Tips for creating a routine during self-isolation
Structure can be really helpful for our mental health in uncertain times. Laura, 21, shares how she's creating a new routine during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Coronavirus has caused a lot of sudden changes, and for a lot of people our lives have completely changed. Many of the activities or routines we once had are no longer doable. It’s easy to feel like our days are aimless. If you’re struggling with this, it’s okay, you are not alone.
I’ve found that by trying to get into a routine that I can follow, it will keep my mind occupied. Routine and structure can help at a time where there’s lots of uncertainty, and doing the same activities each day can help create a comfortable, familiar space if you feel anxious. But remember, it’s okay to not do everything on your to do list every day. Listen to your body, check in with yourself and be extra gentle with yourself during this time.
With that said, here’s my advice for creating a new routine.
My early morning routine consists of waking up at around 7:30am, having some breakfast, watching some television, and going over my tasks for the current day.
After I have carried out my early morning routine, I think it’s still important to get ready for the day ahead – I’m not saying you need to do a full face of makeup and put on your best outfit, but simply getting out of your pyjamas and getting dressed will automatically make you feel more productive. I like to make myself a coffee during this time and set up any work that I plan to do throughout the day.
At this point you should feel ready to start your work for the current day – everybody will have different tasks to do during this time so I recommend fully throwing yourself into whatever it is that you are doing. This will help to focus your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is something that I think that everybody could benefit from at the moment.
I also recommend breaking for a snack at some point and just having a little refresh of your mind before finishing any tasks that you’d set for the day. Personally, I prefer to work in the morning as this is when I feel the most productive, BUT I recommend identifying the time of day in which you feel the most productive and completing this section of the routine during that time.
Following the completion of my tasks for the day, I then like to spend some time planning the next day - I think that it is so important to be organised and to be constantly setting achievable goals as this will help to keep your mindset positive and focused.
After I have planned the next day, I then like to do something to keep active. This could be a home workout (there are loads online) or simply going for a walk (following the guidelines of course) – it is super important to keep your body moving if you feel able to, as you will not only feel the physical benefits, but also the mental benefits.
To finish off the productive section for the day, I like to do some form of admin task. This could be simply replying to emails or writing down some goals that you wish to achieve over this period of time. I think that doing this provides a nice closure for the day in terms of work and you will begin to relax for the evening.
This is now the time to start to relax and to calm your mind and thoughts – I recommend putting your phone away as much as you can during this time as it will help to relax you more (difficult, I know). My preferred activities include reading or pampering myself in some way, but feel free to do anything during this time that relaxes you and makes you happy.
Also, this is the time that I like to contact friends via text or Facetime as it’s SO IMPORTANT to keep talking – it is easy to forget that your friends and family are still available to contact, but please try and do this as much as possible as you never know when somebody needs cheering up.
The evening time is where I like to have some food and watch a movie – it’s important to think of activities that make us happy that we can do indoors, so try and think of your preferred evening activity and do it.
Just before going to sleep, I like to put my phone away again and think of things that I am grateful for – although this might sound cheesy, it is so beneficial to do this, especially during a time where the world seems so unfair.
I hope that this routine has been somewhat helpful and can hopefully inspire you to KEEP GOING and STAY STRONG. The important thing is if you make a routine but don’t always feel like you can stick to it, or some days you just feel like resting, that’s fine. Listen to your body. But if you can, it’s good to try and keep going with things as much as possible. This strange time will pass so there is EVERY POINT in still continuing! Stay safe. Stay positive. Stay strong.
Author: Laura, 21
Where to get help
If you are struggling with everything that's going on right now, have a look at our page on coronavirus and mental health for tips, advice and suggestions on where you can get help.