Right now, most of us are seeing the way we live change, to different degrees, on a daily basis. As a growing number of regions go into some level of isolation due to the current health crisis, the importance of routine increases. Maintaining or introducing practical routines and habits can reduce anxiety, and promote health and wellness, which is essential at this time.
IMPORTANCE OF ROUTINE
Don’t mistake routine with rigid, inflexible structure. Rather, routines are important as they give us a sense of security. They can help with self-discipline and focus, and reduce our levels of stress. You might even choose to create a game or set rewards-based routines for your family, to help ease them into these lifestyle changes.
DON’T STOP ALL OF YOUR EXISTING ROUTINES
At a minimum, most of us already have a semblance of a morning routine. Wake at a semi-regular time, perhaps some early exercise, wash, dress and eat, maybe some journaling, all to help us be prepared for the day ahead. Whatever YOUR morning routine, it will be a good one to maintain, even if it needs some modifications. It will be important not to let isolation drag you into the “day pyjamas” and “night pyjamas” habit, as tempting as that may be.
It’s important that we create routines which help keep us motivated.
If you’re used to the versatility of the gym, there are plenty of online options for at-home exercise with minimal to no equipment. Some are paid, some are free, and some are currently giving an extended trial during this period, such as Centr.
IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS
When we set daily habits we usually do so to help us achieve goals.
What are your goals for yourself during this period? What are your goals for your family/household during this time?
On paper, brainstorm your goals for the following suggested areas, plus anything else which is relevant to yourself and those in your home.
- health & fitness,
- personal relationships,
- creative outlet,
- household including cleaning & chores
Once you’ve set out your goals, identify the habits which will help you to achieve them.
- How much time will you allocate to each habit?
- How often will you practice each habit?
- Is there an ideal time of day for certain habits?
- Where will you carry out each habit?
The last question might sound a bit odd, however during isolation, you might consider allocating different parts of your home for different tasks or habits, to maximise variety.
For example, if part of your evening routine will be to keep a Gratitude Journal, set up a corner of a room or a spot by a window, with a comfy chair or beanbag, and even some special items such as photos of family or beautiful parts of the world. Sitting in this “relaxation spot” to journal each night will become part of your routine.
Again, these habits don’t have to form a rigid 6am to 10pm day plan, particularly if that doesn’t work for your personality. We would, however, recommend you consider allocating habits to morning and evening routines at minimum, as a way to help ease into this period of transition that we’re all facing.
Be realistic and flexible, as required. Make the choices which work for you.
MONITOR YOUR ROUTINES
Bearing in mind the importance of routines, it’s good practice to monitor them so they don’t fall by the wayside.
There are a multitude of online apps to help you track your habits and schedules. But you could also take this time to get creative and sketch up a habit tracker or daily schedule for free.
If appropriate, you could use these as a tool to help communicate changes to your family.
Many of you will be with family, while others may be alone. Both of these situations pose their own challenges.
We’re already seeing members of the community scheduling online playdates via FaceTime between their kids and their friends, or storytime with grandparents. Of course, there’s also email, the telephone, and handwritten cards or letters, where safe and practical.
If you are isolating alone, remember that being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. We live in a connected world. And this time is a good opportunity to make a list of people you’ve not connected with recently. Reach out and let people know you are alone and that you would like to stay in touch during this time.
How can you use technology to keep in touch and check in on others? Let’s use this opportunity to focus on relationships and staying connected.
SOME TIPS FOR CHANGING TIMES
BE GENTLE ON YOURSELF
We all know change can be hard. Whether it’s moving house, starting a new job, or changing schools, we’ve always known this. Things will settle in time.
NEWS & MEDIA
Identify your trusted news sources and monitor your intake of media. It’s important that we rely on legitimate reporting right now.
If you’re struggling with the sheer amount of content, but still want to stay up to date, schedule a window for consuming media and stick to it.
We’re not just talking about the kids! If you, like so many other photographers, are planning on spending this time on education – watching videos and working on your editing skills – don’t forget to take screen breaks.
In addition to being mindful of your eye health, taking breaks (from any task) will help to improve your attention levels and quality of work.
IMPORTANCE OF ROUTINE
Many of you are already used to working at home, often alone. So you’ll understand the importance of routine to get things done in a productive manner within your business. This is still an important principle, whatever you will be doing for the coming period.
We do have the skills to cope with these changes. Identify your goals. Create your habits. Set your routines. And if you’re struggling, reach out in our online community. You are not going through this alone.
Thank you. “Be gentle on yourself”. I needed to hear this. I cant control the pandemic but I can control what I’m doing and how I’m reacting. Hope you and your family are staying safe.