Our days need structure. Especially during times of stress and confusion.
During this time of societal chaos and disruption maintaining a structured day is even more important. Here are things to consider that could help.
- Wake at the same time each day. Get up, get showered, get dressed. Brush your teeth and your hair. Floss your teeth. (I am a dental hygienist from my past life!)
- Spend a bit of time looking outside and getting fresh air from an open window or porch, if available. Sit outside for a few minutes if you can. Take some deep breaths and appreciate the gift of nature.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Nothing fancy, just simple and healthy. This is a great time to take stock of your eating habits. You may have the time to devote to creating and maintaining new and better eating habits. If you are in a household, consider making this a family project/goal.
- If you have children under your care, make sure they have followed the above recommendations and get them started on school or creative play activities. Support and encourage their efforts.
- If you work from home, try to designate a small work space that you can set up as your own. Organize. Focus. See work tasks as meaningful and important. What you do may indeed help many people right now. Do your work with purpose.
- Take breaks (children, too) to check in with each other, give updates on your respective projects/assignments/jobs. Help each other as needed. Cheer each other to the finish line (next break, lunch, recess, end of school/work day).
- Break for a healthy lunch that is shared and includes conversation. Get fresh air if at all possible. Get the kids outside to run around and play. Take a walk in a safe way. Do exercises on your porch or balcony. Recess is more important than ever for everyone.
- Get exercise. If you do yoga, pilates, tai chi, do that. If you love to walk, jog, or run. Do that as well. Keep up appropriate social distance practices. Learn and practice a new activity. Find different and creative ways to maintain an activity that is not meeting in the usual fashion at this time. I find Zoom dance classes quite fun, not to mention funny!
- Humor is an important part of any day. Laugh at yourself and allow yourself to be playful. Appreciate creativity and playfulness in others. Tell jokes. Share funny stories and memories.
- Stop school and work tasks at a set time each day. Stay away from technology and social media after that point.
- Enjoy a healthy dinner. Spend the evening in a pursuit of pleasant activities. Talk to those in your household. Play games. Do puzzles. Learn something new together. Maybe watch a movie, but refrain from news and violence.
- Maintain old hobbies and find new ones to explore. Share your hobbies and experiences with others. Focus on the positive. Help each other in this quest.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Disrupts healthy sleep cycles and adds pounds over time.
- Stay OFF of all electronic devices in the evenings. Spend time with family in person or via phone calls. Read a good book. Write in a journal.
- Practice a structured bedtime ritual to help you relax and unwind. Hot bath or shower. Reading. Listing to favorite music. Go to sleep at approximately the same time each night. My mom always told us kids that sleep was valuable and should be respected and protected. I think of preparing for sleep as the time in which to create a “sacred space” in which the body can rest and rejuvenate. Practice good sleep health.
- Don’t mess with your cell phone throughout the day and evening!! STAY OFF of social media (and I can’t emphasize this enough….) If you must, and we all do this, me included, give yourself two minutes each morning and two minutes late afternoon to check for any family/friend updates that you need to receive. Review only sites that give you helpful and concrete information and help you cope with your circumstances. Otherwise, time on the phone/computer with social media is a total time-waster and will do nothing more than upset you further and put you in a bad state of mind. Do all you can to focus on the positive. We all need to take extra good care of ourselves so that we can clean up the mess when all is said and done… Stay safe and well, my friends.
The US Department of Health and Human Services hotline (800-985-5990) provides immediate crisis counseling for emotional distress related to natural or human-made disasters.