What does your daily routine look like?
I’ve just taken a full two days off-line. As in – I didn’t check email (at all), I didn’t scroll through any of my social media feeds, and I didn’t open any of my messages. Nada. Zilch. Zip.
Instead, I spent two full days decompressing from all the being ‘on’ that I’ve been engaging in since our new normal began. I don’t know about you, but this physical distancing has had me spending an AWFUL lot of time on Zoom and FaceTime and all the other ways to connect without actually being in the same room as those with whom I am connecting – professionally and personally. My brain had had enough.
It was a good decision. It freed up space to walk and read and think and reflect and spend time with David and cook and sleep.
And, it had me critically analysing my routine. My daily routine.
What does your daily routine look like in the time of COVID-19?
We are all living in these crazy and uncertain times. There is much that is outside of our control and we are unable to perform many of the everyday tasks that seemed so normal not so long ago. No more going out to a restaurant. No more going to the beach. No more visiting family or friends. No more gym or yoga classes.
Of course, there’s also the risk of getting sick, too. Being vigilant about personal hygiene, social distancing and only going out when absolutely necessary.
And it looks like this is not going away anytime soon.
All of this takes a big toll. I am increasingly aware of the need to guard my mental health. The psychological toll of long-term physical distancing is real.
We can’t control what’s going on around us, but we can control our responses. And we have choices about how we spend our time.
The unique thing about this Coronavirus that we face is that it is a global issue. We are all in this together. We must each must do our part to flatten the curve and to maintain a sense of calm in the face of adversity. We can best do this within our own circles of influence – at home and within our immediate community.
Creating a daily routine is a good way to make a positive step towards all of this while also guarding our mental health.
Why should you have a daily routine?
Creating a daily routine can help you to feel more in control of life, especially in this time of uncertainty. A regular list of tasks helps to remind you to make room for what is most important to you. It is a positive step forward in guarding your mental health, too.
A daily routine works to keep your stress levels under control, enables you to make choices that serve you, and allows you to cope with this fast-changing landscape we are all dealing with with a little more grace and ease.
Interestingly, there is evidence to suggest that a daily routine works to help stabilise your circadian rhythms, too (and we all know how important sleep is at the best of times).
WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE?
In a nutshell – all the important things.
Start with the basics. Things like diet and sleep and exercise. Then move onto resting and relaxing.
What is most important to me?
- Aim to rise at the same time every day. Consider establishing a morning ritual. At the very least – start your day with my speedy 3-mimnute ritual.
- Be sure to include some time outdoors every day, especially in the early morning; your body clock is regulated by the light – dark cycle
- Just as you batch your cooking, consider batching your time. Aim to respond to emails at the same time every day.
- Exercise every day, preferably at the same time each day
- Eat your meals at the same time every day, too.
- Connecting with your peeps is even more important during these times of social distancing. Have you got a list of people to ‘check in with’? Consider a buddy to share your ‘stuff’ with.
And finally – consider printing your daily routine out and popping it on your fridge.
What’s in my daily routine?
Unsurprisingly, my morning ritual is one of the most important features in my daily routine. I’m in the process of tweaking this to better serve me during this time of change. (<– I’ll keep you posted!)
As someone who has worked from home for some time, I am well versed in the importance of a daily routine. Things like daily movement and stress management are already well bedded down. As with my morning ritual, I am also auditing my daily routine to ensure I am taking good care of me and mine during this crazy time.
Specifically, I am taking time for:
- Grounding – as part of my daily walk, I include some time with my shoes off and my bare feet in the grass
- Guided meditation – a dedicated period every day with a guided meditation using Insight Timer. I particularly enjoy the courses offered through the app and am currently working my way through a 10-day course facilitated by Sharon Salzberg called, ‘Traveling the Path to Happiness’.
- Daily movement – My exercise regime is currently under review because this physical distancing has curtailed my gym sessions. As a result, as well as my twice-daily dawdles with Bella the pooch, I am also
- going for a decent solo walk
- completing a stretching routine
- spending time of my rebounder
- Limiting my news – I find it easy to get sucked into a spiral of constantly checking news feeds. This doesn’t serve me (or my monkey mind) so I limit myself to 15 minutes of the paper in the morning and the 6 o-clock news of an evening.
- Connecting – this one requires a bit of a balancing act because I need to connect for both professional and personal reasons. I have a list of people I’m connecting with regularly.
- Turning off – Sunday is rest day. No checking the internet or social media feeds. Rather, a slow day of engaging with David and Bella.
- Evening routine – I have a non-negotiable evening routine. I’m quite a nanna about this and protect my sleep time.
- Box breathing – my favourite breathing technique. I use this when I feel my cortisol levels rise, when I feel myself getting sucked into an unhelpful thought spiral, and when I wake up in the middle of the night and am having trouble falling back to sleep. I love it.
- Being kind – I am guilty of sometimes being a smidge ‘judgy’. I find it helpful to remind myself that we are all dealing with the stress brought on by this health crisis in our own way. And this can look different for each of us. Being kind is my way of remembering to give others the benefit of the doubt.