What does your daily routine look like?
These days especially, you might not have a normal routine. While still adjusting to a world amidst COVID, and all of the changes that brings, many of your normal social routines still are probably not back to normal.
It also means that self care right now is crucial. In order to help ourselves live as fully as we can in a world of COVID restrictions, taking care of ourselves is the key. And though we might not be used to setting aside significant parts of our days to take care of ourselves, it is actually what will help us get through these difficult times.
But it’s hard to build a routine that prioritizes caring for yourself. The culture we live in tends to value those of us who work non-stop, have no free time, or who spend more time giving time and energy to others than themselves. It a lot of intentionality to craft a routine that is there not only to get you through the day, but to help you thrive.
First, what does self care mean to you?
What are the important ways in which you take care of yourself? What are things you wish would be regular self care practices for you? These can be things like:
- Setting boundaries regarding work communication: once you’re out of the office, are you still working? Checking emails? Or do you allow yourself to leave work at work?)
- Finding fulfilling ways to socialize: not just being social for socials sake; who makes you feel most comfortable, safe and happy? Which friends or loved ones invigorate your creativity? Who do you feel most yourself around? Are you making time in your schedule to be with these people? (virtually or in person?) Or do you spend most of your social time with people or events that drain you?
- Nourishing your body: Making sure you have things that both help to energize you and provide nutrients (“healthy” food), and food that makes you feel good because you enjoy it, it tastes good, etc. Nourishment comes from both what we need to survive physically and what makes us happy and fulfilled.
- Nourishing your mind: Do you give yourself time to engage with things you enjoy, or things that challenge you? This can be reading, listening to podcasts, taking a class, etc.
- Giving your feelings an outlet: This can take many different forms, but it’s one of the most crucial parts of self care. Bottling our feelings up not only makes us feel stifled emotionally, but it also can deplete our physical energy, mess with our sleep and immune system, and more. So finding a healthy way to explore and express your feelings is vital. This could be through art, music, dance, journaling, venting to a friend, talking with a therapist, writing, etc.
When you’ve decided that, think about your daily routine. Which parts excite you?
Maybe you love your morning routine. Ask yourself, what about this routine do I love? What parts of it make me excited to start my day? It’s likely that the routines you’re fond of are ones that meet one or more of those self care needs above. Finding out where you already do these things, how they make you feel, why you like them is a great way to brainstorm new ideas to reinvigorate other parts of your routine.
Now think about the opposite end. What parts do you dread? What parts are necessary but seem to put a drain on you?
These parts of your day might not be able to be totally transformed into something exciting (ex. If you hate washing dishes, there’s probably not a way to make them exciting, but there are things we can do while washing dishes–listening to music/podcast/audiobook, calling a friend, etc). to nourish other needs we have.
Then look at the gaps. What parts of your routine are you just not sure what to do with yourself?
While you absolutely need time for rest, it can also help energize you to give your rest time some variation.
Maybe one day your body is sore, so your rest time is better spent taking a bath. Or one day, if you have a lot of excess energy or are feeling anxious, your rest time could be time to craft or make art. You’re letting your mind disengage from other responsibilities, while still giving it much needed creative time.
Figuring out what you need from one day to the next is more important than sticking strictly to a routine, even if it is one chock full of self care. Because the way we cared for ourselves yesterday might not be the way we need to care for ourselves today!