Written by Tami Boesiger
I was only a few days into my COVID-induced hibernation when I caught myself wondering what day it was. Allowing myself to sleep in, binge-watch, and catch up on social media felt nice at first, but it didn’t take long for me to start feeling depressed. I mean, what purpose do I serve on Earth when I’ve exhausted my options on Netflix and can name every celebrity with a dramatic weight loss transformation?
Sigh. Being home all the time could get old, fast.
Maybe it’s happening to you too, the zero-motivation syndrome, the nothing-in-my-fridge-sounds-appealing dilemma, boredom creeping in despite your best efforts to keep your family busy. How can we possibly do this for several more weeks?! I suggest we find a new routine. Our normal schedules have been altered, but we can find new ones. We need to find new ones. Research suggests structure is important for our mental health.
Establishing a schedule alleviates the stress of the unknown by giving us something predictable. We know what the day will bring because we’ve planned it! Having a routine helps us be more productive, giving us a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It keeps our brains busy, so we don’t fall prey to anxiety and depression. We create security by eliminating the ambiguity of how to spend our time.
Finding a new routine will help your whole family weather this time of isolation. Have the same expectations you would for your usual weekday, waking at the same time, having breakfast together, getting ready for the day as you normally would. Tackle the schoolwork and add activities to look forward to each day. Look at the COVID hiatus not as the snow day that never ends, but as an opportunity to order your days your way. What have you always wanted to do but could never find the time? Schedule it in! Make playdoh, start those art projects, try a new baking challenge, or do family karaoke. Get outside. Go for a walk, start whipping your yard into shape, or plan out your garden. Take the virtual museum tours. Start cracking on that pile of books on your nightstand. Document the COVID Crisis of 2020 in your family’s unique way. Give yourselves something to look forward to each day as you take control, creating the day you want to have, not the one your school or employer dictates.
Want to escape the doldrums and prevent your family from becoming couch potatoes? Find a new routine. Your mental health will be better for it. We will get through this. One day at a time.