No one would have expected that the defining feature of the first year of a brand new decade is a global pandemic. We are living in crazy times – the whole world is in lockdown.
No one is an expert on this, because it’s literally been decades since the last global pandemic. We’re all trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic the best way we can.
With the days melting into each other, it’s so easy to sink into your bed and do nothing. On the other extreme, it’s so easy to trick ourselves that everything is okay by cramming our schedules full of things to work on and consume. The thing is, this erratic sort of approach towards the pandemic is not sustainable. In fact, it could be quite detrimental to our health.
There is a lot of advice online on what’s the best way to go about this quarantine. The one thing that almost everyone agrees on? The importance of routine.
It’s important to establish a routine in this increasingly uncertain time. Our worlds have been shaken, yes, but our own personal routine is something that we have direct control over. It’s now important more than ever to establish a set pattern in our daily lives.
Studies show that an established routine is good for your overall well-being
We might not think about it too much, but having a routine is important to us humans. Its importance is only apparent now that we don’t have it anymore, as our lives were derailed by this pandemic.
To help navigate through this time, a lot of experts suggest creating and sticking to a schedule as much as possible. A routine gives us stability, and this stability can greatly help us survive this pandemic, no matter how long it takes.
It’s actually much better for everyone to try to establish and keep a routine going – not just for our physical health, but for our mental well-being as well.
You’ve heard a form of it one way or another. Eat regularly, at set hours. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time. As much as possible, get your heart-rate up by incorporating exercise in your daily life. Very common sense advice, but very powerful during this time.
Consistency is key
A routine eliminates what some people call “unstructured time”, where you don’t know what you are supposed to be doing. For some, this unstructured time creates boredom. For others, it’s worse – it aggravates anxiety or depression.
“Unstructured time” can overwhelm you. It's important to differentiate time, or else your Mondays can feel like Wednesdays, and weekends could be non-existent.
Every day can feel like a weekend - or every day can feel like a weekday - if you don’t give your time some structure!
Create your own rhythm in order to stabilize your lockdown conditions. Replace your lost schedule with a new one, and you’ll feel more in control again.
For example, set meal times so that you don’t keep on snacking, or conversely, overeat during meal-times because you forgot to have a snack.
If you’re lucky enough to work from home, keep your working space separate from your relaxing space. It's easy to work your bedroom (or in bed!) but it's a good idea to set boundaries so that you can switch off from work and don’t associate work with your bed.
Also, be strict with your time, especially when you are working. Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you have to keep on working well into the night.
On a related note, resist the temptation to sleep in late, so that you do not mess up your body clock. A regular sleeping schedule means you get good-quality sleep. Getting bad quality sleep because you’ve been binging on Netflix may be okay for a few nights, but in the long run, this could lead to health problems!
Incorporate exercise into your routine
And finally, now is the best time to incorporate exercise into your lockdown routine. It’s not about just looking good anymore – keeping fit is actually life-saving.
If you’ve ever wanted to get back on track regarding your fitness, or if you’ve been thinking of starting to get fit, now is the perfect time.
Remember, we are fighting a virus. A strong body (in addition to social distancing and proper hygiene, of course) is your best bet against COVID-19.
If you’re bored, great - why not try exercising? If you’re busy, well, a few minutes of cardio and light strength training is enough.
You don’t even have to leave your home. Dedicate a space in your home for working out in order to get you into that fitness mindset – it doesn’t even have to be that big. There are a lot of resources online for home workouts that need little to no equipment. And for the equipment that you do need, Vital Gym has got you covered!
Working out is the cherry on top of establishing a regular routine. Exercise, paired with a good diet, gets you physically stronger, and ups your immunity. But on top of that, it improves your mental health and your mood as well! Again – common-sense advice, but now holds more truth than ever.
Cut yourself some slack
It's also worth remembering that while a routine is life-saving, you shouldn’t be afraid to cut yourself some slack if you can’t follow it.
We are living in a pandemic, and don’t beat yourself up just because you can’t strictly follow the schedule you set for your day. As with everything, balance is important. Push yourself so that you become productive, yes, but also remember to be kind to yourself.
We can get through this pandemic together if we stay inside our homes, follow the advice of our health inspectors, and listen to and take care of our bodies and minds.