Keeping a Routine When Life is Not Routine

| Ashley Davis LMFT

I dislike the term “new normal” when referring to the current healthcare crisis associated with COVID-19.  I believe it is meant to give comfort to people within a changing world; however, I think we need to accept that at least for the time being there is no “normal.”  We are all scrambling to figure out what our lives will look like during and after the course of the pandemic, and I do not think we are close to a “normal” life routine and may not be for quite some time.  I realize that this viewpoint can be somewhat disconcerting for people who thrive on structure and have difficulty in chaotic situations; however, I would argue that at this point it is important to accept that chaos as a result of COVID-19 might be our “normal” for the time being.  

In times such as these, it is important to focus on what we can control within the chaos, rather than focusing on the frustration of the chaos itself.  When things outside of our control are undefined, it can be easy to let our self care go as we wait for answers from the system around us.  It is more important than ever to create a consistent routine for self care habits as the world around us works to define itself during this pandemic.  Below I have included some points to keep your weekly routine as consistent as possible during this uncertain time.

  • Regardless of whether you are currently working or not, it is important to go to bed and to wake up at roughly the same time each day to ensure that you give your body the rest it needs.
  • Try to eat around the same time each day as well.  It is not important at this time to worry too much about cooking vs takeout or healthy vs unhealthy foods.  Eat what feels good for your body at the time, but try to do so with some consistency day to day.
  • Exercise however you can at least a few times per week.  If you are comfortable with walks outside do so.  If not, find virtual means to engage in physical activity within your home.
  • Set up time each week to check in with family and friends.  This can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation during social distancing restrictions.
  • Watch your screen time.  Many people are turning to screens currently as an easy way to manage their time since they have to stay in their homes, and this can result in more time than normal on screens.  Try a new in home activity you have never had the time for but have always wanted to try to keep boredom at bay.
  • Make time for relaxation each day in a way that feels good for you.  It is typically helpful to engage in relaxation activities in the evening as a way to unwind from the day.

Above all else be gentle and kind with yourself.  Now is not the time to worry about how productive you are at work or how clean your house is.  Take time each day to be mindful of your own self care and be easy with yourself and those around you.

Today's the day to make a change.