Some people enjoy having a consistent daily routine, while others despise the idea of following one. On the other hand, maintaining structure and regularity might help you feel more organized and in control during high stress.
Routines can be beneficial at any time, especially if you're attempting to create good habits, but they're especially crucial when things in your life are unpredictable.
Many people's typical routines have been drastically disrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak, making it even more challenging to cope with the stress they are experiencing.
A Sudden Lack of Structure
Many people are either working from home or facing an undetermined spell of unemployment. Working from home can soon become mentally draining due to the ongoing solitude and lack of a regular schedule.
Lack of structure and regularity can worsen anxiety and cause you to focus more on the root of your troubles. As Goldman, a psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the NYU School of Medicine, explains: "If people don't have structure and are sitting around with less to focus on, then they also probably will find themselves thinking about the stressful situation more, which can also lead to additional stress and anxiety."
One way to get out of this cycle of stress is to maintain some structure and routine throughout your day.
The Benefits of Having a Routine
Routines have been proven in studies to play a substantial impact on mental wellness. Routine, for example, was found to help people better manage stress and anxiety in one study.
Having a routine can help you:
Lower stress levels
Form good daily habits
Take better care of your health
Help you feel more productive
Help you feel more focused
Getting essential duties completed can also help you find more time to engage in healthy behaviors such as exercise and enjoy pleasurable activities and hobbies.
When you're anxious, there are a few things you may do to assist you to keep a routine:
Focus on Things You Can Control
You can feel more in control of the situation if you manage your behavior. Goldman advises concentrating on the aspects of your life that you can influence.
The idea is to establish a pattern that gives your day structure and predictability. Of course, your schedule may vary depending on the day of the week, but following a basic routine for when you will wake up, eat, work, participate in activities, and sleep will help you feel less stressed and more organized.
Structuring your day ensures that you do the core duties and leaving you with time to schedule other activities that you want or need to undertake.
Follow a Routine That Supports Your Health
There are some things that you can make a part of your daily routine to help manage stress levels. These include:
Staying active and getting regular daily exercise
Making sure that you are well-rested
Eating healthy meals on a regular schedule
Setting realistic goals
Trying to stay positive
Preparing for challenges but not ruminating on things you can't control
Staying in touch with friends and family members
Setting aside time for activities that you enjoy
Of course, the scenario you're dealing with might have an impact on how simple or difficult it is to stick to a regular regimen. Many people feel a blank schedule due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, which can be a terrifying prospect for some. It's critical to discover ways to occupy your time to don't engage in unhelpful or unhealthy behaviors.
Make Your List
Making a list of the tasks you regularly accomplish during the day is one helpful activity. Work, dinner preparation, and domestic duties are all included. You can start making a general plan for what you might need to achieve each day to stay on track once you have an idea of the essential activities you need to complete.
While it's critical to complete the necessary tasks, make time for activities you enjoy, whether it's watching a favorite television show or calling a buddy. You are earning these small rewards, a habit that will help you stay motivated and focused when working on a task you don't particularly enjoy.
Knowing that you need to do those tasks at a particular time on a specific day will help keep you on track and hopefully overcome the urge to keep putting them off.
Remember It Takes Time and Practice
Starting and sticking to a new routine takes time and work, just like forming a new habit. You are the expert on yourself, so if something doesn't appear to be working, consider adjusting your routine to meet your needs.
Goldman suggests that you pay attention to how you feel during the day to figure out when you are most productive. "If you feel unmotivated and lethargic at the same time every day," she explains, "it's a clue that you might need a mental break at that time."
When you're in those situations, consider what you might need to feel better and motivated. That may require you to take a break, go for a stroll, eat a snack, or devote some time to a pastime.