Lockdown Morning Routine

My morning routine in lockdown has fluctuated and changed in the past five weeks since starting lockdown. With a changing work schedule, strange dreams, and moving out of my flat, mornings have gotten tough. But I also find that having structure helps me feel in more control of my situation and lessens my anxiety. Now that I’ve settled in more to the home in Buckinghamshire, I’ve developed this morning routine that gets me out of bed early and leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.

7:15am: Wake Up. I am trying to wakeup earlier and earlier during lockdown so I can do more in the morning for myself before getting to work. One thing that has been helpful is setting ‘Downtime’ on my iPhone from 10pm – 8am, which means when I wakeup at 7:15, I can’t just roll over and start scrolling through social media apps and waste an hour in bed. When my alarm goes off, I usually roll over and pull open the curtains to let the morning light in.

7:15am – 7:30am: Get ready for the day. The first thing I do is my skincare routine. I don’t wash my face in the morning, instead starting with a toner, then a Vitamin C serum and a hydration serum, ending with eye cream and moisturiser. I’m currently using Drunk Elephant products which I bought through Space NK – they had a good deal on a travel pack. After my skincare routine, I make my bed and get dressed for the day. Now that I’m working from home full-time, this varies between joggers, leggings, and bike shorts with a bralette or sports bra and a soft tank or sweater. Comfort is key for me, especially in the morning.

7:30am – 8:15am: Yoga Practice. I have practiced yoga on and off for about seven years, never really being super dedicated to my practice. I have decided to incorporate a morning practice while in lockdown to counter my anxiety and to feel calm and refreshed in the morning. I either do this in the back garden or in the living room depending on the weather (England is known for rain after all). I watch Yoga With Adrienne on YouTube, starting with her 30-day Home series (it’s perfect for beginners!). The videos range from 15 minutes to an hour, so you can choose depending on length, or they all have a specific theme for each day which you can cherry pick from as well.

8:15 – 9:00am: Breakfast and the News. After yoga, I walk over to the kitchen, pop the kettle on and start to make breakfast. Usually this consists of a piece of fruit (banana, avocado or mango) and toast or a bagel with a cup of English Breakfast Tea (splash of oat milk). While I’m waiting for my toast and the kettle, I do a bit of cleaning that was missed the night before – empty the dishwasher, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or wipe down the counters. This helps me feel productive and I like a clean working space. I usually take my tea and breakfast on the couch and watch the news to start the day.

9:00am: Get to Work. After putting away my breakfast dishes, I make a second cup of tea and settle down at the kitchen table to start my work day.

Depending on the day and how I’m feeling, this schedule may change a bit, but I am trying to make a commitment to myself to stick to this because I feel better when I do. Developing a nurturing and soothing morning routine is so important in these challenging times. Whether it includes everything that I have or you only have 15 minutes to yourself, I really encourage you to take the time to start your day with purpose and intention.

Enjoy this side by side of my WFH outfits depending on what I’m doing. The left is what you’ll most likely find me in for 90% of the day.

Living Under Lockdown

This is week five of lockdown in the UK and I’m still adjusting. The first three weeks were spent quarantining with my boyfriend, Conor, in my London flat. Since then, we have moved to Conor’s mom’s home in a small village in Oxfordshire where there is more room, a back garden, and a dog.

Golden hour, Snapchat filters, and painted nails.

The last four weeks have been full of Zoom calls, work calls, late nights, late mornings, fewer workouts, more drinks, vivid dreams, sad days, long walks. I’m sure my experience of lockdown isn’t anything special compared to those on the frontlines of the NHS, those classed as ‘vulnerable’, or those who have lost a family member. While not particularly special in that sense, all of our experiences are still valid.

I miss my family the most. They were all quarantined together at our home in California before one of my sisters returned to her university housing for the remainder of the school year. But, still the rest of the family is together in our childhood home with our puppy, trying not to kill each other while learning Tik Toks. My oldest sibling is the first to spend her birthday in quarantine, as San Francisco has been on lockdown just as long as London. But, my brother, mom, and youngest sister are all going to be celebrating their birthdays in lockdown. A small, seemingly insignificant thing, but a day when usually the extended family comes around along with friends and neighbours to celebrate. It will be different. Many things will be different, already are.

