Dr Kate Owen
Daily Routines in a COVID World
Updated: Feb 5, 2022
For everybody at home either from self-isolation, quarantine, job loss, and family reasons it is important to adapt to the change that has been thrust upon us and respond in healthy ways by creating healthy daily routines.
Read this blog and follow the steps listed below to help you and your family settle into your "new norm" while we continue to abide by government restrictions.
You Have Done This Before
Due to the virus and people staying at home, the new hot topic on social media is "create your daily routine". When we slow down and really think about it, this is a fundamental concept that has been promoted for good psychological health for decades. And I am pretty sure that you had some form of daily routine before the virus hit, even if you were not consciously thinking of it. Which means that you already know how to do this. You have got skills in this area already.
Question: How have you created your routines in the past?
Tip: Focus on the "how" as opposed to the routine itself. This will give you clues that you can use right now.
You Have Adapted To Change Before
At times of change in your life, such as starting a relationship, having kids, kids starting school, kids leaving home, changing jobs, moving house, getting a pet, etc you would have adapted to that change and created your new daily routine.
Change can be scary and hard, but my guess is that you have survived change in the past by adapting, being flexible, trying something new, and allowing the passage of time to work its magic.
Question: How have you navigated change in the past? What did you do?
Dan Siegel's Healthy Mind Platter
I am a huge fan of Dan Siegel's Healthy Mind Platter as a general guide for what we all should be aiming for in our daily routine. I have been promoting this with my clients for a long time. Best of all, these ideas can be adapted for those now spending time at home.
Check out the Healthy Mind Platter by clicking the link below.
Now watch Dan Siegel on YouTube.
Let's Get Creative
The seven essential daily mental health activities to optimise brain matter and create well-being can be adapted for home life during the virus. Let's get creative. I have listed some ideas below that might be helpful. Create your own list of ideas that will work for you and your family.
This is important. Check out Tips For Better Sleep on my YouTube channel.
You still need to move your body! Walk around your house or your living room. Set up a home gym. Dust of the old cricket set in the shed. Watch a yoga video online.
This is your learning for the day from home school, other studies, starting a project at home, reading a book, or learning a new skill on YouTube.
If you have a busy household then find a quiet corner of the house, your backyard, stay in the shower for 5 minutes longer than normal, or ask your partner to take over while you have 5 minutes to yourself. Download a meditation app and listen first thing in the morning, or last thing at night.
Everyone loves a bit of down time. The challenge might be to limit your down time when you are spending so much time at home. Netflix is tempting, but if that is all you have in your daily routine that can create problems. My other tips is limit watching the news at present. Stay informed in healthy and helpful ways.
Make sure you find times to be silly and have fun. Play a board game, jump on the trampoline, or have a disco party in your living room. Let your imagination run wild.
This is so important during self-isolation, and you can do this in many different ways. If safe to do so, be close to people in your home (emotionally and physically). Text and call your friends and family who are outside of your home. Use video calls (like FaceTime and Zoom and Skype). Just be careful of connecting through social media. This can be both a positive and negative experience.
Connecting with nature is also a powerful tool - sit on the grass, feel the sunshine, weed the garden, or water your plants inside.
A General Daily Routine Guide
Consider following these steps each day:
Wake up and get dressed and keep your usual morning routine.
Either the night before, or at the start of each day, write a list of your intentions / goals / tasks / activities / ideas for the day.
Use the list of ideas that you have been creating as you have read this blog.
Some people like to set times and do things in order, others will prefer a list that they can work through more flexibly. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Keep the list realistic and achievable.
Share your list with someone as accountability can help keep you motivated.
Tick things off as you get them done.
Consider setting a small reward for yourself at the end of the day if you need extra motivation.
"Clock off" from the list and do your usual normal night time routine.
These ideas will need to be adapted to suit your life and family. Every person and family is unique. Those with babies and small children will need to adjust these ideas.
Thanks For Reading
Hopefully you have found this helpful. This is general advice and may not suit your specific needs. If you need extra support, or need help creating stability in your day, please call Lifeline on 131114.