You may have heard that 53% of adults in the US report that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the pandemic. 36% reported difficulty sleeping, and 32% reported difficulty maintaining a healthy diet.
Sadly, mental health issues are only increasing as the pandemic wears on. Public health measures have meant that many of us are experiencing isolation and job loss, both of which are linked to poor mental health.
Possibly, the most important thing that any of us can do to make it through this winter will be to create routines.
Routines create the known as we are faced each day with the unknown. During the pandemic the whole world has been knocked off kilter and many of our routines have shifted or collapsed. Commitment to routines are a key to maintaining sanity and enhancing our resilience.
Routines are important because:
- They create structure – A daily routine often begins with an alarm clock going off to start our day, and the habits follow from there with showering, brushing our teeth, dressing and grabbing a coffee.
- They give us a sense of accomplishment – Routines typically have a beginning and an end. We naturally plan our days with them as priorities.
- They let us know how we are doing – Even small routines like showering, brushing our teeth, and dressing are important parts of our day. During the pandemic, many of us have taken a more relaxed approach to those daily habits, such as working from home in leggings. This kind of small change can actually have big impact on how we feel.
- They let people around us know how we are doing – Routines also are indications to people around us of how we are doing. Before the pandemic, if you didn’t show up for work your colleagues would surely worry. With no routine, there are a lot of unknowns that can cause concern or anxiety.
Last week on The Aligned Life podcast I talked with Align Brooklyn community member and psychologist, Anna Levy-Warren about the importance of routines.
Anna recommends that we use routines to create “anchors in the day so that we always know that we have a beginning, middle and end.”
Here are some ideas for daily routines:
- go to sleep and wake up at the same time
- connect with one friend (phone, text, IRL, online)
- eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day
- go for a 15 minute walk at the same time each day
- read a book for 10 minutes in the morning or evening
- write in your journal in the morning or before bed
- take a yoga or fitness class at the same time each day
- spend 10 minutes on breath work or meditation when you wake up or before going to sleep
There’s a unique routine that is right for you; take a few minutes to think about one habit to add to your day.
Wellness is really found as a set of habits and routines that we commit to long term.
Inside the Aligned Life membership we use habit-based wellness programming to support you at creating routines to optimize your wellbeing. For more information visit this link.