I’m living for the Snapchats of my puppy, Bailey. Pictured here enjoying the California sun with not one, but two of her favourite balls (look closer).

During this time, I am lucky to still have my job. I work for a small events company and my boss has made it clear to all of us that we will be fine and our salaries will be protected. I am one of the lucky ones. But, I’m also learning new skills as we venture into the world of digital events. There are way more things that can go wrong than I thought and we are learning most of them the hard way. I’ve spent countless hours on Webinar Jam with my boss testing all the different settings and trying to figure out everything that can go wrong and sometimes discovering cool features that are surprisingly helpful. So my weekdays are actually quite full with full-time work, frustrating phone calls and many a ‘can you hear me?’.

My wonderful boss thanked the team for our hard work at setting up the digital events with a cute Fortnum & Mason basket! I’ve always wanted one!

Additionally, I have been finding time for other hobbies. While there really is no need to being doing this, I have always been a planner/organizer/reader anyway. With my friends from Ohio State, I have started a book club to accompany our weekly Skype calls – first up is The Alice Network (if my copy is delivered in time, stay tuned). Conor’s family does weekly Zoom chats as well and each week we are tasked with some creative project so I’ve been painting more as well. And obviously, I am writing this blog. I took a bit of time off from writing when all this stuff first started happening – it was too overwhelming to be doing anything other than living a bare minimum daily life. Now that I’ve found more structure and time in my days, I find myself returning to my hobbies, picking up new ones, and wanting to be more mindful of how I spend my free time.

Just a couple of paintings I did while at my flat in London – playing around with ideas for multiple canvases to decorate my sad walls.
The task for week 2: Put yourself into a famous masterpiece.
Conor and I have been experimenting with our meals because we have the time to put towards cooking more delicious and complex recipes.

Life under lockdown has been very easy in some ways and very difficult in others. I recently produced a livestream with Elizabeth Gilbert who had this advice for us during these trying and uncertain times –

“If there’s anything I could want for you all, it is to give yourself mercy.”

Find something that brings you the kind of joy that produces a Liz Gilbert Smile.

Three things I am grateful for this week:

  1. My morning cup of tea.
  2. A sunny afternoon in the garden.
  3. Conor’s cooking abilities.
I ordered cupcakes on one of my really low days because they are my comfort food and they were delivered like this – all I could do was laugh at this and grab a spoon.

Interning Across the Country

I slowly turn my alarm off and check the time. Waking up at 6am is hell.

I lethargically sit up and groan. I have not been up this early since Christmas morning. There won’t be any presents waiting for me downstairs this morning though. Just a few Tupperwares with today’s lunch. It takes me an hour to wake up my brain and put myself together for my first day at the National Museum of Natural History. My chauffeur (actually the friend that I am staying with for the next two weeks) generously drives me to the metro stop, where I pass by the free newspaper in favor of Spotify—a mistake I would soon rectify.

IMG_0695The 40 minute Metro ride gave me ample time to prepare for my first morning, and by prepare I mean freak out with everything that could go wrong. There was no need. I may have walked to the wrong entrance the first morning, but everything else was smooth sailing from there (lol). I immediately felt welcomed by the other staff members and my supervisor. And then it was time to work. I was thrown into my new position with a lot of responsibility and figuring things out on my own. I learned to take constructive criticism quickly and to check myself before asking questions with answers easily accessible on the computer. With Friday over, I felt like I had been here for a month, not a week.

I am slowly, but also quickly, adjusting to my pseudo adult life in a new city. I am packing all my lunches and figuring out how to eat healthy without sacrificing my first-born child. I started reading the newspaper on the Metro because I am in Washington D.C. so I should probably keep up on what is going on. I have successfully learned to navigate the Metro and feel confident enough to give random strangers directions, though I’m told that can be a ruse for theft so maybe I’ll go back to waiting for the Metro with my RBF on.

I still feel like a squatter, being in my friend’s house for two weeks. Soon though, I will be moving into an apartment in the city where I will have to fend for myself—no more home cooked meals every night made for me. But, I will be closer to work and to all the happenings! I am excited to make new friends and immerse myself in the local culture. So far, I can really see myself in this city. IMG_0651.JPG