The coronavirus outbreak is a global issue that is causing a lot of concerns for humans everywhere in the world. It is disrupting our lives, our economy, our finances, our social and family circles, as well as our physical and mental health. Our daily habits have changed, our life looks different, and everything happened so quickly, which is anxiety provoking. You might be working from home at this point, or waiting to go back to your job if you don’t have the opportunity to work remotely. Either way, not having a specific goal set for your day could make you feel lost, or non-productive, which can be overwhelming and stressful. This is why I believe that developing a daily routine can help you in many ways:
- It can help you feel more in control over your life. As discussed earlier, things are being disrupted and everything is rapidly changing. As a consequence, it would not be surprising to feel out of control, or even “stuck” in this current atmosphere. Creating a set routine for yourself will first allow you to schedule and organize your day the way it feels the most comfortable to you. Also, by prioritizing your tasks and designing individual goals for yourself, you will gain some control over this temporary situation. This can be done by creating a “to do list” or an hourly schedule.
- It can be satisfying and bring some positivity into your life. When we don’t have any obligations during the day, it is easy to procrastinate over things and not feel the need to get anything done. We might find ourselves eating multiple times per day, not wanting to exercise, feeling bored, or simply experiencing a lack of motivation. All these bad habits can make us feel worse, and create more confusion. By setting small daily goals for yourself you will be able to check things off your to do list, feel more productive and proud of yourself. This will generate a sense of gratification and satisfaction, and will help you keep going.
- It creates a sense of security and a sense of safety. We often advise parents to create a routine for children as it helps them anticipate what is expected from them during the day. Creating habits is comforting as it supports children in feeling emotionally safe and comfortable in their household. It is very similar with adults. As a matter of fact, people are more effective and productive in their work environment when they have a clear idea of what is expected from them. You can do the same for yourself! Creating a daily routine will structure your day, which is reassuring and less chaotic.
- It can help reduce feelings of anxiety. When you do not have any schedule or a set plan for your day, you give space for overwhelming and intrusive thoughts. As a consequence, we find ourselves ruminating over negative and stressful beliefs. Having a daily routine will keep you busy and distract your mind. It will shape your day, and create a sense of normalcy, which can be beneficial in reducing your level of stress. Having a bedtime ritual for instance will support you in regulating your emotions and help you get a better sleep. By sleeping more effectively you will be able to see things more clearly, and analyze the situation with more emotional distance.
While you are creating a routine for yourself, allow some time just for you. Set a space for a daily activity that will make you happy or challenge you in some ways. It is a good opportunity to learn new skills and enhance your knowledge. As we are going through some stressful times, it gives you a chance to practice mindfulness, or any grounding exercises you feel comfortable doing in order to help you release the anxiety that might build up through the news. If you find it hard to stay still in a quiet room or focus on your breath, self-journaling is also a great technique to process and address your emotions.