Creating a New Normal

The coronavirus outbreak is creating a lot of uncertainty and disrupting many lives. Routines and schedules create a sense of stability and safety, which in turn helps with feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. As your routines are being changed, it can have an adverse effect on your mental health. It is very important for all of us to have some structure during this COVID-19 situation.

The secret is to create comfortable and effective routines. Without structure, there is disorder and frustration. With too much structure, people find themselves bored and feel like they have no flexibility – especially children. Here are some tips on how stick to a routine while still having fun:

Keep a consistent sleep schedule

Sleep is important for your physical and mental well being. It helps you reduce stress, affects your immune system, and has an impact on your mood. If you are not waking up to go to work or school, the temptation is to sleep in every day, or stay up late every night. Make sure you are going to bed and waking up on a consistent schedule. Keep wake-up routines cheerful and positive.

Eat healthy

Your body needs energy to regulate your moods – and your immune system! Eat a well-balanced diet and try to have your meals at consistent times throughout the week. Eat breakfast each morning, even if you don’t feel hungry yet. If you need food assistance, please check out our Resources page.

Get some fresh air

Maybe set a schedule to walk every morning, or run twice a week. Just remember to keep a distance from others. Spend some time outdoors, even if it’s just sitting in your own backyard or balcony – sunlight helps you keep your energy levels up.

Don’t stop learning

Is your school offering remote learning opportunities? Make sure you are keeping up with your school work! Setting a time for school work helps you prepare for the day. If your school has not set up learning opportunities for you, take this time to learn about something you are interested in. Our Resources page lists free online learning resources for all subjects.

Stick to a work schedule

Try to keep to a consistent schedule, even if your work is flexible about your time as you work from home. Follow your regular work schedule, or come up with one that works better for you. It will help reduce your work-related stress, and keeps work and personal time separate.

Do things you enjoy

What parts of your usual routines can you keep? What makes you happy? Keep doing those – self-care is important.

Start a project

You know that art project you always meant to do? Or that garage you’ve been meaning to clean? Now is the perfect time to do it. Projects are a great way to create structure, and they will help you not get bored. Completing a project will put you in a good mood, too.

Have fun!

While structure is important, don’t stress about scheduling out your whole day or week. Have some fun, take a break, play games, watch a movie… These are very stressful times – it’s okay to relax. Most importantly, stay in touch with your friends and family.