At this time when we are all staying at home much more and for longer periods, it is important to maintain some kind of self-care routine. Without any structure in our day-to-day lives, we can feel depressed, anxious or helpless. Instituting routine into our day can, however, help us to overcome the feeling that nothing matters, or other negative thoughts along these lines.
It is important at this time to remember that you have control over yourself, what you do, and how you spend your day. There is in fact meaning to be gained and learnings to be had about yourself and how you generally operate, think and feel while in isolation. You will be amazed at how differently you feel if you put some structure and routines in place.
Firstly, it is essential to remember that you are important and that you matter – both in your own life and in the lives of others. Acknowledge this to yourself, at least. Next, self-care is very important. We really need to take care of ourselves first before we can do a good job of caring for others. This means that even in isolation we need to look after every aspect of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health.
Physical health is where routines really come into play. We need to eat well, sleep well, and exercise as often as possible. Eating regular meals is also important. If you are snacking constantly, or skipping meals, then try and change this so that you eat at around the same time each day, and consume a larger meal at lunch time rather than at night. Additionally, eating your evening meal early is good, preferably before 7.30pm.
The time at which you get up from your night’s sleep is also important. Try to get into the habit of getting up at the same time each morning, having a shower and getting dressed. Hanging around in your pyjamas all day might make you feel more negative and emotionally down than if you get dressed. Try it and see if you notice any benefits.
If you are working from home and having Zoom meetings and the like, then ensure that you are fully dressed when you take part. There is nothing worse than being in a meeting and then seeing someone get up to leave the room or to get something, and catching them in their underwear. Following etiquette here is a good idea, while dressing properly shows consideration for oneself and others — and consideration and appreciation are qualities that are needed now in abundance.
In terms of sleeping, maintaining a regular pattern will also be good for you. If you go to bed before midnight and get 7 to 8 hours sleep, you will be more rested and alert during the day. It can also be helpful to keep to the same pattern on the weekend, too.
Although the opportunities we have for exercise have diminished, continuing to undertake a reasonable amount in these straightened circumstances is very important. Physical exercise is good for our minds as well as our bodies.
Exercise has been shown to prevent or reduce the risk of many diseases, and will also have a positive impact on any other physical health conditions that you may have. This is why it should be a high priority.
You can go low tech or high tech for your exercise and workout routines. YouTube features classes and programmes for all abilities, or you can get exercise tips from people you know, either friends or professionals. Make a list of these, and do them in the comfort of your own home.
The effects of exercise have been shown to be additive, meaning you are better off doing 3 walks of 10 minutes instead of a single 30 minute walk. You should also ensure that you start off slow, and then increase at a pace that your body can handle (always bearing in mind, of course, that any exercise is better than none).
To sum up, think about what routines might be helpful for you. What is the first change you can make in your daily life? Sometimes, just making a start in the morning means that you feel better and are able to accomplish much more. For instance, if you get up in the morning and get dressed, you will be much more inclined to tackle the washing up or carry out another cleaning chore. After this, you can then give yourself a pat on the back for having completed what you set out to do.
Once you start to complete the tasks you have set yourself, you should start feeling better. Try it and see.