My Stay-Sane, Anxiety Busting Lockdown Routine.
Because it’s hard to know how to deal with uncertainty when you don’t even have your lunch hour planned.
Like many people who’ve struggled with their mental health, if I don’t have routines in place, on a day where the world isn’t brought to a standstill by rampant disease I struggle to keep my spirits up. I’ll fall back into bad habits, stuffing my face with food and staying under a blanket all day watching Friends.
It feels like it’s self-care to do these things when you feel down, but its rarely helpful to let yourself stay in pyjamas past 12pm. Decision fatigue is real, too — humans don’t deal well with uncertainty, and we tend to go a bit mental when our routines and rituals go out the window. I know that active rest is the best way for me to take care of myself, and that means giving myself some structure, even when I don’t actually have to get that much work done.
I thought I’d share the makeshift routine I’ve created in the hopes it might inspire you. Take note that I’m currently working on my dissertation and am therefore not working full-time like most of you probably are, so I have more free time to spend on my own projects and on self-care. Not trying to boast, just an observation if this makes you scoff in disbelief at how I’m managing to evade scrutiny from my boss with all this lounging around I’m doing.
8:30 — Awaken. I’m not too strict about this, since I have nowhere I have to be, but to make sure my circadian rhythms are on point I set my alarm for the same time every day.
8:40 — I get my morning cup of tea (coffee ain’t the one right now, especially if I dare check Twitter news for corona updates), and head straight to my computer. No stopping to change or shower or anything. I’ve found that if I get to work immediately, I wake up my brain quicker, even if I need half an hour to mess around.
8:45–11:30 — Work. I sit down at my desk, comfy in my PJs, and watch cats prowl around outside as I slowly wake up my thinking mind to a spotify soundtrack of gentle piano music. This has become a staple part of my day, and it’s taken me this long to work out that this is a great way to silence that voice in my brain that follows me guiltily all day until I sit down to work. Now, I achieve something before the afternoon slump.
11:30–12:30 — My one run of the day. Swapped out for some yoga on rest days, but I like to make sure I’m keeping fit and getting that vitamin D. It’s a staple of mental health to make sure you’re keeping those dopamines flowing. Honestly, a good run will give you a high that’ll carry you into the afternoon. So, I’ll change, shower, etcetera.
12:30–2:30 — Running errands. I am useless at this time of day, so I usually spend it pottering around, grocery shopping, watching youtube videos or skyping friends. I’ve found myself having lunchtime catch-ups more than I even usually would, and it’s done wonders for keeping me feeling good about myself. I usually have university-related remote meetings at this point.
2:30–4:30 — Writing. I’ll either carry on the work from earlier, or move on to a personal project. And by personal project, I probably mean the fanfic I’m currently writing, because its damn good practice and God if I don’t need a little joy in my life.
4:30–6:30 — Reading. Usually, I’ll sit out as the sun sets and read for as long as possible. It’s probably the most relaxing part of my day.
6:30–8:30 — Eating a good meal with lots of veggies. And an indulgent baked good my sister has likely whipped up with a cup of tea after.
8:30–12:00— Watching TV with a friend remotely or a film with my family. I get to completely unwind and absorb some good stories. I might get back to a bit more writing, depending on how I feel.
12:00 — My bedtime wind-down routine. Skincare, stretching, journaling, reading, all that good stuff. I need to do these things to put me in the right mindset for sleeping.
12:30 — Lights out. Exercising, relaxing and keeping to a regular routine should allow you to drift off with relative ease, but if you’re feeling anxious or pepped up there are loads of awesome wind-down meditations on youtube to help you drift off.
I hope this gave you some ideas for what you might want to do with your daily routine! Like I said, you might not have as much flexibility as me, but the fact remains that if you’re starting to feel listless and manic, this is the best way to ground yourself and make sure you’re doing everything you need to to feel your best. I hope this routine emphasises the importance of allowing yourself to slow down, and spending as much time outside as you can.
And also, take note that I left no room for social media scrolling. Try to stay away from the news, it barely ever helps. If you need to know something, the info will make its way to you easily somehow.
You’ll get through this. I promise. Just be kind to yourself, and reach out to those around you for help. We’re all going through it together, and that’s kind of beautiful if you think about it.