Seven tips for keeping busy in the New Year
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With the hustle and bustle of December now over, many people will undoubtedly find yourself stuck in the house again. It can be tempting to feel a bit listless – just stick the kids in front of their computers, let them get on with their schoolwork, and go about your day as normally as possible. However, this is actually the perfect time to give your life a little shake-up. Just because there is not much going on around you is no obstacle to you making some changes that will increase your productivity and raise your spirits.
Get involved in the kids’ learning.
Most parents will now find themselves having to home-school their little ones. The easiest thing to do is set them on their online learning. Obviously, it is important they have as much contact with teachers as possible, but why not get a little more hands-on with their education? Younger children especially can miss having someone to sit down with them and guide them through their learning step-by-step. If you don’t feel up to helping out with homework, there are plenty of other skills it is important to learn.
Cooking is a vital skill, and a great way of engaging with your kids, and it can be taught at almost any age. If your little ones are not quite so little anymore, you could show them how to iron clothes, or deal with bills and personal banking. Whether you are academic or not, there are plenty of ways to help your children learn, and you will be surprised how many things you are able to teach them.
Start an exercise routine.
Exercise is not just great for your physical health, but also your mental wellbeing and productivity. Get into a routine, but do not enter into anything that feels restricting. Exercise does not have to mean a 10k run every morning at four o’clock! There are many online yoga classes you can find, as well as bodyweight training and other gentle home workouts. Even going for a 20-minute walk before lunch can work wonders.
It’s usually a good idea to switch up what you do to keep it interesting. For example, if you do an online class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, try going for a light jog on Wednesday, so you don’t get bored of any one thing.
Set up a time and place to get work done
Without any boundaries to keep to, it can be easy to get side-tracked from doing work. A timetable is great for anchoring you to a productive schedule, and it’s even better if you can set yourself up to do your work in the same place every day. For some lucky people, this means secluding yourself in a study room, but for others, maybe you need to co-opt the dining room table for a few hours every day. Make sure wherever it is is quiet and removed of distractions.
If work consists of housework, putting aside a set time to get everything done can still help ensure you complete your daily tasks. If you are juggling housework with a job, consider alternating between the two. Again, change can help keep your mind fresh and focused. Completing tasks is a great way of making you feel good because it shows you are making progress every day.
Get back into reading.
When there is nothing to go and do, it can be difficult to make conversation. After all, what is there to talk about? A good book can help you solve this problem, and in a very enjoyable way. Books are also a great way of absorbing a little extra knowledge that you can bring out at your leisure somewhere down the line to impress people. If you are not into reading, that is not a problem. There are plenty of great audiobooks out there, and even starting a new TV series can give you something to talk about. Avoid binge-watching, though. In most cases, watching an episode or reading a chapter every night lets you think about the story, and you could discuss it with your partner and/or kids.
Do a bit of spring-cleaning.
It’s amazing how much stuff you don’t use, especially in the wake of Christmas. Go through the attic and eaves. If you don’t want it, the charity shops will certainly be happy to have it. Going through a spring clean opens up space and gives you a little more freedom around the house. Try a new furniture arrangement to see if you prefer it. More space means more space to fill with stuff until you do your next spring clean next year!
Find time to relax
Yes, it is important to keep busy. But it is also important to find time to relax. Bring out some board games to enjoy spending time as a family, get outside and enjoy the fresh air (just remember to wrap up warm). Take a soak in the hot tub, if you are lucky enough to have one. Just remember to clean your hot tub filters out this time of year, or it will be full of gunk.
Make sure that you take the time to wind down at the end of each day. The reason most people are not able to keep up with their eventful schedules is because they don’t have enough time to rest. Sometimes, just taking a break with a cup of tea can feel like a life-saver.
Keep up with family and friends.
When everyone is stuck at home, and nothing is happening, it can be easy to let those relationships drift. Fortunately, these days almost everyone is lucky enough to have a phone or the internet, or both. Face time or a video call through WhatsApp or Facebook can help you catch up with all the people you love, and it is even possible to hold board game or bingo nights over video chat. If you are dealing with grandparents, put them on speakerphone, and everyone can sit around and chat, almost as if you were in the same room.