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Beating the Covid-19 blues: Using routines to re-establish a sense of control

Article by: Percy Bharucha
Written on 2021-01-08T09:18:12+00:00

It is no secret that as human beings we like to exert a certain degree of control over our surroundings. The fear of uncertainty and a lack of control scares us and leads to anxiety. We thrive in routines. They are essential to creating a sense of normalcy in our lives. When we don’t have a routine, we spend most of our time creating one simply to exercise our ability to control. In the absence of routine, our attention is dominated by things that are big and flashy which right now is news about the virus.  

Covid-19 has become a great disruptor of routine in our lives. It has stolen from us our ability to control our lives and our futures. In the absence of control, we tend to seek comfort from others, to derive a sense of calm from them. But when they too are experiencing the same levels of stress, we lose that source of solace too. None of us know when things are going to return to normal. These combined issues have become a huge source of stress and anxiety for us collectively.  Here’s how we can combat these daily stressors:

Reestablishing a sense of structure 

In this era of uncertainty what can help reduce stress and anxiety is focusing on things, we can control. We may not be able to control the spread of the virus or finding a cure but what we can control individually is how we spend our day. Moving this locus of control from external factors to a point inside us can help boost confidence and reduce stress.  

Creating a daily schedule and routine can help us achieve more productivity and positivity. It can help cut down time spent on unproductive fear-inducing sources including the internet, and the news. When we repeatedly focus on bad news it puts our bodies and minds into a fight-or-flight mode. Sticking to a daily routine can help limit our exposure to this toxicity.  

Unstructured time equals procrastination 

Having large amounts of unstructured time can contribute to a more laid-back attitude and hence the procrastination. When we know that we aren’t pressed to get work done we tend to be more prone to distraction and engage in escapist behaviors including social media, binge-watching TV, video games, etc. A routine can help drive productivity through goal setting and maintaining consistency. Productivity also helps boost self-esteem by creating a sense of accomplishment. Work can also be a great distraction from the need to constantly keep checking the news.  

A routine that equally supports work and self-care 

A well-structured routine creates pockets of certainty creating a feeling of assurance and comfort. No matter what happens in the world, come what may at 8:00 am tomorrow you will be making your morning coffee. This itself can be a great source of comfort in these uncertain times.  

A good routine is also one that creates a sense of balance between work priorities and time for loved ones. It helps us treat both equally. What it also accounts for is time for self-care. Whether this is in the form of physical exercise, eating well, or mindfulness meditations. It is critical that especially in these times we have time slots for taking care of our minds and bodies.  

While our collective futures might remain uncertain and the world at large unpredictable routines help create smaller building blocks of stability that can help us navigate our lives; one scheduled day at a time. Instead of focusing on the negative, a routine can also be used to put this excess time to good use. Use it instead to create new behaviors in pursuit of new goals or hobbies. Making time for childhood passions that we lost touch with. Re-connecting with loved ones and making meaningful memories with them.  

Also remember it takes time to create change. It is completely natural to be less productive in the face of unpredictability and stress. Getting back into the zone will take longer, remaining focused will be harder, but it’s the best way to regaining a sense of normalcy. It’s time to keep calm and schedule on!

Also See: Flattening the Stress Curve

blog

Beating the Covid-19 blues: Using routines to re-establish a sense of control

Article by
Written on 2021-01-08T09:18:12+00:00

It is no secret that as human beings we like to exert a certain degree of control over our surroundings. The fear of uncertainty and a lack of control scares us and leads to anxiety. We thrive in routines. They are essential to creating a sense of normalcy in our lives. When we don’t have a routine, we spend most of our time creating one simply to exercise our ability to control. In the absence of routine, our attention is dominated by things that are big and flashy which right now is news about the virus.  

Covid-19 has become a great disruptor of routine in our lives. It has stolen from us our ability to control our lives and our futures. In the absence of control, we tend to seek comfort from others, to derive a sense of calm from them. But when they too are experiencing the same levels of stress, we lose that source of solace too. None of us know when things are going to return to normal. These combined issues have become a huge source of stress and anxiety for us collectively.  Here’s how we can combat these daily stressors:

Reestablishing a sense of structure 

In this era of uncertainty what can help reduce stress and anxiety is focusing on things, we can control. We may not be able to control the spread of the virus or finding a cure but what we can control individually is how we spend our day. Moving this locus of control from external factors to a point inside us can help boost confidence and reduce stress.  

Creating a daily schedule and routine can help us achieve more productivity and positivity. It can help cut down time spent on unproductive fear-inducing sources including the internet, and the news. When we repeatedly focus on bad news it puts our bodies and minds into a fight-or-flight mode. Sticking to a daily routine can help limit our exposure to this toxicity.  

Unstructured time equals procrastination 

Having large amounts of unstructured time can contribute to a more laid-back attitude and hence the procrastination. When we know that we aren’t pressed to get work done we tend to be more prone to distraction and engage in escapist behaviors including social media, binge-watching TV, video games, etc. A routine can help drive productivity through goal setting and maintaining consistency. Productivity also helps boost self-esteem by creating a sense of accomplishment. Work can also be a great distraction from the need to constantly keep checking the news.  

A routine that equally supports work and self-care 

A well-structured routine creates pockets of certainty creating a feeling of assurance and comfort. No matter what happens in the world, come what may at 8:00 am tomorrow you will be making your morning coffee. This itself can be a great source of comfort in these uncertain times.  

A good routine is also one that creates a sense of balance between work priorities and time for loved ones. It helps us treat both equally. What it also accounts for is time for self-care. Whether this is in the form of physical exercise, eating well, or mindfulness meditations. It is critical that especially in these times we have time slots for taking care of our minds and bodies.  

While our collective futures might remain uncertain and the world at large unpredictable routines help create smaller building blocks of stability that can help us navigate our lives; one scheduled day at a time. Instead of focusing on the negative, a routine can also be used to put this excess time to good use. Use it instead to create new behaviors in pursuit of new goals or hobbies. Making time for childhood passions that we lost touch with. Re-connecting with loved ones and making meaningful memories with them.  

Also remember it takes time to create change. It is completely natural to be less productive in the face of unpredictability and stress. Getting back into the zone will take longer, remaining focused will be harder, but it’s the best way to regaining a sense of normalcy. It’s time to keep calm and schedule on!

Also See: Flattening the Stress Curve

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