Think of your favorite song—what is the rhythm? How does the beat structure the music? Where are flourishes that sustain your attention? Like music, life has a rhythm too with both the stability of routine and the excitement of change.
One of the hardest parts of the early months of the pandemic was how it scrambled our usual habits. For most people, their work lives took the biggest hit. For those fortunate enough to continue working from home, work routines changed—commuting with only a few steps to the office, switching to online collaboration and having to juggle kids while working. For those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, wide-open days and lost purpose exacerbate the financial stress of layoffs.
Resetting our routines offers a way to reclaim control during these trying times. Consider these four crucial components: sleep, nutrition, exercise and connection. Establishing a calming bedtime routine can decrease your anxiety and improve your rest. Healthy emotional eating and regular physical activity improve mood and energy. You might go for a walk in the cool morning or do a stretching routine to break up long days of sitting. Nourish your spirit with new social routines to sustain meaningful connection with friends and family, like setting up regular phone and video calls reduce isolation.
We also need variability to feel alive. Summer is usually when we seek a change of pace. Though the medical, economic and logistical challenges of the pandemic have made it difficult to take a vacation, we still need to find a way to mix up our routine to avoid feeling stifled. For example, if your travel plans were scuttled, you might take a culinary trek in your kitchen using online cooking videos to explore an international cuisine. Or you might explore a different type of music to break out of your standard playlist. To get a change of scenery, you might find a friend interested in doing a house swap, or do a daytrip to a nearby town with new sights. Seek out nature wherever you can.
If you feel haired, focus on the stabilizing your daily routine. If life feels too monotonous, explore ways to add variability. The combination of grounding habits and invigorating novelty will help you feel calmed and refreshed.
Photo credit: Lee Pigott