How To Survive Lockdown 2.0: A Rulebook

 

Source: futurelearn.com


Practice makes perfect, and if there's one thing that we've had practice of in the last 6 months, it's learning how to survive half a year confined in the small proximity of our homes whilst attempting to keep our sanity intact (that, and making interminable loaves of banana bread, oh, and giving the word "unprecedented" way too much love).

Although there's been no concrete evidence that we're steadily steering towards another lockdown, the recent tightening of government restrictions - face masks compulsory in restaurants, indoor sports ban, and the closure of pubs an hour earlier than usual (because, obviously, the killer virus finishes its lunch break after 10pm) - leaves an uneasy feeling that lockdown 2.0 is inevitably looming. Lockdown epitomised tedious and tiresome living, but, lockdown 2.0? Well...I almost have plans to enjoy it.


You don't have to write a book (and that's ok)

In other words: be realistic with your expectations. Remember at the start of lockdown when we were etching into our calendars early morning yoga sessions, plans to learn new languages, to eat super salads and workout religiously? Oh, to be young and naïve...

Lockdown 2.0 calls for more realistic goals; this time round, I'll be saying goodbye to the over optimistic mindset that I have to use this unexpected vastness of time to become a productivity machine. I'll be productive when it suits me. Relax when it suits me. Self care is productive.


Stockpiling

Hands up who's still not made more than a dent into the mountain of toilet rolls occupying their storage room? The personal luxuries, that actually make you slightly tearful when you run out of them, is what's worth buying in advance: your favourite chocolates, your trusty hand lotion and the very things that give you a little pick-me-up during a time of intense isolation. 

Unless you're working in supply chain, leave the toilet rolls. Book in your online orders in advance, and make sure to prioritise the little luxuries.


Appearance

If 2020 fashion were to be studied in a future Fashion Through The Ages project, you'd be hard pushed to find any items thats chief essence didn't scream comfort, or, at times, borderline sleepwear. In fact, if the fashion industry were in charge of the criminal justice system, wearing a pair of jeans in this period would probably acquire a 10 year sentence. 

Comfort Is Key will, I believe, still be the fashion and, well, life mantra to worship going into another lockdown, but this time I'm going to amplify the effort (yes, you heard that right - calling Lizzo, because we about to Turn it Up'). The foundation of my outfit will remain the same, but accessorising will take the lead role in transforming my loungewear from 'just woke up' to a consciously crafted 'cosy chic'. 


Structure

For many - myself included - each day of lockdown habitually merged into one long structureless day.  To avert aimless 3 hour trips down the lanes of TikTok, my WFH Guide offer tips for boosting productivity and adding structure into your day.



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The WFH Guide: 10 Productivity Tips & Tricks

 With the announcement of the latest government guidelines, for many, work from home life is about to commence. The WFH lifestyle inevitably requires a new and adaptive approach to things; productivity levels, consequently, can sometimes suffer in this demanding transition.  To prevent this, and alternatively optimise your time wisely, here are 10 tips and tricks to enhance WFH productivity.




Remember: the Snooze button is your enemy 

Structure is paramount in crafting a productive day. Setting an alarm for the time you would normally get up for work and laying out your day in the same format as if you were going into the office, for example, is fundamental for establishing a work-orientated, productive mindset. The moment you hit that snooze button, you are instantly breaking the barrier that separates your work from your life - allowing the first glimmer of procrastination to enter and gradually flourish throughout your day. 

A healthy and substantial morning meal

Despite the uncertainty of these bizarre times (thank me later for not writing 'unprecedented times') one thing is certain: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Making sure that you consume a nutritional and substantial breakfast is crucial in ensuring that you have the required energy to fuel your working day, without constantly feeling peckish and taking unnecessary, distraction-provoking breaks.

Personal rec: I've been having (and loving!) porridge with fruit pretty much every day for breakfast - super tasty and keeps you full until lunch!

Separate your workspace 

If there's just one thing that you take away from this post, make it be to create a separate workspace from your living area. Work at a clear, clutter-free desk, preferably near a window and away from possible distractions. Whatever you do, do not work on your bed. This will merge your sleeping and workspace into one, and falling asleep at night will swiftly become a challenge.

Write to-do lists (seriously).

