During this time, a lot of people have been advised to stay at home. Uprooting a daily routine can cause a lot of stress, especially if added to this is the thought of not knowing when normality will resume.
I have been a housewife for 4 years now. I had to go through the transition from work/education life to staying in and working from home. This transition wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, and so 4 years on, here is what I have learnt about staying at home. Hopefully this may be of some help to those struggling.
I appreciate that not everyone might agree with what I say. Please remember that all I am doing is sharing what I do, and encouraging people to try a few things if they want to. I am certainly not telling everyone that this is what they should do. We are all different, and will have different ways of coping with the current situation.
Keeping a morning routine. Here’s mine
- Brush my teeth, wash my face.
- Feed my cat.
- Make a coffee.
- Open the curtains.
- Get dressed – including hair and/or makeup. Even if no-one else is going to see me during the day, I have found it really lifts my spirits if I get dressed up for just me and my cat.
The next part of the day is the most difficult. What to do all day? When I first started, I wasn’t always sure what to do with my time – now I don’t have enough of it!
It’s really important that I stick to the working hours that I am used to. I base my hours on my husband’s. He works for 7 and a half hours with a 1 hour lunch break, I do the same. I really try not to be tempted to work more hours just because I’ve got the time. It’s not sustainable, and when I have done this in the past, I became burnt out and tired.
Here’s an example of my daytime routine
For the first 2 hours of my day it’s my time for preparing for what I want to do on this day. Generally that means doing some research on the internet or my bookshelf for recipes or cleaning tips. Depending on how I’m feeling, I might watch some dance clips on youtube, make some observations; try out a few new moves. I also do a lot of dressmaking and millinery, so I might research that too.
I am also the president of the North West London Women’s Institute, and a member of a local social housing panel. Therefore sometimes my mornings are taken up by correspondence emails and reading through legal papers.
But at the moment I’m taking my mind off the world by making a patchwork roman blind!
After this, it would be the perfect time to do some exercise. I’m not disciplined enough for this on most days. But if I was, I would do it now!
Then lunch. Since my husband is also working from home at the moment, I prepare lunch for both of us. Something simple, that doesn’t require hours in the kitchen. It’s either leftovers from dinner last night, or pasta with sauce and a salad. Never a sandwich. Coincidentally, to stay healthy at home, we eat tiny portions of food. I have heard somewhere that your stomach is the size of both your fists, so I aim for a portion size that looks the same, with a minimal amount of meat. If you are trying to cut down on meat consumption, lunch is the perfect time to try going veggie.
Current times detour
Since we are all staying at home now, and shopping may become difficult, I think it’s important to say that we can continue eating healthy food. Salad might be off the menu, but cucumbers can replace this. Cucumbers generally come packaged in a plastic wrap from the supermarkets, as much as we hate plastic packaging, in the case of cucumbers this actually helps to keep them fresh for weeks! Other foods that are still healthy and come in jars or cans are gherkins, roasted red peppers or sauerkraut cabbage.
What if we run out of pasta? Well, actually we have done in our household, and last time I went to the shops they were out. Replace the carbohydrates with protein – we have a fried egg instead. Or I make my own pasta, it really is easier that it seems. I use Gennaro Contaldo’s recipe.
Back to my day
To finish off lunch, something sweet is in order. I’ll just have a plain cup of green tea, or coffee with a sugar cube and milk. My husband needs a little bit more sugar in his diet than I do, so he might have some yoghurt with homemade jam or a few bits of fruit.
After lunch I follow through with whatever I was researching earlier up until 4:30pm, which is when my husband finishes work. This could be cleaning (which is a workout if done properly) or sewing. Sometimes when there are a lot of emails from my local groups, I will continue to deal with that. I take plenty of breaks for tea, and I listen to my favourite podcasts while I am doing all these tasks. Currently on my to do list is to re-paint my kitchen walls, they will be sunshine yellow, specifically “Grandiflora” eggshell gloss by Sanderson.
Depending on how well stocked we are for food, I prepare meals for the next day or batch cook for the freezer. My husband’s current favourite freezer meal is Russian dumplings. We call them “pelmeni”.
At 4:30pm my husband is done with his working day. We spend the evenings together; playing board games, watching tv and playing with our cat. Sometimes he even helps me in the kitchen, and we batch cook meals together! We also take the time in the evenings to do some dancing at home. Currently we are learning the Killer Boogie routine and refreshing our memory of the Nitty Gritty.
I find a really nice contrast in spending the day doing only useful things, and then really letting loose in the evenings and doing pointless things. So some evenings, husband plays his computer games, and I do useless crafty things like embroidery.
Right before going to bed, I will have a shower and read. Sometimes my insomnia kicks in, in which case I will not go to bed, and just pour some late night creativity into millinery, sewing or nail art.
So that’s my daily routine! I appreciate that in the next coming weeks nothing much will change for me, but it will do for a great many people out there. I hope the information about my day is interesting and useful to some people.
Thanks to my Mother who has been continually checking my spelling and grammar in every long piece of my writing since primary school!