In the third part of the ‘A Reflection on Routine’ series, Milly Munro shares the ways she has found routine, joy and sense of structure in movement and exercise during uncertain times.
As an introvert, the idea of being in lockdown with really not much to do for a few months was initially quite appealing. However, a few weeks in I found myself lethargically moping around the house looking for something stimulating to do. I needed some kind of routine, and my saving grace came in a rather unexpected form: exercise.
Youtube fitness gurus have boomed during lockdown. Channels like Blogilates, Chloe Ting and Pamela Reif boast millions of subscribers each. If you scroll down on some of their most popular workout videos, the comment section is now scattered with lockdown-glow up goals and Corona content: ‘Who’s going back to school with/work with a model body?’ ‘Corona really had us so bored, we started working out’, ‘Only people who are trying to glow up during quarantine can like’.
In the early weeks of lockdown, with no academics and no summer reading, I would wake up feeling completely unmotivated and the days seemed to go at a snail’s pace. I would spend hours online until my brain was sludge and my eyes were sore, and yet I couldn’t seem to find any motivation to do anything better. Pre-lockdown me would be in the gym on a treadmill a couple of times a week, but I’ve never been a big home-workouts-with-no-equipment person. I decided to try a Chloe Ting 2-week program. Within the first few days, my mentality became so much better. For the first time in what felt like a decade, I had some sort of routine. I woke up and I had something to do, even if the biggest take-away from the workouts was my embarrassing lack of physical fitness.
I settled on doing the workouts in the morning and this routine meant that by the time lunchtime came around, I felt like I’d been productive. I felt mildly accomplished and this motivated me to do more with the rest of my day. I started writing down daily to-do lists so that I could use that motivation to add some structure to my week. Some of them were full of the most mundane activities I could think of, but it turns out there are few things more satisfying in a global pandemic than crossing off every item on a to-do list. Who knew?
By the time a new year starts at Durham, lockdown will have been going on for six months but having a somewhat normal routine still seems like a faraway ideal. If nothing else, the last few months have shown me more than ever the important of routine and structure in my day-to-day life. I, for one, will be arriving back in Durham with my workout clothes and a to-do list notebook in hand. In abnormal times, a small sense of normality has become more important than ever.
Image: Bruno Nascimento via Unsplash