January 16, 2021
If today feels like just one more day in the endless year of 2020 – even though it’s technically 2021 – you are not alone. The events of 2020 are spilling over into 2021, leaving many of us feeling a combination of emotions. Whether it’s a sense feeling ungrounded due to the mindless repetition like we saw in the movie “Groundhog Day”, or an unsettled feeling or anxiety as if we are bit players in a Stephen King novel, you’re not alone. So many people feel adrift and unsure of what comes next in this ever-changing landscape due to the pandemic. The good news is there are strategies and coping mechanisms available to all of us that can help us overcome this sense of ennui.
The Benefits of Creating a Daily Routine
Under normal circumstances, most of us have some sort of routine..We rise at an appointed time because we need to be at work, or an appointment. Maybe we will meet friends for our power walk or begin our breakfast routine. But with the limitations recommended for gathering, working and socializing due to coved-19 protocols, many of our “hardwired” routines have fallen by the wayside. Creating a new set of routines has become critical to create a sense of “purpose” for every day. In fact, studies have shown that daily routines can have far reaching mental health benefits from alleviating bi-polar disorder and preventing substance abuse to managing other mental health disorders.
Habits are Important
It takes 3 weeks to form a new habit. And forming a new routine is just a more positive way of saying, “I want to create new habits that will improve my life!”. Starting with small things, you can make large constructive changes in your health and your life over time.
Routines Help Alleviate Anxiety
Almost all of us have experienced anxiety at some time or another. It’s an unpleasant feeling of being unsettled or an uncomfortable sense of apprehension. Learning how to cope with anxiety is essential.
Creating Mental Routines Can Help Reduce Anxiety
With so much information coming at us all the time, and the reduced ability to see your friends and family and just talk through things, it’s no wonder people are anxious. When we talk with friends and family, they can help place our thoughts and fears in context, helping us to get a better understanding of what importance these ups and downs have in a larger picture.
You can do this for yourself, through self-reflection and forming healthy mental routines. For some people, writing in a journal can help you articulate what’s bothering you and make it more concrete, and easier to deal with.
Mental routines help by creating predictable scenarios allowing you mind to adjust, understand what to expect and alleviate anxiety over the unknown. This can be using deep breathing when you feel anxiety come on, or even use an external source, like the Calm app, to help reset yourself.
Routines Promote Healthy Habits and Combat Burnout
Scheduling times for exercise, preparing snacks or meals, social phone calls, work and self care routines promote healthy habits and create expectations and purpose for your day. According to a survey on behavioral health, one third of adults in the United States experience extreme stress.
No matter how busy you are, there is always time to schedule time to help prevent stress related burnout.
- Stick to a morning routine
- Take periodic breaks during the day
- Schedule time to socialize even if it is on the phone or Zoom
- Create a “weekend” for yourself. Schedule activities that you enjoy and save them for the weekend.
Creating a Routine Doesn’t Happen All at Once
An all or nothing approach to creating a “routine” sounds a lot like a job or something that you are forcing yourself to do. So maybe a more select or laid back approach is the right way to incorporate change into your day. Begin small, starting with a couple of these routine building activities:
- Set a regular time to wake up every day. And commit to not hitting the snooze button!
- Consider starting a journal and schedule a time to sit down with it every day. Don’t worry about what you will write. It will come. Unless you intend on publishing it, no one is going to read it but you. Pour out your thoughts, feelings, frustrations etc. No holds barred!
- Don’t forget to bathe!
- Consider an exercise routine in the morning to get your blood flowing and energize your day.
- Commit to healthy eating! While a pint of ice cream should be a single serving, I’m pretty sure that it is not. Keep a supply of good snacking food handy.
A Final Thought
The good folks at Chandler Hall have created a Health and Wellness on-line Seminar series addressing some of the very topics covered in this Blog.
- January 21, 2021 – The Health Benefits of Daily Routine
- February 4, 2021 – The Anchors of a Supportive Daily Routine
- February 18, 2021 – Designing Your Best Day
This series is part of Chandler Hall’s commitment to helping their immediate and extended community live their best life – especially in these trying times.
Just click this button to Register today!