Sue Smith - Time to get in a routine to beat the boredom

Being in isolation because of the coronavirus outbreak is difficult for everybody.

As a self-employed football pundit, I have found my normal routines have completely changed, and with no professional football planned in England until April 30 at the earliest, I have no work or research to do.

Before the pandemic, most of my free time would have been spent going to matches, playing five-a-side football, training or researching for my next television appearance. Any other bits of spare time were spent seeing friends and family.

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Most of those have gone now, although I can still train, which is why I spent last week turning my garage into a gym.

Fitness guru Joe Wicks: Helping children work out.Fitness guru Joe Wicks: Helping children work out.
Fitness guru Joe Wicks: Helping children work out.

I am someone who needs routines, so I have been making new ones for myself.

If I could give you any advice it would be that if you do not already have one, get yourself a routine.

I am a bit of a geek, so I have made a list of all the things I want to do during this period – however long it turns out to be. I like to challenge myself so I feel like I have achieved something. I cannot just be stuck watching television all day, I am someone who always needs to be on the go.

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The gym is something I have probably been meaning to do for about four years. I painted the walls, blocked the pipes, shifted things out and put a jigsaw floor in. I bought an air bike, punch bag and a squat rack and bench and I already had things like hurdles and cones from my playing days.

Filling the football voidFilling the football void
Filling the football void

If it reaches the stage where we are not allowed out at all, I will still have something to do because I just have to exercise. I know a lot of footballers just stop when their playing days are over, but keeping fit is something that makes me feel good, so I have kept doing it.

Now, instead of getting up and thinking, ‘What am I going to do today?’ I know. My new daily routine starts with my training.

P90X is a home exercise regime I first did eight years ago but even if the equipment has changed a bit and the fashion too – there are quite a few pairs of flared tracksuit bottoms on there! – the exercises are still as valid now. It is a 90-day programme with weights, yoga and other different activities and it has become a big part of my life.

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All the professional footballers will be similar. They have been given individual training programmes by their clubs, and with mobile phone apps, heart rate monitors and the like it is so easy to monitor them from afar nowadays, none of them will be allowed to slack off!

On another level, a lot of my friends have their kids working out to Joe Wicks every morning. Without something like that, there is the danger they could just lounge around in bed all morning, and that is no good for them.

With the weather as nice as it is, it has been onto outdoor jobs next – painting the fence, doing the garden and washing the car.

When it starts to rain I have plenty of jobs to get on with inside the house. I have a list a mile long and I try to tick something off every day.

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I realise not everyone is quite as interested in exercise, or quite as able to do all those things.

For you, it is about finding something else you can take satisfaction from achieving. For my mum, it is painting.

We are probably all concerned about our health, both physical and mental because a lot of people will be feeling very isolated and they need something to fight the boredom.

As well as worrying about ourselves or about money, many of us are worried for friends and family too. I try to make meals for my aunty and uncle.

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I normally just buy bits and bobs from the shops but I went down to do a weekly shop and now I am planning my meals so I do not have to go buying anything else until next week.

Those are the sort of disciplines I think most of us are trying to get into, so it has been frustrating to turn on the television and see people treating this like an extended bank holiday. Too many people clearly have not listened to the messages.

Last Sunday me and my mates were due to play five-aside and our local leisure centre was still open but between us we decided it was the right thing to do not to play.

I am very lucky I live in a village where everyone looks after each other. I went out for a run the other day and when I nipped out again to drop something off at my mum’s, my neighbour said: “That’s the second time you’ve been out today!”

He was only joking but it made me think, “You’re right!”

We all have to make sacrifices.

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Like many of you, I was out on my doorstep on Thursday clapping the NHS workers for all the brilliant things they do for us not only during this pandemic, but every day of their working lives.

I hope those who were busy at work at 8pm that night will have been able to go home afterwards, watch the videos and see how much we all appreciate them.

But we also need to follow the Government guidelines, and not just when it suits us.

I know most people are doing that already, and I hope the message is getting through to those that are not.

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It is the only way we can slow the spread of the virus and ease the pressure on the National Health Service.

By now we all understand how tough it is, but having a routine can help.

The more people behave as they should do, the quicker we can get back to normality – and watching and playing football again.

I have posted a video on The Yorkshire Post website of some of the things I am doing to keep myself occupied, so why not tweet me at @suesmith8 to tell me – or show me – what your household is doing?

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