My Stay-At-Home Lifestyle & How I’m Keeping My Life On Track!

Hey y’all!

Super long title, I know. But at this point in time, after a very turbulent start to Social Distancing, I’m FINALLY beginning to feel like I’ve got a good routine going that’s both maintainable and relaxing. I feel like I’m not alone when I say it’s been difficult to not let my life and mental health completely fall apart over the last few months — on one hand, as I’ve been laid off, I don’t exactly have a lot of responsibilities right now outside of blogging, cooking, and cleaning. On the other hand, if I let myself lie around all day, waking up and going to bed whenever I feel like it and just watching Netflix all day, it’ll be a short path to falling into a severe depressive episode and becoming, likely, entirely nocturnal.

Obviously, that’s really not ideal. But I’ve also just come off of the most stressful year of my life — I really need a break. It’s hard to find the balance — trust me, it took me up until now to feel like I was really starting to get the handle of things — but it’s starting to feel like it is possible. If you’ve still been having trouble working out how to keep your life in order lately, or have been feeling as though your mental health is declining, hopefully my little schedule here works for you. You don’t need to copy it out point for point, obviously, but maybe you’ll be able to take inspiration to apply to your own life, or make your own schedule, that helps you keep it together in the face of sitting at home with absolutely nothing to do.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my posts lately, you’ll already know that I worked at a bar pre-COVID-19, which obviously closed to the public once stay at home orders were enacted. As a FOH employee, I was laid off. This ended up being a small blessing as it gave me time and extra energy to focus on my final exams, however, once those finished up the first few days of excitement and freedom gave way to the realization that I really had nothing to do.

For the last year I’ve been so busy that I’ve been putting off loads of tasks for when I had more time — but now I have too much time, and browsing online stores for furniture to complete my apartment and completing a couple of fixes around my home surprisingly aren’t the most time-consuming tasks all of a sudden. As such, I’ve been really trying to focus my energy on this blog, my hobbies and my chores, while still allowing plenty of time to kick back and relax. While my life would quite literally fall apart if I spent all this time doing nothing, spending every waking moment doing SOMETHING isn’t the most sustainable — and it’s entirely unnecessary. I don’t know about you guys, but I really needed this break. So I’m going to take this time to enjoy it — while I need discipline, I also need to not be too hard on myself right now.

The following is my daily schedule that I’ve been following pretty strictly since the last week of April. As someone who’s always tried to keep SOME semblance of a schedule in life, I don’t think I really realized what it was like to follow a schedule so strictly — it’s the sort of thing I honestly haven’t done since high school. While it certainly took some getting used to, so far, it’s really helped me feel as normal and productive as possible lately.

8:30am: Wake Up. This is a lot earlier than I’ve woken up at regularly for years — but it’s actually pretty enjoyable. Mornings are so lovely when you’re actually up to see them, and getting up “early” makes you feel like you have a good start on the day. Overall, I feel a lot more positive when I wake up around 8:30-9:00 am lately than letting myself sleep in everyday until 10:00-11:00 (which was when I used to wake up). Even if you’re awake for the same amount of hours, you feel like you have more time when you wake up early, you feel more refreshed, and it’s been putting me in a more positive mindset to get stuff done.

8:45am: Morning Skincare. I let myself have a little time to get out of bed and face the day, and then I go about my morning skincare routine, as well as brushing my teeth and hair before I go eat breakfast. As well, before I go eat, I’m sure change out of my PJs and into some workout gear.

9:00am: Breakfast. I don’t usually meal prep breakfast foods, so it takes me a couple minutes to throw something together. However, I find the sooner I eat after I wake up, the sooner I begin to feel alert and awake.

