Rhythms and Routines
Welcome to Week 3 of the Pandemic. Vacation is over. It got real last week. This is what I was hearing from many of my clients and what I was feeling myself. I, like many of you, are cooped up at home with my family, trying to work, do home school, and still run a household. Granted, I’m thankful I still have a job and that I have my family in times like these for sure! Still, by the end of last week as I was struggling to keep up with navigating the homeschool platform, the kids in each other’s space and MY space all day, spending hours on the phone with insurance companies to navigate telehealth for my clients, and accepting the fact that the very little margin I had in my life was now all but gone, I said to myself, “I need some better routines!” We got by, but for the long haul we need some additional ways to make life thrive and not just trudge through.
On the Tony and Melissa Show on WICC 600 , you can hear me talk about how to incorporate routine in a time when all routines have changed. So, here are some things I suggest:
First, get outside!!! I can’t emphasize this enough especially as spring is here and the days are longer. Not only is it just plain better than being in the house all day, getting out provides sunshine and vitamin D and has been proven to lift mood. Also, it works wonders for cranky kids or zoned out kids who need to get off of those screens!
Second, make sure to exercise! This can be done outside with a walk, run, bike ride, etc., or it may be through equipment in your house or even workout videos. Many gyms are starting to live-stream workouts as well. Remember that especially if you have been quarantined, you are likely walking far fewer steps anyway. On top of that, you may be eating more as well and not burning off those extra calories. In addition, exercise will boost your energy and mood levels and greatly reduce stress with those lovely endorphins.
Third, have some kind of general schedule for the day that works for your family. For example, if you need to have the kids do school in the morning when they are alert and fresh, do this. If afternoons are naptimes or time for you as a parent to get work done, don’t hesitate to utilize this time to the fullest. Maybe make a cleaning day or laundry day, etc. I’m sure the kids will just love that—just kiddingJ
Fourth, make sure fun is part of the routine! In our family, we have identified certain days/nights as movie nights, bonfire nights, or game nights. With the humdrum of being at home, we have to be intentional about fun. Remember, it’s not just about what you do but, more importantly, who you are with so cherish the time with loved ones!
Fifth, include things in your routine that feel “normal” and are reminiscent of routines you had before COVID-19. For example, my husband has some shows that he really likes and that he has continued to watch because they bring a sense of peace and stability, a reminder that not everything has changed. Don’t give up on family traditions—birthday, even holidays. Celebrate and take a moment to remember there is still more to life than COVID-19.
Sixth, remember to schedule time for YOU in all of this. This could mean quiet time with a book, an early morning walk, or a bath. Be creative! Now, I’m not so naïve to think that this would be easy for everyone and for some it may be just about impossible, but trying for even just a few minutes may yield a moment of refreshment.
Seventh, continue to incorporate your faith if you typically do. Many churches have streamed their church services, pastors have posted their sermons, and Christian music groups have even offered live concerts. Perhaps for some this also means continuing to incorporate prayer and meditation. Faith for many brings a comfort and stability for many that nothing else will.
Eighth and last, include time to connect with others! Maybe this is a regularly scheduled video chat with friends and a glass of wine, weekly check-ins with family, or just a phone call with a trusted mentor who can help you gain perspective in the madness! Whatever way you connect, use it! Wifi has become our very best friend.
COVID-19 will not last forever, but it may be here for some time. The sooner routines can be established, the sooner you will feel more in control of the craziness, and that will lead to a greater sense of peace and well-being. Come on, you got this!