Creating Room for Routine

Posted 2 February 2021

How are you doing? It’s an important question. Just over a year ago, the first case of Covid was confirmed in the UK and we were plunged into a pandemic world. Lockdown became something that happened to pensioners rather than prisoners, masks became couture and we all discovered Zoom. And then got Zoom fatigue.

The past 12 months have given and taken - many of us have had more time for family, exercise and hobbies while at the same time reported feelings of stress and anxiety have increased. Asking how we’re all doing has never been so relevant.

The chances are most of us have struggled to keep up any sort of routine in these uncertain times, but controlling the controllable can have a surprisingly big impact on how we cope day to day. Regularity can reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia, so if you’ve found yourself or your family members struggling recently, it’s worth trying to create some room for more routine.

For cared-for children, routine helps build feelings of belonging, security and calmness. It eliminates the unpredictable and encourages better mental and physical health. Albeit at a different level, similar can be said for adults. As a bonus, successfully following a routine means achieving at least one thing every day!

From a morning routine including getting up, washed and dressed to an evening routine of winding-down, cleaning teeth and going to bed, children can find order and safety in the most basic of activities. Creating as much of a routine as possible in turn removes as many unknowns as possible - leaving less opportunity for worry or anger.

For younger children, picture flash cards of activities are a great way to convey your routine, while older children may want to write out their own timetable and negotiate about what goes on it. Working in activities that they find challenging will also allow a child or teen to approach them in a safe and structured way, reducing anxiety.

The same principal applies to adults too. If we try and schedule in things we put off or worry about, our bodies and brains will be more prepared for what is coming up, again removing anxiety of the unknown. Combining difficult things with mundane ones can make them seem more average and less daunting.

If you’re a naturally unstructured person, routines may seem stress-inducing, but they really could be stress-reducing. Creating even a loose schedule for work, rest and play means you’ll experience a bit more order in the current uncertainty. Knowing you have enough time to get stuff done and fewer worries about forgetting things can be a real stress buster. You may even find some time for a few more cups of tea or a bit more binge-watching. Equally, if you don’t get everything ticked then tomorrow is another day, there is a pandemic on after all.

Life is different at the moment, but creating room for some more routine can really help us navigate the new normal. Stay safe and schedule in time to contact us if you want to chat through anything.