9:30am: Yoga. This has become my favourite part of the day. Before I actually began scheduling my life, I used running as my main form of stay-at-home workouts. However, I found running to be a little daunting and since I didn’t have any solid schedule, it was pretty easy to just push working out back endlessly. However, the lack of movement in my lifestyle was kinda starting to take its toll — I really felt crappy (emotionally and physically). When I made this schedule, I decided to incorporate Adriene Mischler’s 30 Days of Yoga to my daily routine. I’ve been loving this as it’s great for beginners, is easy enough to complete every day, doesn’t require a lot of at-home materials and is something I actually look forward to. While yoga is a work out, it’s also a great way to stretch, move your body and relax too — making it seem like less of a stressful workout than running.

10:00am: Shower. Pretty self-explanatory. Depending if I have to wash my hair or not, I take whatever free time I have after this to get started on whatever activities I have planned at 1pm — or just relax a little.

12:00pm: Lunch. Also pretty self explanatory, but I figured I’d add how I try to give lunch it’s own separate space — as in, I don’t multitask while I have lunch. I just sit down and enjoy it, and then move on to the activities I want to fill my day with!

1:00pm: Activities. This can kind of be anything, but I try to settle on what I want to do the night before. Whether it’s blogging, grocery shopping, cleaning, getting my May tasks complete, doing my makeup, creating art, playing Animal Crossing — I often plan out which activities the next day will hold during my bedtime routine, and write them out so I don’t forget. I generally try to pick around 2 activities for each day, depending on what I want to do and what I need to get done.

6:00pm: Meal Prep. This only happens every four days, but an hour before dinner I plan, prep and make dinner for that night and the three nights following. I enjoy cooking, but it can be a huge task to undertake — so if I meal prep and already have a home cooked meal ready, it’ll deter me from ordering in some unhealthy or expensive take-out on a whim.

7:00pm: Dinner. Also pretty self explanatory — and once again, like lunch, I give dinner it’s own space.

8:00pm: Netflix & Chill. This one is kind of important — I set a nightly space for Netflix and relaxing. The important part being — I don’t watch TV shows or movies before 8pm. I’ve been sticking with this since before I even made this schedule, and I’ve found it to be incredibly helpful for productivity. Giving myself time to watch Netflix and chill out each night helps me balance out being active in the daytime without overworking myself. It gives me something to look forward to at the end of each day, but also keeps me from lying in bed all day binge-watching shows I don’t even care about — which makes me feel lazy and can cause me to ignore my needs, sending my mental health spiralling. As well, I’m really not a productive person at night, and I hate how crunching in activities before bed makes me feel. As such, this time is for Netflix and relaxing ONLY — and this is what helps to keep my days balanced.

11:00pm: Bedtime routine. Before I go to sleep each night, I make some tea, get ready for bed, do my skincare routine (plus any face masks I’m in the mood for), and then go over my bullet journal. I mark down my mood and all the habits I completed, and read through to get inspiration for what I should do tomorrow/what I want to get done by the end of the month. After this, I turn on a relaxing YouTube video or Audiobook, and lay down for a little bit before bed.

12:00am: Lights out. It’s bedtime!

So that’s my daily schedule! I don’t switch it up ever, not even for weekends. As weekend-days have no real meaning to me anymore so allowing myself to “stay up late” or “sleep in” would just throw off my whole schedule. However, I kind of give myself up to half-hour buffering period with the times on this schedule as it’s very hard to keep everything perfect down to the minute. As well, it wouldn’t really give me freedom to enjoy my day and the ability to complete tasks if I’m rushing to move onto the next thing. As well, there’s no rush right now — and no point in stressing myself out! The point of this schedule is to keep me on track and at peace — not cause anxiety or pressure.

Have you guys been keeping up a routine in quarantine? (I’ve been trying to avoid the work quarantine in my posts due to the negative connotation, but I just couldn’t resist the urge to rhyme — sorry!). If so, I’d love to hear about what’s been working best for you, or how your schedules differ from mine. Maybe a more elaborate schedule helps, or maybe breaking things down by week and month makes more sense to you. If you’ve been feeling like you’re floundering lately and need something to bring a little balance into your stay-at-home life, hopefully this break down of my routine left you feeling inspired! I can’t even begin to tell you guys how much having it, whether I stick to it perfectly every day or not, has helped me and my mental well-being during the last little while.

