COVID-19 is a difficult time for everyone. One way to establish a sense of normalcy and certainty is to establish consistent weekly and daily routines. With school and work being online, the gym closed, and other everyday activities being altered, having a routine will make us feel a little more sane during these crazy times.
Experts day that keeping a routine- either your old one before COVID-19 or a new one- is an important part in maintaining mental and physical health. Some people may view quarantine as a vacation or a retreat. Others may see the stay at home orders as a way to get organized, get ahead, or acquire a new skill. It’s important to note how we want to spend our time during this unique situation. Ask yourself: “After this is over, what do I want accomplished or have experienced?” Build your routine around these goals in mind.
A routine does not mean you have to do everything at the same time according to a strict schedule. While that may help some people, it is also a good idea for others to have a check list or to-do list with tasks they would like to accomplish in the day. This includes downtime, exercise, work, and self care!
Creating a Daily Routine
In times of crisis and uncertainty, having a routine helps us feel more in control and have a sense of ownership over our time. An issue with working from home is making a home office. While it is tempting to do work or school from the comforts of our beds, it is best to establish an office outside the bedroom. If your space does not allow that, pack and unpack your stuff at the end of the day to help your brain differentiate between work and leisure hours.
Sometimes it’s hard to stay focused at home when we are not in an office environment. Experts suggest working and staying focused for 25 or 50 minutes, then taking a 5 or 10 minute break to get water, take a walk, or stretch.
Start each day by writing a to do list for all the projects and work that needs to be accomplished, then prioritize the list. This same idea applies to children too! Parents can help their children create a schedule which includes at home schoolwork. Create a space for the kids to complete their own work can help them distinguish school and free time in the day.
It is hard to establish order and stability especially during a time that restricts us to our homes. In order for our minds to function at max efficiency, keeping simple habits and activities present during COVID-19- getting dressed, making the bed, brushing our hair- are reminders to our brain that life is still going on despite the craziness we are facing.
Build a Weekly Routine
Including daily and weekly aspects in a schedule are helpful to avoid feeling like the days blend together. Establish which days of the week to workout, watch your favorite TV shows, cook dinner, and so on. Making each day different while also being consistent helps people stay productive and avoid boredom.
Some weekly habits to include throughout the week are:
- Incorporating a few minutes of yoga, meditation, or mindfulness- It is important to incorporate self-care into our weeks. Taking a few minutes to breathe and relax helps distress and relieve tension.
- Virtual happy hour and phone calls- Invite co-workers or friends to enjoy a drink and catch up on Zoom or Skype. Call family members and friends on days you would be together such as holidays and birthdays.
- Date Nights- Order in, open a bottle of wine, light a candle, play some music. Spend time with your significant other as you would before COVID-19.
It is important to keep the days of the week separate by getting a good night’s sleep every night. Set a bedtime to establish a healthy sleeping schedule. This way the days of the week are differentiated. Being on phones, laptops, and tablets all day can disrupt a sense of clear time and interrupt a healthy sleeping schedule.
During the pandemic, it is important to practice good sleep habits and get 7-8 hours a night so our bodies can rest and boost our immune system. This routine helps us relax and helps fight the virus! So put down the phone and get some rest, tomorrow is a new day!
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