Tips for keeping a routine amid a whirlwind of changes
You may be working from home or not working at all right now, but that doesn't mean you can't create a routine. Use these tips to help keep life feeling as normal as possible amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Start the day right: Get up at your regular time in the morning and follow your usual routine: take a shower, get dressed, workout (if it's part of your morning sequence) and eat breakfast—whatever you used to do before the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have little motivation to exercise, take the time it would normally require you to commute to work to walk around the neighborhood instead.
Stay social (from a distance): Social interaction is an important part of overall wellness. Thankfully, it's relatively easy to stay in touch with loved ones through phone and video calls. You also can use online platforms like Zoom and Skype to remain connected. Staying socially engaged can help alleviate feelings of loneliness.
Maintain regular mealtimes: To limit disruptions to your meal patterns, try planning and preparing meals and snacks ahead of time. This will help keep you on schedule with your eating habits. Be sure to drink water throughout the day, too, as staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health overall. Set a goal each day to drink a specific amount of water and stick to it. Keep a glass of water nearby to help you stay on track.
Keep regular work hours: If you're still working, try to maintain your regular schedule as much as possible. Minimize distractions by setting up a dedicated workspace. This area could be a spare room, kitchen island or dining room table. Set out your laptop, phone, charging cords, headphones, pen and paper, etc. Be sure to schedule breaks for lunch and shorter 10- to 15-minute pauses throughout the day to take a walk, climb stairs, meditate, breathe or just stretch. Try sticking to a calendar each day with specific times for projects, meetings, meals and catching up on emails.
Exercise: Sticking to your exercise routine is also key. Schedule your workout the day before, just as you would a meeting. There are many free classes on social media to take advantage of right now. Turn your living room, basement or spare room into your personal gym. You can do bodyweight exercises such as squats, jumping jacks, lunges, planks and push-ups at home.
Stick to an evening routine: Once your workday is over, step away and be done. Think about what you might want to do differently tomorrow and what went well today. Spend time with your family, go for a walk, make dinner together or watch a movie.
Prioritize sleep: Sleep is critical to staying healthy. Try to maintain your usual sleep schedule. Aim for at least seven hours of shuteye every night. Sleep will not only help keep your immune system strong, but it also can improve your attitude and productivity during the day.
Lastly, be kind to yourself. It may be difficult to maintain a routine and that's OK. Try to use this time to slow down and remember all that you're grateful for, practicing compassion for others and yourself.