Hope you’re all staying safe out there, and have a great week!

Much love,

Meredith

My May Bullet Journal!

Hey everyone!

We’re getting close to the end of the month, which means it’s time to start up my bullet journal for the next month! I started bullet journaling at the beginning of this year, and it’s been a great way to keep track of my goals, to-do lists, and habits. This year has been an absolute roller coaster for me, and while I haven’t always kept up with it regularly, I’ve found it to be an invaluable tool for keeping myself sane during Social Distancing. Since I’ve been finding it so helpful, I figured I’d share some of my favourite ways to bullet journal so they can help you stay on track for the month of May, no matter what it throws at you!

Right now, everything in life is pretty uncertain for all of us — it can be hard to find a balance between staying on top of your goals and responsibilities, taking time to de-stress and taking care of your mental health. I’ve found that bullet journalling is a great way to do this — you can use it in so many different ways, and it gives you a little more freedom and creativity than a regular agenda (which, TBH, I haven’t used once since this all started in mid-March). I’ve included all the pages, lists and trackers I’ve created so far for May, but if you’re already an avid bullet journal user and you have any other ideas that you’ve included for the month, drop a comment and tell me about it! I’m always interesting in finding new ways to expand my journal and it’s many uses.

My Mood Tracker

This one has been my favourite, and so far, my most important use for my bullet journal lately. It’s a lot easier to check in with yourself when you can actually visualize how you’ve been doing. I keep track of my mood with a colour-coded list of 7 possible moods ranging on a scale from really amazing to downright terrible, as well as an “unsure” for when I really just don’t know how I’m feeling. Every night, I fill in each day with how I feel about the day overall right before I go to bed. As time goes on, the chart helps give you a visual of how your mood has been over the month — good or bad, it’s important to know so you can best take care of yourself.

My Habit Tracker

First of all — I don’t own a ruler and didn’t really consider it “essential” to go out and buy one with the current world situation, so I know the lines are super messy — I had to make do! I’ve been getting in to habit tracking lately and it’s really helping my stay on track of things I’m hoping to do every day (or almost every day). A lot of these are things that I aim to do every night, so when I go to fill in my tracker it helps me to remember if I haven’t done them yet. As well, for blogging and working out, it really helps to to visualize if I’m keeping up with my goal or not — especially since it’s so hard to keep track of days lately. This way, there’s no way I can go a week without working out and not even notice it — I’ll be able to see it in my tracker!

My Goal Tracker

I’m trying to keep my goals pretty small for this upcoming month to help me unwind after the year I’ve had. Yes, I could try to jam-pack this time off with as many goals and plans as possible — but I’m starting to realize more and more lately how much I need to give myself a proper break. A lot of my goals for this month are also hobbies of mine, so it’ll help to keep me busy and productive without pushing me too hard. Plus, hopefully after Social Distancing I’ll be caught up on all the little goals I’ve been putting off for a while (like decorating) so I can properly catch up on my blogging!

My To-Do List

I’m hoping to use the month of May to catch up on all the little things around the house I was putting off while being so busy last year. A lot of my to-do list is just decorating and little fixes, but I want to be sure I get it all done by the end of the month, especially before I start my next job. With this handy little list, I’ll be able to keep track of everything I need to do, and have it all in one place so I don’t forget it. Plus, I’ll be able to visualize how many tasks I have to complete as the month goes on!

My Blog Tracker + Brainstorm Page

In the front few pages of my bullet journal, I have a year-long plan of all the blog posts I’m going to make. I have this page so I can brainstorm ideas of what I may post over the next month, and once I’ve solidified my plans I add them to the year-long calendar! This way, I won’t end up writing stuff down there that’s just a possibility that I don’t end up using, and I can keep track of all the ideas (both good and bad) that I have — which can be handy to reference even in later months.

