Why Keeping a Routine During Uncertain Times Is Good for Your Mental Health

Routine. It’s something that most of us have a love-hate relationship with. We can’t wait to get away from our routine when holidays roll around, but after a few weeks, we’re happy to get straight back to it.

Maintaining a routine in a time when everything feels unknown and a little scary might seem ridiculous. But, it’s actually super helpful for your mental health!

The benefits of routine are far-reaching. Studies have found that routine can help with the management of bipolar disorder, ADHD and insomnia. A 2016 study also found that routine was linked to improvements in mood, cognitive functions and a notable decrease in developing major depression.

According to Dr. Steve Orma, a CBT clinical psychologist, routine really helps with stress management.

“To manage anxiety you need to consistently check in with yourself about what you’re worrying about, then address it,” he told Headspace.

“Just as we create routines with exercise for our physical bodies, we should do the same for our mental health. One way to do this is scheduling ‘thinking time’ to think through any problems or worries weighing on you instead of letting them build up.”

Routine can also be incredibly soothing when everything around you feels unsure (so, basically right now).

“Modern life, increasingly defined by unpredictability, can be anxiety-provoking, and routines provide an anchor of predictability,” career coach and writer, Marty Nemko, told Headspace.

So, if you’re working from home or currently waiting out a period of self-isolation, try your best to keep your routine because it will help keep your mental health on the up.

It’s totally normal to feel scared, anxious and on edge given all that is going on across the world, but maintaining as much normalcy as possible could help you to mentally cope with the current circumstances.

Ways to keep your routine intact

Have a shower.

No, but seriously, keep having a shower every day. When you’re spending day after day in the house, it can be tempting to forgo all bathing but you always feel better after a shower. It’s a fact.

Get dressed.

Don’t stay in your pj’s all day, as tempting as it may be. You don’t need to put on jeans but at least throw on some fresh trackies.

Schedule daily check-ins with team members, family and friends.

If you’re working from home, try to have a video chat check-in with your direct team members. While everything can probably be conveyed via email or instant messager, it’s nice to see people face-to-face (albeit via your laptop or phone). TheLatch— team have been conducting two video calls a day and it’s honestly a highlight.

Same goes for family members and friends. FaceTime them and have a coffee catch-up, or enjoy a glass of wine together over the phone. Keeping in contact as much as possible will make it feel like not all that much has changed.

Maintain house chores

While you might have heaps of time for new projects, it’s OK to not have the motivation to achieve a lot at the moment. Instead, just try and keep your usual chores going. Do your washing, clean the house and cook your meals in an attempt to keep things rolling as they would in non-coronavirus times.

Do whatever your normal is (within reason)

If getting up and going for a run is apart of your morning routine, try to continue to do that (if you’re not in self-quarantine). If doing your hair and putting on a little makeup makes you feel better about the day, do that. Listen to your favourite podcasts as you would when commuting to work. Whatever makes your day to day more comfortable and familiar, lean into that.

Please keep in mind that social distancing is super important at the moment so even if you’re not in isolation, it’s best to stay home where possible. And as always, stay well and safe, friends!

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