Alba Rodriguez

How I stay sane in lockdown

I won't lie. I get extremely annoyed every time I watch the PM announcements in tv. With every restriction, going from tier 3 to tier 4 to full lockdown. It gets into my nerves. It gets into my nerves so much that I get into a vicious circle of negativity.

I decided I had to shift my focus from all the negative news to what I can do to make my life easier and enjoy my day to day. The first thing I did was stop complaining, and let me tell you: it feels good. I went from feeling helpless to being in control.

How often have we heard: I decide how I react to what happens around me? Yet it's so easy to forget. If that happens to you too, it might help writing it down in a sticky note and put it where you can see it everyday. You never know when will be the next time you're going to need it again.

I'm usually very energetic but as everyone else, energy goes down every now and then, and when energy is lacking, it's easy for me to start making poor decisions: today I'm not feeling like exercising, or going for a walk, or eating well, or going to bed at a reasonable time, etc.

I once read that today's human being makes about 35,000 decisions in a day, 226 decisions on food alone. SERIOUSLY! Who can make 226 good decisions on food? Certainly not me, so what? I'm not looking to be perfect, but I'm sure about something: I want to do everything I can to make my day to day better.

To achieve it, I made a list of things that bring joy into my life. I must say that this step wasn't a straight forward thing for me, I didn't know what things made my day better, so I did the popular exercise called Day in the Life, which helped me understand and analyse my routine and habits.

I also made a list of activities I wanted to do and wasn't doing. I reflected on why I wasn't doing those activities and how would my day change if I did them.

I identified that:

  • Exercising ALWAYS ALWAYS made my day better. So much better.
  • If I exercise, I avoid sugar and junk food. Eating healthier makes my day better.
  • If I exercise, I get quality sleep at night. Sleeping well makes my day better.
  • Reading a good book makes my day better.
  • Learning new things makes my day better.
  • Yoga makes my day better.
  • Waking up with a purpose makes my day better.
  • Drawing makes my day better.
  • Writing makes my day better.
  • Talking to friends & family makes my day better.
  • Going for a walk makes my day better.
  • Helping other people makes my day better.
  • Having less stuff makes my day better.
  • Organisation and planning makes my day better.

And the list goes on and on.

Making the time for all those things that make my day better had a massive impact in my life, in my mood, in how I face the next day. Now I'm looking forward to every day because I set my mind to enjoy it no matter what. I'm fortunate to be able to decide what I do with my time.

It's easy to forget about it and get carried away by what's happening around us, but it's worthwhile to make the effort of doing what's difficult just because I don't feel like it. It's worth it because I know for a fact that after doing it, I feel better.

I guess that what I'm trying to say is that there are lots things in life that make our days so much better. If we simply decide (yes, decide. Everything is a decision) to focus on the negativity around us, we are making a poor use of our very limited energy and attention.

I choose to make the most out of what I have. I choose to enjoy my life, my day.

Alba Rodríguez 2021