My Boredom-Cure Brainstorm Page

Social Distancing really is a weird time. While I kind of desperately needed a break from life, it’s not all that relaxing to spend every day lying in bed scrolling through my phone. As well, I know myself, and that I have to be careful about falling into the trap of slipping into a depression when I have nothing to do — once I fall into it, it’s hard to get back out. I’m keeping this list of little things I want to keep myself busy with over the next month, so that when I feel like I have nothing to do, I can check up on my options! A lot of these are past hobbies that I haven’t had time for over the last year, so I’m really excited to be able to pick them back up. As well, I intend to add to this list over the next months with any new ideas I have, so I never run out of activities! (Also, yes, I did buy a Nintendo Switch just to play Animal Crossing. I’m a little obsessed — it was my favourite game as a child. If you wanna visit my island, HMU!).

My List Of Shows To Watch

Something I’ve been finding lately is that as soon as I finish a show, I feel like I’m at a loss for what I want to watch next — which is silly, really, as I have so many shows and movies I’ve been meaning to watch forever. However, when one show ends, it can be kind of overwhelming and annoying to scroll through endless titles — so I end up picking something at random and forget about everything I’ve been meaning to watch. I’ve started this list to keep track of what I want to watch next, so that from now on I never have that problem! Plus, I’m super excited to catch up on a lot of these shows — many of them are my favourites. The best part about this is that as I see things I want to watch, or remember even more TV shows or movies I’ve forgotten, I can just add it to the list!

Chores and Meal Lists

This little page is just for me to remember both recipes I’ve been wanting to make when I don’t know what I feel like eating, as well as my chore list for cleaning days so I don’t miss anything. I’ve seen a couple of bullet journals where people write down their favourite recipes, which is something I’m probably going to do in the future, too. This page is really a work in progress and new to me this month, but I’m hoping to have a more solid list and use for it by the end of May.

Little Daily Schedules

This one probably won’t be super important this month, but on days that I actually have a whole list of things I want to do, I’ll write them down here the night before to ensure that I don’t forget anything. I’m always the worst about just “remembering my lists”, thinking it’ll be fine. However, my list always ends up a little scattered in my mind, or I forget something. Or — especially with all my free time — I decide it can be put off to another day, as nothing right now is really set in stone. I’m hoping with this little page, I’ll be able to solidify daily plans when I need them so I can feel more motivated to get all my tasks done by the end of the month!

And that’s what I have so far for this month! This little journal is always a work in progress for me — I’m hoping to find more practical uses for it over the next month to ensure I use it every day. If you’ve been using a bullet journal to help stay on top of things this year, I’d love to see your ideas! Taking the time to write things out is more helpful than I ever realized before I started this journal, plus it really is fun to design and decorate it. (While it may not be perfect or beautiful, I have plenty of time to practice over the next month!). As well, if after these tips you find you’re still struggling with Social Distancing, you can always check out my fifteen tips to survive Social Distancing to help you through this next month or so.

Love you all, and happy last week of April!

Xo,

Meredith

Fifteen Tips To Get Through Social Distancing

Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production on Unsplash

Hey y’all!

I’m back from my hiatus and given the current situation and my newfound endless free time, I’m on a bit of a blogging kick. I’m sure, especially by the time of posting, I don’t really have to tell you all about the Social Distancing situation at hand — it’s probably a bit of old news by now, but personally I’m finding that the reality of it all is really starting to kick in.

I’m not going to get too deep into it all, as I’m sure you’ve all heard it already. All I’m going to say about the virus is that apart from this, I won’t be mentioning it — it’s a bit of a stressful topic for many people, and the whole point of this post is to generate helpful ideas and reduce your worry about the situation. However, the world is coming to a bit of a stand-still, and it can definitely be a difficult and anxiety-inducing situation. However, it’s important that we all do our parts, and for now that means limiting social contact and staying inside for the time being.

