The importance of routine during a global pandemic

Emily Nagioff


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Read Time: 5 minutes

I don’t think I’m the only one wondering if the year 2020 is some kind of joke. I keep thinking I’m in some episode of Black Mirror and I’m just waiting for someone to switch channel. Every time I read another article, I keep thinking of how six months ago none of this was happening but now, it’s a grim reality we’re all living, worldwide – one that at this moment, we’re unclear when will end. Eventually, at some point, it will, and we will come through it together, as friends, as family, as communities and as a human race, but it’s really difficult.

One thing that’s got me through is seeing the unbelievable kindness between people alike and the incredible determination of our NHS warriors. This Pandemic has really brought out the best of human nature and has increased the communal feeling of strength at a time which is undecided and scary. We must continue to be there for eachother, play our part by listening to the government regulations and try to live positively, as much as we can.

Having come home from travels, I thought I’d be great without a plan. Travelling in itself has CHALLENGED my control issues and forced me into living day by day, present moment by present moment. Having come home to this new reality, with no ideas about work, or when I’m returning back to where I was going to base myself in Australia, I got out of habit of living freely amongst the chaos and stayed in bed, frightened.

Well, after a few days of that, I came to realise that doesn’t make me feel better. It’s okay to be scared, but ultimately, if you can, forming a small routine really helps you – it distracts you, it gives you something to do, it can still challenge your brain, work you physically and help you stay in the moment. And right now? Trying to stay as present as possible is ALL we can do. That’s not that we aren’t allowed moments to cry, to be angry or to be paralysed with fear – but eventually, when those feelings subside, getting back to your little routine will help you feel more in control and more stable.

So what can we do?

1. Write out a realistic routine, tailored to YOU.

It’s difficult to remember what day we’re on let alone the date when we’re at home, and time just seems to be rolling on into the abyss but it’s important. What hour will you wake? What hour will you dedicate to video calling family? Friends? What have you always wanted to learn? A type of dance? A language? What time will you take out to start a new hobby? What new series have you been too busy to watch and when can you watch that? What time is your downtime time and what time are you going to try and sleep? And I’ll repeat again, make them REALISTIC – this will make this schedule more likely to be a habit. For example, I decided I should get up at 9am – but then kept over sleeping and getting annoyed. Therefore, I adjusted the timings to suit my lifestyle and allowed extra time to relax in the morning. I’ve been able to keep to it better.

2. Use technology wisely

One thing I’ve certainly taken for granted is technology. We have this incredibly fast, available service for everything in our HANDS – how incredibly lucky are we. We can search ANYTHING we want, order online if needed and still keep in contact very easily. The decades our family members would have lived through with the Influenza outbreak of the flu Pandemic in 1918 and then again in 1968 or the HIV/AIDs Pandemic between 2005-2012, would have been extremely limited in what they could do compared to now. I for one, love Spanish and have been dedicating 1-2 hours a day of steady learning over at “Spanishland” on YouTube. If you’re interested in learning French, Learn French with Pascal is another great place to learn a language. But hey, with YouTube in general, you can learn ANYTHING. Grab a new notepad, a pen and get learning. We’ve got time to learn something new, so let’s do it, whether it’s a language, getting back to your old instruments or Youtubing a new recipe.

3. Exercise

We all know the physical benefits of fresh air, vitamin D (if there’s sun) and the endorphins that come from exercise on mental health and general wellbeing. Whether that’s taking a walk around the block at a designated time per day, or finding some exercise routines on YouTube, there is something for everyone. Exercise is also fantastic for boosting your immune system – something we all need to take care of here more than ever – and something small is always better than nothing. I usually try and do something unrealistic – I’ll find the hardest HIIT session going and then not be able to move for two weeks and I never seem to learn from my mistakes. This time, I’m doing things differently. In light of wanting a “routine”, I’ve decided to start easier workouts and work slowly up to something more advanced. I’ve been LOVING the 25-30 minute sessions provided by the “Body Project” on Youtube, they have three people working out alongside you, so you can follow the person doing the easier workout or challenge yourself exercising alongside the person doing the harder one. Every class is different, you can work up the levels and the trainers are so encouraging, the time flies by. You’ve got other online exercise classes as well – Joe Wicks provides home workouts for everyone from seniors to youth, depending on what you fancy!

4. Yoga

A tip to soothe your sore muscles, and relax your mind would be through Yoga. Once again, YOUTUBE to the rescue – I swear this is not an ad. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner and haven’t a clue what you’re doing or just starting where you’ve left off, it’s a fantastic way of stretching after a home workout or just tuning into the present moment. I discovered “Yoga with Kassandra” and completed some of her beginners classes. She also provides ten minutes of easy stretching and yoga to wake up to. Click here for more Yoga online classes and tips.

5. Virtual Coffee with friends

We can interpret this in two ways, both of which are giant pick me ups. Binge watching entire seasons of Friends on Netflix with a coffee ✅ OR phoning your friends with a cuppa in hand ✅ I’ve read a lot about how we should be calling the Government regulations as “Physical Distancing” and not “Social Distancing” and I couldn’t agree more. Physically we need to keep away from people, absolutely, but this does not need to impact on our social virtual contact. This means, planning in video calls with your cup of coffee, tea, a hot chocolate if you will, sending voice notes on WhatsApp, and even watching films online with someone next to you – on a phone. I know, GENIUS right? How did I do this? I’ll tell you. 

I was watching Shrek on Netflix on my laptop, with my friend watching it on HIS laptop on our video call, our phones just aimed at our faces. We made sure we started it and ended it at exactly the same points, and I was eating chocolate so it was just like a virtual cinema. I recommend, but I digress – as usual. Whatever it is, be it virtual exercise sessions together, virtual dance lessons, cooking together online, or just a simple hello, we are BLESSED with technology, so let’s use it. This also applies to keeping in touch with family members, especially our elders. It may not be the same but you still don’t feel alone – and hell, if you don’t have any of this? Chat to your neighbour over the fence with a cup of coffee!

I hope this helps any of you who feels a little stuck. A reminder – we are ALL in this together, and we will get through it. I’d love to know what you do to keep busy whilst social/physical distancing! Let me know in the comments below! ❤️

Love, Emily


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