Connect With Us
author
By: Dr Afiniki Akanet, author of Fortitude and Life Without Coffee (Choosing Happiness Over Stress)
Posted on: May 15, 2020

Lockdown Tips for Staying Happy at Home

As a mother, wife, GP, charity founder and published author, Dr. Afiniki Akanet knows what it's like to be busy. But what happens when life comes to a standstill following the outbreak of a pandemic? How do you maintain a positive outlook when the world seems anything but positive? And how do you adapt to all the new rules and regulations that lockdown is throwing at you? Here, Niki runs through her top tips for staying happy at home during one of the most challenging periods of the last 100 years.

Most of us associate fun times with being out of our homes doing activities or meeting others. Unfortunately, this usually involves spending money on hotels, restaurants, transport, cinemas, amusement parks etc, or being in crowded places. Even the introverts among us have discovered, with the recent social distancing restrictions due to COVID-19, that they do enjoy the freedom of going out when they want to.

Whether you are staying in for weeks to try and save some money, to protect health, as a ‘staycation’ without flights or because you now work from home, here are a few tips to make it more enjoyable, and avoid the depression and anxiety that sometimes arises from staying indoors.

Preparation

It all starts the night before. Prepare a tidy home to wake up to. No one wants to be home if you wake up to a stinky mess from last night’s takeaway.

Having time at home should not encourage us to get slack on cleanliness, because it does have an impact on our mood, whether we realise it or not. Spare thirty minutes before bed to tidy up before you sleep, so that your home is a pleasant place for you to start another day. Tidy spaces help with productivity and relaxation.

It is also important to sanitize frequently-used surfaces when more time is spent at home. What's more, you could consider purchasing products that actively stay cleaner and fresher in-between routines cleans, such as those offered by the Microban partner network. From food storage containers and chopping boards, to phone cases and baby bottles, Microban partners offer high-performing products that are protected against the growth of damaging bacteria for their expected lifetime. It's innovations like these that certainly help you to worry less and enjoy your time indoors more!

I try to get my children involved in keeping the house tidy as the day goes on, so we never get overwhelmed with cleaning tasks.

Quiet Time

I like to start my day with a bit of quiet time alone to pray and meditate on Bible passages. You do not have to pray in the quiet time, but I find this great for refocusing and taking care of my spiritual health.

If you are home with others, it is important for each person to try to have some quiet time alone at some point each day, so you do not get fed up of each other.

My five and three year old children play so well together, but they too will usually ask for some quiet time at some point during the day to be alone. I notice it helps them to manage their emotions and get on better with the whole family, especially when we have spent days in lockdown.

Married couples should also try to maintain reasonable bedtimes for children, so they can have quiet time together with dinner or a movie for example.

Try to intentionally replicate the me-time achieved by going out for a walk, so staying in remains more enjoyable.

As we all adapt to life in lockdown, it's now more important than ever before to keep our surfaces properly disinfected and sanitized. Discover why the best defense against viruses is still the basics.
Read the blog

Get Dressed

It is so easy to stay in your pyjamas all day and probably miss a few showers when you are home. I find that getting washed and dressed, even for a day in, helps me to feel better.

If I want a lie-in, I make sure that I shower before lunch at the latest, so that I have not spent the whole day in pyjamas. This is even more helpful if you have a few things you wish to achieve with your time at home.

You feel more alert and ready to get things done when clean and dressed. Even if you just wanted to binge-watch TV, you feel better when you look good.

Alternating activities you enjoy can also make the time fly. Check out some new recipes , gardening tips, books and games.

It is so tempting to spend a lot of time looking at screens, but you can be intentional about planning different activities in the day to avoid this.

Dr Afiniki Akanet and Family During Lockdown

Exercise

With gyms closed during the pandemic, there is no longer the excuse of not being able to get to the gym. We've all had to think about ways to get some exercise safely at home.

The closure of several stores also means that there is no longer the excuse of having no time for exercise.

There are several useful Youtube clips for home workouts. Skipping ropes, treadmills and exercise bikes can be used at home.

Doing some push ups, sit ups, star jumps or walking do not even require any equipment, but can release the feel-good hormones to make staying home less tiresome.

I have really enjoyed dancing and zumba during the lockdown, and managed to keep my weight stable that way.

It is so easy to eat all day and spend too much money online, but we have to maintain some disciplines so that our physical health and finances do not suffer because of boredom.

At least thirty minutes of exercise to raise your heart rate daily can make a difference.

Regular Meals

Even if you plan to have lie-ins while at home, it is important to try to stick to a routine with your meals, as much as possible.

If you live alone or have no one to bring you breakfast in bed, you could keep a banana and a bottle of juice by your bedside for some sort of light breakfast when you wake up before noon.

Try to have an intentional healthy lunch, and dinner that is not too late at night. Eating very late can lead to sleeping and digestive problems.

Regular meals are even more important for children, because it is easy to let them get into an unhealthy grazing habit that leads to obesity and vitamin deficiencies long term.

If you are also having to homeschool children, planned meal times can be a good way to break up the activities for the day and keep their sugar levels steady for their brains.

We can all get unreasonable when hungry, so having regular meals can ensure that emotions don’t go wild while all at home.

Whatever your reason for staying at home, try to stay positive and grateful.

  • Having laundry to do means that you have clothes.
  • Having toys to tidy away means you have healthy, playful children.
  • Having food to cook means you are not starving.
  • Having arguments means you care enough to talk about the issues.
  • Working from home means you still have a source of income.
  • Homeschooling means your children have a parent that cares.

A change in plans is just an opportunity to practice resilience and hope for better. Missing people means that you actually have friends and family, and that should never be taken for granted.

Look out for others and stay connected, however possible - social media, phones, letters, emails etc.

When we focus on the things that really matter, we can be happy everyday - especially at home.