By now, we are all well aware of the challenges that social isolation and self-quarantine present. What may have at first felt like an extended vacation, may now be creating loneliness, lack of purpose, and overindulgence in things that make us feel (momentarily) better…. things like sleeping in, Netflix, pajamas all day, and tortilla chips. If any of this sounds familiar and you are looking for ways to keep your body, mind, and spirit in good shape during the COVID-19 quarantine, sticking to a daily schedule is a great way to stay focused and upbeat.
For many of us, the biggest challenge of this quarantine will be maintaining our mental health. Having nowhere to go, no one to see, and not enough to do can easily lead to irregular sleep schedules, overindulgence in unhealthy foods, and less exercise than before. All of which is why creating a schedule and sticking to a routine is more important than ever. To encourage you to stay healthy during this time, here are a few things to incorporate into your daily routine with the intention to create purpose, encourage healthy habits, and boost mood and mental health.
Wake up on time and stick to a morning routine. If you don’t already have a morning routine, now is a great time to begin one. Consider incorporating meditation, prayer, or a gratitude practice, and be sure to make your bed, shower, and get dressed as you normally would so that you feel ready to take on the day.
Plan out your week and create a daily schedule. Now more than ever, it is important to stay connected to what your life was like six weeks ago. If you are currently telecommuting, work during the hours you would normally be in the office. This will help to ensure you are productive during the day and are able to “clock off” on evenings and weekends. If you aren’t working or have less work than before, create a daily schedule incorporating activities you want and need to do – set a time for work, exercise, reading, connecting with friends and family, having downtime, etc. If you have children, a routine is extra important as children need structure and consistency in order to feel safe.
Schedule a workout every day. When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins, which boost our mood and make us feel good. During “normal” times, exercise is often prescribed for mild depression so you can imagine the importance of exercise during quarantine. By incorporating movement into your daily routine, you will ensure it happens every day. If you can, exercise outside in the fresh air, as sunlight and nature are both beneficial for mood and mental health. If you are quarantined inside, now is the time to use the internet and try those fun workout videos you’ve always wanted to do.
Maintain meal times. Whether you are quarantined alone, with a partner, or with friends and family, regular mealtimes are a great way to build your daily routine. By creating stability around food, you are more likely to eat well and not overindulge or exist solely on snacks and desserts.
Go to bed on time. It has been said that success in the morning begins the night before. Maintaining a consistent bedtime will ensure that you wake up on time, feel rested in the morning, and are able to face each new day feeling energized. Good sleep is essential for mental and physical health and most adults need at least eight hours of sleep per night in order to function at their best.
Remember to schedule fun and downtime. Whether this looks like an evening walk, connecting with friends via Zoom or Facetime, playing board games, an hour per night of binge-worthy television, or an entire Sunday cuddled up with magazines, it’s important to schedule in some fun so that you have something to look forward to when the workday is over.
Learn something new. One possible benefit of having structure during this time is that you may suddenly see how much time, and how much extra time, there is in a day. Now is a superb time to spend those extra thirty minutes a day (or one hour or even two) on something you’ve always wanted to learn. Maybe you learn a new language or musical instrument, begin writing that book, plant a garden, or become a baker.
For most of us, having a daily structure right now is what will keep us sane. However, everyone is different. If you find that a consistent routine feels like a punishment or a nightmare, don’t do it. Instead, try incorporating a few healthy habits – such as reading, exercise, and a bedtime – into your day in small doses. And don’t worry if you don’t stick to your schedule every single day; instead, give yourself some grace, do your best and keep showing up. This too shall pass.
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to anxiety therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. We will discuss the importance of self-care and emotional support to help you cope with isolation and to discover ways to find healthy ways of dealing with stress.
Eating Disorder therapy can be beneficial, with the right therapist. Our compassionate therapists are trained to walk you through the process and help you find healing and peace. Please contact our therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you and your loved ones heal, grow, and love healthy.