I’m not sure about you guys, but I’m barely into the first few days stuck in my apartment and I can feel myself starting to go a little stir-crazy. All I’ve wanted for the last few months was just the ability to take some time off and catch up on everything in my life, but as soon as it was actually mandated I became a little overwhelmed with anxiety and at first I couldn’t put my finger on why. I’ve come to realize that just because we’re supposed to stay home all day (which really would have sounded so enjoyable back in 2019), doesn’t mean that I, personally, can just kind of ride the wave of it all and just do whatever, whenever. If you’re feeling the same way, I’ve compiled some helpful tips to help you get through this period as easily as possible!

  1. Stick to a routine. It’s so easy just to think of this time as a “mini-vacation” and just wake up and go to sleep whenever your body feels like it. However, I personally found that doing this caused my life to crash pretty quickly into just having no real sleep schedule at all, which was pretty detrimental to my ability to function and my overall mental health. Take a few days to catch up on sleep if you need to, but after that stick to an 8-hour sleep schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It’ll help you keep on track later on once we’ve been at the whole distancing thing for a while. Plus, if you’re someone who struggles with this normally, hopefully you’ll be so used to it by the time this is over that you’ll stick with it in the long run! This also goes for eating meals at a regular time — it’ll help you not lose all sense of time if you’re keeping your days as routine as possible.
  2. Get some fresh air. Make sure you open your windows at least once a day and let the air in your home circulate. Not only will it help move around stagnant air and keep your place from feeling a little gross, but the fresh air will help you feel more alert and a little less claustrophobic during long days inside.
  3. Catch up on everything you need to get done. While it can be easy to view social distancing as an annoyance, it really can be a precious resource for getting on top of your sh*t. Don’t delay it — start now! We have no idea how long this will last, really, but it’ll feel amazing if you come out on the other side completely on top of all your tasks that you’ve been putting off for a while. I’m sure just a few weeks ago you were thinking about how you wished you had some time off to help you get on top of things — so take advantage! This can mean anything, from getting ahead on blog posts, to catching up on schoolwork and work tasks, to home repairs or decorating or anything else you’ve been putting off lately.
  4. Get moving. Even if you don’t exercise regularly, you probably don’t even realize how much movement you’re missing out on right now. Walking to get around isn’t something you’re probably doing for the time being, and if you live in an apartment like I do, there’s not even much space for moving around inside. A whole lot of companies such as Lululemon (as well as many of your local fitness spots) are holding online Instagram live work out sessions that you can partake in from the comfort of your home. It’s easy to fall into the routine of just sitting on the couch or lying in bed, but keeping active will help improve your physical and mental wellbeing, and will help keep your spirits up.
  5. Pick up an old hobby. I’m honestly someone who can binge-watch Netflix for ridiculous periods of time — name any TV show on their site, and I’ve probably seen it. Given the situation, I’ve gotten back into visual art — I was an art student in high school, and I spent just about all my time filling up my sketchbooks. However, with how hectic university was I ended up rarely having time. (Also, I can’t lie, the pressure of having to complete art on a deadline for a grade in first year along with all the other classes I had to complete kind of sucked the fun out of it for me — but that’s kind of just how I am, I can’t turn hobbies into work). I’ve tried a few times to get back into it over the years, but I finally have the time to put real effort into it and I had honestly forgotten how much I loved it. It really helps the time pass when you’re actively doing stuff!
  6. Take time for self-care. I always try to stress how self-care isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. However, time and time again I hear about how people don’t have the time, and don’t realize how important it is to reduce stress levels and take care of your mental well-being. For the foreseeable future, you have all kinds of time to practice self-care. If it’s something you’re not used to, you have plenty of time to experiment and find out what works best for you. Self-care can (and should!) be both practical and enjoyable, so if taking baths or self-indulging isn’t really something you’re interested in, there’s still plenty of other options. Hopefully, if you make a point of it, you’ll get into the habit of taking around half an hour to an hour a day (or a week) to yourself and will be able to add it into your routine going forward. If you need some ideas, you can check out my post on Fall Self-Care Ideas (and don’t worry, I’ll be coming out with a spring edition soon!).
