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Maximise your hours at home

Paint mixing palette
Artist palette

There didn’t seem enough time at the beginning of 2020. Summer break flew by then we rushed back to study, back to work and back to our busy lives. 

Now it feels like there’s a lot of it.  

So what do you do with all those odd extra hours, especially as they must be spent at home? Is now the time to do all the things you said you wanted to do but didn’t have enough time for? Or to make, learn, try or master a new thing?  

Everyone’s circumstances are different and a great suggestion for one person is a truly terrible idea for another. But here are some general tips for life if you have some extra time on your hands: 

Find a rhythm 

Humans like routine. Minds and bodies work well when they know what to do every day. Your commitments may have changed so you don’t need to commute to work or study, and don’t need to get up at stupid o’clock, but you can find a regular wakeup time you’re comfortable with and stick to it. 

Eat breakfast and get out of those pyjamas, not necessarily into your finest outfit but something that indicates a difference between day and night. And in the evening, try and go to bed at a regular hour, you don’t need to watch one more episode, it will still be there tomorrow. Consistent sleep hours are good for you. 

Blocks of time 

Putting some structure into your day can help; school timetables work for a reason. Set the morning for one task, a lunch break, an afternoon activity, dinner, done. Having a project can provide focus too, such as setting a goal like ‘I want to achieve xxx by the end of the week’. If you don’t make it, it doesn’t matter, having a goal to aim for is the point. Don’t be so hard on yourself.  

Your own place 

If you can, carve out a space in your home that is all yours – a quiet room is lovely, a favourite chair is fine if you stay mindful of good posture. Maybe you can use the time to catch up or get ahead with your assignments, or dive into any extension activities you previously felt you didn’t have time for. Can you practise new skills, or experiment with a new method? Can you read or watch the further information resources you’ve been meaning to take a look at? 

Move it, move it 

If you’re at a screen, take frequent breaks. Humans weren’t built for hunching over technology, so stretch and flex and shake it out. Go outside for some fresh air, get some sun when you can and do some exercise (abiding by government restrictions of course). You may not have access to your favourite sport or activity right now, but a stroll down the road or a walk around the park can work wonders for the mind, body and soul. 

Around the house 

Maybe it is time to take on those ‘when I have the time’ tasks. Your pantry probably could do with a clean out, binning the outdated products and thinking about how to use up what you have. Social media is full of images of bread-baking attempts, there’s plenty of time for that to rise now. And slow cookers and big pots simmering on the stove come into their own as we move into autumn. Straighten your bookcase, the to-read pile needs attention, a shelf needs putting up – go for it! Even cleaning can bring unexpected benefits – you’re getting some exercise, maybe finding lost objects, bringing some sense of control into your environment, and of course your space is clean. 

Happy with hobbies 

If you’ve long had a thing you’re into, this time can be a bonus. You can do more, practise more, produce more, think about your passion more. And if you’ve not had a hobby before, now could be the time to try something new, especially using what you already have at home (or can get online where possible), such as gardening, indoor gardening, drawing, furniture restoration, a musical instrument, you name it. It’s time to give it a go. 

Above all, now is the time to be kind to yourself. Do what you need to do to get through this time as healthy and happy as possible. We’re all in this together.