Carving Out a Routine While the World Feels Chaotic



The ramifications of COVID-19 have made daily life anything but routine. Many people have experienced disruptions in their work schedules, loss of jobs, and changes in when and where school occurs. When daily schedules become disrupted through no fault of your own, it can cause stress and resentment. While the beginning of the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine has begun, giving hope that things will return to a more normalized version of life, society still has a ways to go before social distancing rules are relaxed or disappear altogether.

In the meantime, it’s important to remember that the pandemic need not usurp all of your power over your day-to-day life. Despite restrictions that cannot be avoided, you can still redesign your regular routine and stick to it. Keeping a schedule helps reduce stress, gives a sense of autonomy, and assists in normalizing a topsy-turvy world. Give some thought to what your old schedule was like, how it is now, and how you can make the most of coming up with a new one that feels reliable and helps you accomplish what needs to be done while allowing for downtime. 

What’s Eating You?

One of the most common disruptions in a person’s daily life caused by the pandemic takes place in the kitchen. Eating junk food may feel comforting in the moment, but a culmination of poor dietary choices adds up. All-day snacking can also become a habit that robs people of healthy food choices. Make an effort to commit to regular meal times and conscious choices that draw from several food groups. While there is nothing wrong with occasional snacking or high-calorie indulgences, relying on a general practice of eating well and at regular times helps cement a reliable routine.

Exercise on a Regular Basis

Regular exercise helps keep your body in good shape and provides a great way to release stress. If you already had an established workout routine, COVID-19 may have impacted it via gym closures, canceled exercise classes, or difficulty social distancing while working out in public. If you’ve avoided exercise, investigate ways to incorporate it into your schedule. The internet offers a plethora of instructional videos that appeal to those who want to work out solo or with a group. Hit your app store for similar offerings and you may be surprised how quickly a good workout can become habitual. 

Hobbies Offer a Respite From Daily Stressors

When the initial quarantining began last spring, one of the chief complaints from newly homebound people was boredom. Engaging in hobbies gives the mind something reliable to count on, which helps pass the time and lessens anxiety. If you have neglected an old hobby you used to enjoy, schedule time to start up again. If you are looking for a new hobby, take stock of choices that interest you and pick one. Most needed supplies can be procured via a quick trip to a shop or ordered online and delivered. Youtube has videos that teach just about any skill set, such as playing an instrument, knitting, painting, woodworking, and a host of other choices. 

In order to ensure that you don’t neglect your hobby time, add it to your calendar so you get reminders. Choose a doable amount of time for each session and how many times per week you want to pursue your hobby and treat that block of time like a work meeting or household chore that must be done. 

Keep a Regular Sleep Schedule

Having a job with regular hours or kids who have specific school hours makes it easier to keep a sleep schedule. If you are dealing with unemployment or another reason that your sleep schedule is compromised, make it a priority to address it. Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day helps with your circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. 

While daily life may not be the same these days, knowing that you can count on getting into and out of bed at the same time every day offers the comfort of a routine and the benefits of regular sleep. If insomnia interrupts your ability to get a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor about options. Many people find that writing in a journal or doing yoga or meditation before bedtime helps release the day’s stress and empty the mind of worrisome thoughts that keep you from drifting off. Playing white noise such as the sound of rain, waves at the beach, or a desk fan helps many as they lie in bed ready to slumber. Plenty of free apps offer many sound options to help a person drift off.

One of the most common concerns related to quarantining and other effects stemming from COVID-19 concerns the loss of daily schedules. Schedules offer you continuity and a reliable plan for each day. If you find yourself floundering with a schedule that doesn’t work for you or no schedule at all, look at each aspect of your day and decide how and when to incorporate it so that you have a sense of continuity. Sustain Recovery offers several programs for adolescents struggling with addiction and mental health issues that each contain tried and true schedules. We offer partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, residential, and extended care programs in our Southern California location. We offer multi-faceted options including holistic, 12-Step meetings, and schooling. If your clients have tried other programs but found they weren’t a good fit, call us now at (949) 407-9052 to discuss how we can help.