quality of your sleep and your overall health. Not only is it said that the blue light rays that are emitted from our screens are damaging as they suppress the hormone responsible for controlling your sleep-wake style but it also doesn't allow your brain to slow down as the your phone is designed to keep you engaged and entertained.
Furthermore, checking your phone before bedtime can provoke a range of distracting emotions that make it harder to fall asleep whether its stress and anxiety after viewing something that makes you upset or a hilarious video you may watch that will keep your brain stimulated and make it harder to settle down and fall asleep. Encourage yourself to create a relaxing bedtime routine as opposed to be spending your time before bed on electronics and especially for those who struggle to get a good nights sleep, try this out and see if you notice a difference in the quality of sleep.
If you know it will be difficult for you to limit your screen time before bed begin with not going on it 5 minutes before bed then gradually increase the time when you feel ready to do so.
11. Read, even if it's just one page
Reading can be such a fun and enjoyable experience yet it has so many benefits. The key is to find a book you truly enjoy. Even if you read just one page of your book a day you've given your brain a miniature workout. Whether you want to read something non-fiction that teaches you something or a fictional book that has an exciting story you can find pleasure in. The act of reading itself can help improve concentration and keep your mind engaged.
12. Eat a good breakfast
You've all heard the phrase "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day" before but how many of you actually listen? Having a nutritional, protein packaged Breakfast helps to provide the body and the brain with the fuel they need to survive the day. A good Breakfast can give you the energy to complete your daily tasks as well as it being good for the waistline, studies showing that eating Breakfast helps boost your metabolism so that you burn more calories throughout the day.
It's very important to remember that you can't change your entire life in one day, it's a gradual process, but hopefully adopting some of these habits will help to get you into a more positive routine. Remember to take it step by step, perhaps pick two or three from the list that you like the sound of first and see how you go! It's also key to bare in mind that sometimes little tasks can feel monumental when you're having a down day or particularly if you are suffering with mental health related issues, so be kind to yourself and try to reserve judgment towards others if they are unable to execute tasks that to you deem to be easy.
Particularly during these testing times its good to be appreciative of the little things and celebrate small victories so pat yourself on the back after completing one of these tasks. But also don't beat yourself up if you feel you can't achieve them on some days, forgive yourself and try again tomorrow.
Enjoyed reading this article? Be sure to check out some of our other blog posts about mental health and well-being, including 'A List Of Helplines To Support You Doing Lockdown' and 'Ways To Brighten Up Your Social Media Feed.'
Have you got any other tips that you would love to share? We would love to hear them so don't hesitate to get into contact. Either let us know via the social @croydonfm on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org