The reality of a living through a pandemic is that our daily routines have changed dramatically. We are now faced with different ways of functioning. With that dramatic shift comes a need for a readjustment out of necessity. What use to make us feel secure has changed and so we are forced to change with it. Managing our day-to-day life looks different and you have new requirements and obligations. To stay afloat it is important to incorporate a strong routine with realistic usage of time management. But where do you even get started?
1. Reflect on What Worked Before
Before the pandemic, what were some of the items that were important to you? Was it a stop somewhere special like a drive to get a coffee? Was it a social hour with people where you let steam off? Was it a time of solitude that you got in your daily commute to and from work? Whatever you did it served you well and now it just may not be possible. Routines help us feel a sense of security and safety in the world. When that is abruptly interrupted, we must adjust.
2. Investigate New Coping Strategies
Every day we are adjusting to an ever-changing landscape. So, let us focus on what we can control so we can settle into this new life and meet our needs to feel content and secure.
Incorporate Planning for Self-Care
If planning helped you feel great before, sit down and look at your schedule each week. Where can you incorporate self-care? What kind of self-care would be useful to you this week? Next week? Next month?
- Ask your partner to give you 15 minutes to take a drive to be quiet away from the job/kids/stressors.
- Schedule “Nothing Time” where you do nothing but sit and decompress.
Find Strategies to Manage Your Wants and Needs
Needs are different and can conflict with wants right now. Your wants in life may not match with what is available so where can you be flexible in that special outing or routine that helps? Can you order it? Can you take it to go and sit in a beautiful nature setting?
- If you used to shop, ask yourself if it is more about fulfilling a specific need/or a want. Can you imagine finding another experience that meets that same need to gain comfort by adjusting it to what is available?
Use Your Senses in a Routine
Building in senses, such as sight, sound, taste, or smell are connected to thinking, mood and memories. It may take some time to figure out what works for you. Our bodies need time to regulate and feel homeostasis. Identifying how your senses are pleasing to the body can provide a natural sense of wellbeing and overall calm.
By incorporating various types of strategies in your daily and weekly routine, you may be able to find one that works for you as the world continues to change. Finding what works for you personally may be different than what works for your partner, family member, child, or friend and that is okay. The goal is to find some sense of control in your own routine to bring greater peace and security.
I invite you to share ways that establishing a new routine has helped you cope during this time – you just might inspire another person.
About Jennifer Rego, MSW, LICSW
Jennifer is a psychotherapist with over sixteen years of experience in the mental health field based in Massachusetts. She provides individual and family counseling, movement-based healing, clinical supervision and facilitates various workshops in the community with other multi-disciplinary professional providers.