Nationwide precautions encouraging citizens to social distance or stay home with the exception to essential business has forced a shift on our daily routines. Many have had no option but to transform their one bedroom apartments into makeshift work stations. Parents are challenged with maintaining work schedules and meetings while simultaneously homeschooling their children. The sense of feeling “trapped” and loss of the usual day-to-day interactions are negatively impacting people’s wellbeing.
Although it seems that much is out of our control, many things are still within it, and there are a number of small steps we can take to maintain some sense of control, while keeping calm and positive during a time of constant change and uncertainty. Try adding the following five things to your daily routine to make your day a little more structured (and a little less monotonous):
7 AM: Practice Gratitude
Right after you wake up, as you brew your morning coffee, take two minutes to write down three things that you are grateful for. Such a simple daily act can have powerful and lasting effect: Practicing gratitude has been shown to enhance positive emotions, improve psychosocial wellbeing, and increase happiness.
9 AM: Smile
Start off your workday on a positive note by adding a little something to your home workstation that brings a smile to your face. Put up a picture of your family or loved one, diffuse your favorite oil blend, light a cozy candle, or treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers on your next grocery store run to add some freshness to your work space.
12 PM: Move
Get your midday move on! Take at least 10-20 minutes to get your blood flowing, which will not only help boost your mood, but will also refresh your mind. You can do squats and jumping jacks, a light stretch or yoga session, or better yet, if you have the ability, get outside and take a walk or jog around the block for your daily dose of nature and sunshine.
6 PM: Connect
One of the greatest hidden benefits to our wellbeing is the small, but frequent social interaction we have with coworkers or strangers throughout the day. Over time, having those interactions removed or significantly lessened due to being confined to home all day will likely have a noticeable impact on our social wellbeing. To combat this and maintain a sense of social connectedness, take time daily to connect with friends at the end of the day. A phone or video call is easy, and if you’re looking for something new and different, try a fun game that you can play virtually with others, like Scattergories — it’s a simple as picking a list, choosing a letter, and setting a timer.
9 PM: Relax
Without the usual commutes and activities, you may be starting to feel that every day is groundhog day, or even that they are all meshing together into one seemingly never-ending period. Finding a way to wind down and mark the end of each day is so important during this time. Create a consistent bedtime routine, such as taking a hot shower, followed by meditating or reading, to symbolize the day’s end while preparing your mind and body for a restful night of sleep.
With all that is going on in the world and with so many factors beyond our control, now is the time we can and must look at those factors that are in our control. By taking microsteps each day, we can all create impactful routines that will help to elevate our lives during this time when we need it most.