It may seem tedious, but creating a to-do list the night before each day will help boost productivity and allow the next day to flow smoothly. Schedule in meetings, emails and general plans and do the ones that need to be checked off most urgently first. As soon as a thought or distraction pops into your mind - work-related or not - write it down to evade unnecessarily exhausting brain space trying to remember it.




Lock away distractions

You've heard it time and time again - hide your phone. Lock it away. Put it in another room. Whatever it takes to avert getting lost into the virtual hole of social media. If you have an iPhone, Downtime is a great built-in tool to restrict yourself from using certain apps during your working hours.

Match your music

There's no reason why you shouldn't make your working day that extra bit more inviting with some of your favourite music. However, tailoring that music to the task at hand is crucial for maintaining the music as a motivator rather than a distractor. For instance, more mundane, and less focused tasks might call out for the more upbeat, lyrical and pop-based playlist, whereas an attention-demanding writing task is better suited for instrumental, quieter and more calming soundtracks (my personal recommendation for the latter is to listen to meditative nature sounds: rainforest, waves, rain, etc).

Take breaks

Although it may seem obvious, taking breaks is essential to preventing burn out and increasing productivity. If you happen to be a workaholic, make sure that you fully utilise these breaks to step away from the work world and take time for yourself. Timed breaks are essential for making sure that 30-minute tea break doesn't spiral into a Netflix movie marathon.

Get Outside

If possible, and applying to COVID safety measures, go outside during your lunch break. Fresh air and nature is the key to brain stimulation and will help to alleviate the accumulation of stress throughout the day. Simply go for a walk, get some exercise or head down to your local coffee shop and you'll come back to your WFH space feeling rejuvenated and ready to press play on the productivity.



Give yourself rewards

Making time for yourself is just as important in terms of productivity and avoiding burnout as ticking off all of your daily goals and tasks. Have a post-work plan in mind to look forward to and motivate you throughout the day: meeting up with or FaceTiming a friend, cooking your favourite dinner, delving into a new book, watching that new Netflix show in your recommended - essentially, whatever makes you happy.

Set a definitive finishing time

Work-life balance may, on the surface, appear easier to achieve when working from home. Yet, it is easier than it seems to get caught up in an activity and find yourself working over hours. Just as you set a time to start working, set a decisive time end working.



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Sustainable and ethical Beauty Guide

 Ignorance is bliss...but not when it comes to skincare. 


Is there anything better than getting home in the evening, applying a new product promising to fulfil all your skincare wants and desires, putting your feet up and simply unwinding? 


I think not.


A completely guilt-free, state of tranquillity like this is, I'm sure, on the top tier of many bucket lists. It seems unlikely to achieve, however, when there are myriad skincare wonders and queries simultaneously cascading the walls of our minds: what ingredients have been used? Will they align with my skin’s chief concerns? How ethical was the production process? Was it tested on animals?


There’s a lot to think about when it comes to ethical beauty and skincare - and 

there's never been a time quite so paramount to start thinking about itas now.


It doesn’t take a genius to work out that climate change is eating its way into every corner of our lives. 


The beauty industry creates 120 billion units of packaging every year. Unless we make a conscious effort to shop sustainably and support ethical processes, we can only expect figures like this to grow.


It’s evident that in collaboration with cutting down on unnecessary consumerist purchases, ethical and sustainable beauty is the glowing answer to this growing predicament. 


The ultimate guide to ethical and sustainable beauty:





Vegan/ Vegetarian

If a product is cruelty-free, don't just assume that this mean's it is also vegetarian/vegan. Ingredients including collagen, silk, glycerin and pearl are all examples of lesser-known animal products.


Is it tested on animals?

A quick way to test if a product is cruelty-free: look for the leaping bunny symbol.



Packaging Sustainability

In the beauty industry, brands pride themselves on making the most aesthetic driven packaging. However, is its effect on the environment quite so pretty? Make sure that a product comes with 100% recyclable packaging.



Brand Principles and History

If you're looking for a makeup brand, is their shade range extensive? Or would they be embarrassed to show it to a diverse audience? Are they renowned for poor staff treatment and/or pay? There's a lot to consider when it comes to choosing which brand to support.


Ingredients

One thing to guarantee with sustainable ingredients is that there's no palm oil - this releases mass amounts of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. Additionally, ingredients should be naturally derived with real benefits, and free of alcohol, microplastics, parabens and artificial colours and fragrances.


Efficacy

Lastly, does the product actually do what it claims to? Look beyond a brand's promises and search for customer reviews.



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