|Do you feel like you woke up to find your world has turned upside down?|
For the first time in most of our lives we’re facing a change in our routine that’s completely out of our control and that can produce feelings of fear and anxiety.
If you’re struggling to cope with the new normal, here are some tips that may help;
- Set a routine or schedule. The night before your next working day, divide the say into designated time segments ie; half an hour for exercise, an hour for working on the computer or cleaning etc. Make time for all the things you would like to do the following day and include everything; exercise, outside time, eating, housework, reading, sleeping, times to talk to family and friends on the phone and so on. This can be the basis of every working day, but it’s okay to change the routine around to keep it interesting too.
- Each working day, set the alarm, get up, dress in the appropriate clothes, work clothes if you’re working, exercise clothes for exercising etc and then make your bed.
- Try to follow your schedule, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve everything, every day. Maybe allow one day a week for total slothing out and that’s the day you change from your night time pj’s to your daytime pj’s (for me these are the tracky daks!!) and relax!
- Start a hobby and factor in times every day to do something enjoyable; listening to music, painting, doing a puzzle, playing computer or board games.
- Accomplish something everyday.…or at least try to! No matter how small it is, finishing something will give you a sense of achievement and that’s really important. Clear a space that needs to be cleaned, file away some papers or clear out a kitchen cupboard, sort out the photos or the wardrobe. Some days these will be bigger jobs than others, just achieving something is better than nothing. For one friend it was changing into gym clothes for the day instead of staying in pj’s, and that was as far as she got, but that’s okay!!
- Be kind to yourself and other’s you’re sharing this with. Remember we’re all flying blind here! Surviving this as a couple or parent/s with kids is a whole other article. I’m working on that and will post soon.
- Get moving every day, whether it’s taking the dog for a walk, going for a run or bike ride or dusting off the exercise equipment at home, it’s important to move. Exercise releases feel good endorphins and exposing the eyes to sunlight, especially earlier in the day, helps improve the melatonin cycle which will help you sleep better. If exercising outside, the evidence suggests we should stay further away from others while we’re exerting ourselves, so keep as much distance between you and others as you can.
- Spend time in nature. I’ve shared many articles about the benefits of earthing or grounding, but I’ve just learnt a new term; “forest bathing” or “Shinrinyoku” in Japanese. Forest Bathing is believed to help reduce the incidence of chronic health such as cardiovascular disease, (lowering cholesterol and regulating heart rate and blood pressure), Type 2 diabetes and reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It’s thought to be through the chemicals that trees release, called phytoncides. There are some studies that have found people who spent more time in nature had greater activity of immune cells known as natural killer cells.
- Take it one day at a time, at this stage we feel so overwhelmed and uncertain about what the future is going to look like, so it’s best not to dwell on it as it’s out of our control for now. We will come out of this, but worrying about it isn’t going to make it happen any sooner.
- Stay in touch with others by social media, video or phone. Join new groups from around the world. There’s a lovely one on FaceBook called View From My Window
- Find something to care for; if you don’t or can’t have animals get a house plant, or window box, or a small garden bed if you can, or even start a sour dough culture!!
- Let go of the things you can’t control and focus on those you can, try meditating, journalling or practice breathing techniques such as Buteyko to switch off the fight or flight response (the sympathetic nervous system) and switch on the rest and digest (the parasympathetic nervous system).
- Keep reminding yourself why we’re doing it, we’re trying to protect the most susceptible; elderly grandparents or parents, immunocompromised, anyone who is vulnerable.
- Focus on the good, find 5 things that happened, or that you achieved, that were good. Practice gratitude.
- Make a time to tune into the news only once a day and avoid it the rest of the time. It’s rarely positive and all that angst and negativity is only going to switch back on the sympathetic nervous system and put you back into fight or flight (parasympathetic nervous system).
- Experiment in the kitchen. This is also a perfect time to get creative in the kitchen, ponder the recipe books, write your shopping list, go shopping for the “essentials”, get cooking and serve it up as a special meal, light candles, pick a bunch of flowers, dress up if you want to.
- Recreate your weekend by having a virtual catch up with friends or tuning into the freebies such as; Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Musicals or plays from the National Theatre of London. Make a night of it by having that special meal you just cooked, get dressed up, turn down the lights, and catch up with friends online or sit back and watch something special in the comfort of your own home.