  7. Keep up your hygiene. This one kind of falls into the category of keeping up a routine. Especially if you live alone, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that it’s okay to kind of let things such as showering, brushing your teeth or washing your face slide when you don’t have to go out into the world. However, you should aim to keep your life as normal as possible — it’ll help you FEEL as normal as possible, even though this is a very strange time.
  8. Spring clean. Now is the perfect time to totally Marie-Kondo your life. I’m going to be posting a spring cleaning guide sometime soon, but for right now, just take this time to tidy, organize, clean and sort through your belongings. Regardless of the benefits a good spring-clean can have, just making sure your space is tidy will make it a lot more livable.
  9. Meditate. Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of being unable to leave my house and having no work or class has sent my anxiety through the roof. Why? I have no idea. Just a few weeks ago the idea of time off would have been heaven, but I guess it’s probably to do with feeling like there’s stuff I’m supposed to be doing and being inside by necessity rather than by choice. I know it sounds a little corny, but meditating has helped to mitigate my anxiety in the past — so I’m trying to make a point to practice it at least once a day. Even if you’re not sure how you feel about meditating or don’t see how it would be beneficial, there’s no harm in giving it a chance!
  10. Generate some Insta content. I mean, why not? If you have time to spare, try out that make up look you’ve been meaning to master or throw on some cute spring clothes you want to show off and take some photos of it! I know for bloggers Instagram is a hugely beneficial platform, but I personally find I never have time to create content to post. Personally, I’m going to take this time to stock up!
  11. Limit how often you check the news. Shout out to my roommate, Beth, for giving me this idea. This one is especially important if you’re already feeling nervous about the situation going on, but it’s a good practice anyway. If you’re stuck inside and feeling bored, it’s tempting to check up on hourly updates about what’s going on in the world. While it’s important to stay updated, consuming every piece of news constantly does a lot more harm than good. At the best, it harms your productivity — and at the worst, just fuels your anxieties (which may about news in parts of the world that don’t really effect you). It’s important to stay educated, but you can accomplish this by checking the news just a few times, if only once a day.
  12. FaceTime family and friends regularly. Social contact is important, especially during such isolating times. Texting is great and all, but the best way to feel connected and socially fulfilled is with FaceTime or a good old-fashioned phone call.
  13. Learn a new skill. Back over the summer when I had more free time, I used Duolingo to help me learn Japanese. I lost track of it as things in my life picked up between work and school, but now’s the perfect tome to pick back up where I left off! Who knows, maybe I’ll have a whole new language under my belt by the time this all blows over. It doesn’t have to be a language — maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a new musical instrument, or paint, or sport, or whatever it is you’re feeling.
  14. Take a day off. Again — why not? Don’t feel any pressure to spend every second of this time being productive — not only is that not what life should be about normally, but especially right now. There’s still value to spending time doing nothing. The beauty of productivity in this time is that you can complete tasks stress-free, and it helps you keep your life on track. But apart from whatever your current life demands are (such as homeschooling or #WFH), it isn’t a requirement. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for just taking some time to chill — whether it’s Netflix, scrolling through Insta, or just lying in bed — who cares!
  15. Do whatever makes you stay positive. These are really weird times for all of us. Just try your best to relax and make sure to take care of your mental health — whatever that means for you is whatever you should be doing right now.

I hope you guys are all doing well out there! I know it’s weird and difficult, but do your best to stay inside and minimize contact with others. The more we stick to it now, the sooner this will all blow over and we can all return to our normal lives. Just keep in mind that this “social distancing” isn’t about you — even if you’re absolutely certain you’re going to be fine, it’s about those who may not be. Please try to keep them in mind during this difficult time.

Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow for my all-time favourite post of the season — my FabFitFun Unboxing! I’m already loving my spring box so much, and I can’t wait to share it with you guys! And in the meantime, stay safe, stay indoors and feel free to hit me up for Netflix recommendations (I have plenty!).

Much love,

Meredith