Trying to keep sane during a lockdown is an uphill challenge. Every day brings the next news cycle, a new set of emotions, and a different headspace ๐Ÿ˜ซ

Now that I’ve been at home for over a month, I’ve realised I’ve organically started to incorporate a bunch of new things into my ‘routine’, that have actually all been helping to maintain and stabilise my mental health.

Here’s a rundown of five things that have been working for me so far in this pandemic:

1. Spa Sundays ๐Ÿง–๐Ÿฝโ€โ™€๏ธ

For the last three weeks, I’ve designated a few hours on a Sunday as Spa Sunday – this is ‘me-time’ each week that I should not be disturbed, and is time for me to indulge in self-care.

How does it work? Well, I have a drawer full of items from Birchboxes and beauty calendars of the past, so on a Sunday when I wake up, I go and visit my drawer and choose 3-4 items that will be utilised in my ‘spa’ that week, things like face masks, moisturising creams and nail polish.

I also make sure to make the environment feels a bit more zen. I use my bedroom, so before Spa Sundays begin, I clean and tidy the space, close the curtains and bust out some candles + low lighting, so that it feels more special and like a spa!

2. Perfume & ‘fits ๐Ÿ‘ 

I know, this is advice that is seemingly written in every single working from home guide, but getting fully dressed rather than sitting at home in your pyjamas all day does give you a positivity bump.

I’m fully in agreement with this advice – I’ve been attempting to get properly dressed when I’m at “work” (aka in my office room) and then marking the end of the day by changing into more comfy clothes.

I have three other things here that I’ve been experimenting with, that may be interesting to try for yourself:

Take this opportunity to play with your ‘office’ wardrobe

I don’t know about you, but I have a bunch of clothes that I would never wear to the office but that I would wear at home. Think unpractical footwear, more ‘out-there’ sartorial choices, or even just clothes that usually sit at the back of the cupboard that aren’t in regular rotation. I’ve been utilising this work from home time to dig a bit deeper into my wardrobe!

Experiment with your make-up lewks

In a similar vein, this has been a great opportunity to play around more with my make-up! Seeing as I now have more time to get ready in the morning (now that my commute is literally walking into the next room), I’ve been playing around with applying make-up looks for work. Outside of ‘working from home’, I’ve started to apply a full face of makeup at least once on a weekend, playing outside of my usual makeup choices, both to practise my skills and to at least have one day where I feel “dressed up”, even if I have nowhere to go ๐Ÿ˜…

Don’t neglect fragrance!

There is nothing better than smelling good, even if you’re not going anywhere.

Perfume is the perfect accessory to any outfit, and just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t indulge. I love getting a waft of my favourite fragrance at my home office, or as I sit on the sofa watching Tiger King on Netflix. I have 3 or 4 perfumes that I like to wear on rotation and I make sure to spritz some on each morning!

3. Light candles ๐Ÿ•ฏ

Iโ€™m a sucker for candles at the best of times but this pandemic has got me going candle crazy! I think its because they a) smell good and b) create this sense of cosiness and calm that is really helpful when you’re stuck in doors.

My favourite places to light candles recently have been at my office desk – providing me with a bit of much-needed zen as I battle through my fifth VC call of the day ๐Ÿ˜… – and also in the living area when relaxing in the evening.

For the living space, we bought an amazing Neom Candle on sale a couple of weeks ago and it smells SO GOOD. Every time I come into the living room now I’m hit by this amazing scent ๐Ÿ˜ and it really sets my mood right.

PS. Here’s my tip for easy lighting of candles: this gadget has revolutionised my life!

4. Cleaning and organising ๐Ÿงน

I’ve realised more and more of us are doing this, and I don’t just think it’s because its a time filler. I actually think the act of exerting control over my environment in these uncertain times really helps with mental health.

But regardless of the unconscious motivations behind things, organising and cleaning my flat has become one of the biggest activities I’m doing in lockdown. Since the pandemic started, a non-exhaustive list of cleaning activities I’ve done include:

  • Clean out 4 years of crap from my shed (even bravely dodging spiders to get this done!)
  • Wash out and tidy the inside of my fridge
  • Clean the insides and outsides of all my windows
  • Organised numerous shelves

If you want to get started but don’t know where to begin, I recommend starting small and scoped. Focus on a shelf, or a drawer, and empty it all out so you can clean the actual surface. Then, go through all the items and figure out if you still want to keep them or not. Feel free to be ruthless (trust me it feels amazing to decide not to keep things!). Once you’ve done one shelf/drawer, congratulations! You’ve made something better than it was before! ๐Ÿฅณ

If that feels good, maybe consider doing more! If you hate it and don’t get a buzz, don’t force it – there’s no golden rule that we all have to exit the pandemic in a cleanly and organised fashion!

5. Playing games ๐ŸŽฎ

Gaming is the perfect lockdown activity – enjoyable and makes the time zip by! Three games that are fully giving me life right now:

  • Rollercoaster Tycoon on Mac – What better way than to forget the cares of the real world by immersing myself in a virtual world where the biggest issue is that my rollercoaster has broken down or that weโ€™ve not got enough toilets. I used to play this game bare when I was younger and Iโ€™ve recently picked it back up to relax!
  • Tetris 99ย on Nintendo Switch – I’m obsessed with this game. Think old-school Tetris with a new twist – you’re competing to knock out 98 other players by piling bricks onto their screens every time you get rid of lines from your own screen. Super addictive!
  • Mario Kart on Nintendo Switch – Mario Kart is probably my favourite game to play, and this version is a lot of fun! I like to play online with other players, but you can also open up rooms to friends only and play with peeps you know.

If you don’t have a console, I recommend looking at the charts for the App Store on your phone and seeing what games other people are enjoying! I’ve found some good ones that way! ๐Ÿ™‚

So yes! These are five things that I’ve found to be useful in pandemic times. I’d love to hear what you’re finding to be helpful for you! Leave a comment below!