Habits, Atomic Habits, books, articles, YouTube videos, and posts on habits. What have you done so far about your habits since CDC Virus Quarantine?
Many of us started building habits since childhood. Most habits are formed unconsciously: the time of day you take a shower, brushing your teeth before going to bed, cooking your eggs a certain way, always saying ‘yes’ to Cheetos. On the other hand, some habits we design in order to create a desired outcome.
For many of us, the lockdown can be/had been an equal starting point for creating good habits. We all found ourselves at home—some working, some out of work. Most of us are in a unfamiliar environment having to work at home, and having habits—particularly helpful ones—keep us sane, in control, have a sense of order and, even, NOT FAT.
March is particularly a good staring point for me because I came from half a month of hospital admission from (Jan 29 – Feb 13) and a minor debridement surgery on the 28th of February. I left one of my jobs at the end of January, AND the operations in my other job decreased significantly by the end of March due to the national lockdown measures.
In short: I found myself having more time to build habits, more time to focus on self-improvement.
Chores: By the time I got strong enough (not feel dizzy or weak), I started watering our plants during the morning & afternoon, doing the dishes for breakfast and lunch, feeding and cleaning up for the dog, and occasionally cooking breakfast. (It’s true what they say about doing chores being therapeutic. ) There are also schedules for cleaning the toilet, changing the bedsheets & towels, and doing household chores—things I was unable to do before quarantine because of work load and because we used to have house help.
Fasting: By mid March, I am already back to a 16 to 18 hr fasting period, taking breakfast and lunch, while skipping dinner. I have gained 2.5kgs thus far from my then 52.5kg median weight. If I don’t keep this fasting schedule, I’m doomed to gain even more weight. That’s just how my body works, having all my meals before 2 PM is optimal.
Exercise: I exercise a minimum of 5-6 times a week since March 30 with the exception of a whole week of rest due to an acute tendonitis on my left wrist. My workouts schedule begins at 10:30 AM which leads up to lunch. So I’m usually busy between 10:30 AM to 1 PM. I do kb swings, kb squats, kb deadlifts, and going up and down the stairs—nothing fancy, but effective.
This consistency in my exercise strengthened my lower body which was weakened from my hospital admission and more than a month-long recuperation and bed rest. Now, I feel as strong as I did before getting admitted to the hospital.
Work: Work hours (if there are things to be done) is from 8 AM to 10:30 AM and 1 PM onwards. I stop working by 5PM and turn off my notification. Sometimes I take naps. I’m showered by 6PM, in bed reading by 7PM. Lastly, no work on Sundays as much as possible.
Sleep: Reading Why We Sleep by Mathew Walker MD helped me improve my sleep hygiene. I’ve determined my optimal sleeping hours to be from 8-8:30 PM to 4-4:30 AM, which gives me 7-8hrs of sleep. I avoid my phone and tablet in bed, but have a Kindle which helps me fall asleep. It is not surprising, that I am one of the very few early birds among my friends. Sadly, I cannot join e-numans and group chats that are beyond the 8 PM sleeping time and 2 PM latest eating time.
Reading: Reading has been a huge part of my habits as well. I get to finish an average of 4 books a month—audible and digital books, mostly non-fiction. And there’s nothing like a good PhD book to help me fall asleep at night.
Habits I’m still working on:
Meditation: For the first few weeks it was good, but for a while I’ve been out of focus. For the 10 minutes I’ve sat and meditated the past weeks, my mind tends to wander and does not keep still.
Snacking: My SNACKING HABIT is making me FATTER. (Currently feeling enticed to eat palitaw carbs as I write this). Eating a heavy breakfast helps avoid snacking in between breakfast and lunch. NOT BUYING junk food also removes the temptation of snacking bad food. But I still snack, and I’m not happy with my 55kg current weight, the culprit being the UNNECESSARY SNACKING. I’m not really hungry, I just have this bad habit of eating between meals.
Digital hygiene: Making sure the tablet doesn’t end up in the bed. There are one or two times a week when my tablet ends up with me in bed and I sleep late due to addictive Korean Drama. I rarely make up for the late sleeping time and would still wake up a little after 4 AM.
Produce not consume: Making time to create. This is one of the biggest challenges I have. After leaving my writing job which had me writing almost everyday for 20 months, I’ve rarely made anything—videos, written anything to publish on my blog (this is the first one) or did anything creative. There are video edits and photoshop mock ups here and there, but not as much as I want.
Adobo: What kind of a Filipino am I? I don’t know how to cook adobo. This is not a habit, but a skill that I think all of us should have. 1. How to cook perfect rice using your finger. 2. How to cook adobo.
I hope some of the things I’ve written here will help you consider improving your own habits even if they are very different from mine.
What are the habits you’ve built or have been able to continue despite the CDC virus lockdown?
What habits are you working on or have more or less perfected?