Lockdown reinforces to us all the need for physical activity – and the sheer urge to stretch one’s legs and get outdoors has us all really focused on the time we are allowed to spend outside and how we use it. Think about all the memes we saw last year about our exhausted pets going for longer and longer walks!
But we also need to give our minds the same consideration. Days spent on end in the same environment leads to low levels of stimulation and motivation (as I wrote about last week in this article). Even outside of lockdown we often strive for little changes to our day-to-day routine to keep things interesting.
The brain needs two things to thrive – variety and challenge.
Whilst routine is a great support in times of crisis and stops us from adopting destructive habits such as staying in pyjamas all day – too much routine without any variety leads to boredom. Similarly, a lack of intellectual challenge has a similar impact. Certainly the pandemic is challenging us emotionally at all times, but does it give our brains an opportunity to solve problems and be creative? Or are the problems all the same all the time – and perhaps even too big for us to solve as individuals?
As exhausted as we all are, creating opportunities for that variety and appropriate level of challenge is really important. This is why the school has initiated the Lockdown Decathlon as a challenge students, staff and families can undertake until the end of term. The Decathlon is a series of ten challenging events – some that could be done in a day, others that take longer. It encourages us to look at familiar things with new eyes, to learn and explore new skills and ideas and even to extend ourselves outside of our comfort zone.
To this point the activities have included things like:
One of the biggest challenges in the Decathlon is yet to come – and one that focuses our energies on others as well, which links into the Wellbeing Theme of Service for Senior Boys and Connection for Senior Girls. It has also been exciting to see Junior School Students embrace the challenges too.
Whether or not the challenge of the Lockdown Decathlon is for you, there might be some ideas here for you to give your brain a workout as well. Sharing our achievements, our goals and even our mistakes also makes it easier to connect with others, another important need during this time.
Some other ideas for adding variety into your lockdown routine include:
Remember boredom can also be a source of great inspiration if we let it!