5 Things I’m Grateful For This March (2021)

For some reason, the last month has seemed to stretch out for eternity. It feels like more than a month ago I was here writing about my February gratitude! I’m convinced it’s a lockdown thing, but I’m super excited as things are starting to open up now in the UK.

So, let’s get started on the positivity!


Summer-Like Days

Or should I say day?

Just in time for the end of the month, yesterday was one of the warmest days we’ve had in March in the UK for 53 years – crazy! So I knew I had to make the most of it. This meant spending almost the entire day outdoors – working on the patio, playing table tennis, yoga on the grass, the lot! It felt really good to switch up my routine and get lots of fresh air, especially after the year we’ve all had. Here’s hoping to more days like this in April (once the weather forecast stops predicting snow…)

Freedom On The Horizon

As dramatic as it sounds (but I’m sure we’re all thinking it), we can now actually see people in the flesh! Of course, there are still many covid restrictions still in place, but I’m really looking forward to meeting up with friends and family outdoors. I think in lockdown my way of coping was to just shut out the possibility of these things happening so that it would be easier to cope, but now things are opening up I’ve realised just how much I missed simply going out to see people. I hope you all enjoy the freedom of the Easter weekend too!

New Work Space

This month I’ve moved to a different area of the house for work and, although I’ve only spent a few days here so far, I much prefer it! I’ve moved things around a little so that the desk faces the window, with lots of natural light, which I think has really improved my mood. It’s nice to also have a proper desk that I can organise with notebooks, pens etc. rather than a curved dining room table, where there was limited space. Sometimes it’s nice to simply have a different perspective, especially when working from home for long periods of time. Has anyone else changed their work space too?

Endless Tea

If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a bit obsessed with herbal tea. During lockdown especially, it’s a constant cycle between working and getting tea and working and getting food. I’m making my way through my herbal tea collection, and even tried a new Twinings tea called Heart Tea this month, with blackcurrants, rosemary, honey and hibiscus. I’m grateful to have stumbled across all these wonderful teas to keep me feeling warm and comfy. If you’re also a tea-lover, let me know your favourite one in the comments below!

Sleep

For some reason, I’ve struggled a bit with sleep this month. A few nights of not falling asleep well and the brain automatically associates the bed with staying awake, which is never helpful! However, I think it’s reinforced how important sleep really is for me (and for anyone!). Even after one night’s good sleep, I feel calmer, less anxious, happier, and of course have more energy. Often I think one thing is the cause of something (e.g. anxiety causing me to not sleep well), when actually the opposite is the case (the not sleeping well is causing more anxiety). The mind and body is so complicated, but so so interesting! Long story short: I’m truly grateful for sleep.

What are you grateful for this March?

Let me know in the comments below!


How to Increase Productivity When Working/Studying From Home

As you all know, a lot of us are now working from home, whether that’s a job, university studying or schooling. It’s difficult adapting to these new circumstances and sometimes it’s hard to get into a routine.

I’ve decided to share some tips that will (hopefully) help those of you in lockdown to be more productive when working from home, but I hope it will be helpful not just in the present moment, but for anyone in the future too, such as for students and freelancers.

 

Set yourself daily goals

This is something that I actually incorporated into my daily routine at the start of this year. Whilst I have a calendar hanging on my wall with my events etc. for the day, I use a diary too – but instead of using it only for events, I write down everything I plan to do that day.

For example, a few days ago I wrote:

  • Do a few hours of work in the morning
  • Complete more of google garage course
  • Tea & a book in the sun
  • Yoga 6pm
  • Watch an episode of TV I love

I write down this list as soon as I wake up. It sets me up with my intentions for the day and helps me stay on track, rather than waste time lying in bed or deciding what I should do next.

It is also nice to write positive messages to yourself if one of your goals for the day is something that is worrying you.

For example, a month ago I wrote:

  • children’s literature seminar – I have my group presentation – I’m going to be calm, speak slowly, take a breath, and it will be great.

It helps a lot with confidence and placing trust in yourself!

Setting goals is also a great way of reminding yourself not to forget self-care!

For example, write down:

  • Take a 15 minute break to meditate
  • Watch an episode of TV with a cup of tea, away from my phone
  • Read a chapter of my book

You’re much more likely to follow it if you write it down!

 

Allocate a work/study space

It can be helpful to allocate a certain space in your home to do work, so that your mind will associate it with productivity. This means that, as comfortable as it is, working in your bed is probably not the best idea. It will only leave your mind alert and wired when it comes to falling asleep.

A desk is often the best place to work – it encourages you to sit upright and you have a lot of space to put laptops, hot drinks, papers, pens, etc. If possible, use a different room to your bedroom.

 

Turn your phone off (or put it on airplane mode)

Assuming you don’t need your phone for your job, this is a great way to minimise distractions and focus on the task at hand.

How many times have you finished one task, decided to check your phone, and ended up wasting time on it for another fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes? Instead, you could have taken a short break to get a drink or snack and started on the next task.

As much as we like to think we can multitask (and when it comes down to it, we can), it drains your energy much faster than you think. If you want to make it through the day efficiently, ditch the phone and get your tasks done before you scroll through social media.

 

Get some fresh air

Sometimes it can feel very stuffy and warm when inside for long periods of time, so getting some fresh air can reawaken your mind. This is as simple as opening the back door into your garden to stand outside for five minutes, or even just opening a window and sticking your head out like a dog in a car.

Basking in nature is also really helpful for boosting your mental health, so if you can open a window or door onto nature, that’s even better.

 

Exercise

When you’re stuck inside, it can become so easy to spend all day sat at a desk, but this is not ideal for your posture or your health! Try to get a bit of exercise into your routine if you can.

For example:

  • Get up every half an hour to do some stretches
  • Walk around when you’re taking a call
  • Do a 15 minute workout (there’s lots of youtube videos on this!)
  • Put on some music and dance to your favourite song!

This increases your energy level and therefore productivity.

 

Look after your wellbeing

We are all social beings at heart, whether we’re extrovert or not, so spending long periods of time working at home, with no social interaction, can make you go a little crazy.

Here are a few examples of ways you can look after yourself:

  • Reach out to your family and friends and give them call
  • Give yourself a break, whether that’s sitting with a cup of tea for ten minutes, or doing a meditation exercise
  • Make sure you’re doing one thing you really love every single day, whether that’s reading, watching a film, cooking, or pursuing any hobby – this gives your day meaning
  • Distance yourself from drama, world news or social media – these can get inside your head without you even realising

Increasing your overall wellbeing will not only help you to feel happier, but it will also increase your motivation to get work done.

 

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I hope these tips are useful for anyone struggling to find the motivation to work.

Let me know if you have any tips of your own!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud