Sunday Routine: Lockdown edition

Have you heard of the New York Times’ column, “Sunday Routine?” If not, it’s a regular column wherein celebrities and local personalities detail their end-of-weekend schedules—and it’s wildly addictive. The column features the likes of both the small and big names; “How Tim Gunn of ‘Project Runway’ Spends His Sundays,” “How a Triage Nurse Spends Her Sundays,” “How Ronny Chieng, Comedian and Actor, Spends His Sundays,” and “How a Teacher Who Moonlights Delivering Beer Spends His Sundays.” You get the idea.

For the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking about mimicking the style of this column to share what life has looked like for Zé and I during lockdown, where parks, pools, restaurants, and bars are shut down. I entered a deep abyss of “Sunday Routine” reading to refresh my memory on the style and tone, and as luck would have it, I stumbled across this PDF: a structural breakdown of the column, written in the form of a writing assignment (for what reason, I’m not sure). I followed this guideline to write the below. I hope it serves at least mildly interesting for you, as my travel posts have been put on ice temporarily. Give the PDF a read, and let me know how you think I did!

Get up, wake up. I am a morning person through and through. Those who know me know I tend to conk out around 10:30PM or earlier. I get up around 7 or 7:30AM during the week, so on Sundays I sleep in until 8:30 or 9AM. I love being awake before the rest of the world, when the city is still quiet and the roads are clear. Zé is a night owl, so he usually wakes up around 9:30 or 10AM, so morning is when I have my ‘me time.’


Morning moves. I like to get my blood flowing in the morning; it helps me stay energized and focused throughout the day. Sometimes I’ll do a full workout, a rotating mix of Orange Theory, Down Dog, or Backbody Project. Sometimes I’ll go for a light walk around the neighborhood and listen to the morning news, or do some restorative yoga and work out with Zé in the evening. Either way, movement in the morning is my essential ritual.


Turn it up, turn it on. I put on music the second I’m done with my exercise. I like a mix of funk, soul, and jazz: something that’s lively but not overpowering. I like to make my coffee next: we recently got an espresso machine, and I’m a complete convert to an espresso macchiato. It’s lighter on my stomach and gives me an extra kick to get my day going.

The rise of the Zé. Zé usually wakes up around the time I drink my coffee, always bleary-eyed and happy. Our first conversation is always asking how the other slept, the next is what’s on the menu for breakfast. He is the cook in our home; I do the dishes and clean-up. We both have savory palettes, so he makes eggs on toast for us, sometimes with avocado and sometimes with a side of roasted veggies, and always with an espresso for each of us. We take our plates to our balcony and eat in the fresh air. Sometimes we’ll stay at the table for upwards of an hour, long after we’re done eating and sipping.


The meat of the day. I like to be outside just as much as I like tiring myself out. Our condominium pool is closed because of the coronavirus, so our options are limited, but we still manage to get outside if the weather is nice. We’ll go for a long walk, bicycle ride or a hike. Once we come home, we’ll collapse on the couch in the air conditioning (Singapore is never cooler than 85F/29C, with an average humidity of 80%). If it’s a rainy day, we’ll stay inside. I’ll scroll through social media and read the NYT and books. Quarantine has been good for my reading habits: I’ve finished off six books I’ve been in the last two months. Zé listens to podcasts and watches the news. We’re both informative junkies and love soaking in knowledge about the topics that interest us.



Exercise and easy dinner. If I haven’t gotten a workout in during the morning, we’ll do a workout together. We rotate between Orange Theory classes on YouTube, and Down Dogg yoga sessions. Besides the exercise, which we try to make a daily habit, Sundays are a rest day for us, so we don’t like to cook dinner and we’ll order something in instead. We have a variety of restaurants in our neighborhood, from Greek to Thai to Japanese.

Quiet time. In our home, Sunday evenings are for quiet time: I keep the calendar clear from 6PM onward (which is admittedly pretty simple in lockdown). We usually have the TV on, music at a low hum. Around 9PM, I call my parents, and Zé calls his. Sometimes we’ll join in on each other’s calls to home. I speak with parents almost daily via WhatsApp during the week, but Sundays are our time to catchup in detail on the week’s events.


TV and turn down. After calling home, we’ll throw something on the TV to take us to bedtime. Usually it’s a non-fiction program. We’re both nerds like that. We recently finished the ESPN miniseries ‘The Last Dance” and the documentaries “Sergio” and “The Final Year.” Sometimes we’ll watch “Modern Family” if we’re in the mood for something light, but that’s rare.

Mindful minutes. If it’s been an active day, we’ll go to sleep at the same time. Otherwise, I’m the first to bed (see above on conking out early). I like to be in bed by 10:30PM, asleep by 11PM. Before I go to sleep, I do 10-15 minutes of Headspace each night. It forces me to reflect on my day, and lulls me into a deep sleep. Sometimes I wake up in the morning with my headphones still in my ears!

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