While some people appreciate and adhere to a structured daily schedule, many others can't stand the perceived rigmarole of sticking to a predictable and strict routine. However, in times of unpredictability and heightened stress, creating and following a well-structured daily plan can make one feel more organized and alleviate feelings of helplessness.
The global and large-scale changes and disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced a majority of the global population to alter their typical daily schedule, which naturally makes it much more challenging to find a healthy way to cope with the dramatically magnified feelings of stress that the pandemic has brought with it.
Why a Routine Is Important
When times are uncertain and nothing around us seems to be functioning normally, a set of regularly performed tasks can help keep us on track with the day. This regularity can often act as a mental or emotional anchor in times of crisis. While monotonous tasks can seem boring and cumbersome, sometimes the sheer act of doing something repeatedly, everyday, can help take our mind off of the worries of daily life.
According to a survey conducted by Pew, 1/3rd of adults in the age group 18 to 29 are in the "high distress" category, in contrast with only 15% of adults aged 65 and older being in the same group.
This worrying trend can be mitigated before it becomes a widespread phenomenon, and that is where creating routines can prove useful.
Tips for Creating a Healthy Routine
For Working Professionals:
Keep It Simple - Due to the added strains of remote work and an erratic lifestyle caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, creating and sticking to a routine can seem difficult at first. Hence, it helps to start with simple, easy to do steps. Taking on more than you can handle all at once can prove counterproductive.
Set a Time and Stick to It - Whether it be going to bed, waking up, or taking your medication, adhering to a specific time can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Getting the rest you need, when you need it, reduces the chances of feeling drowsy and tired during the day.
Prioritize Your Day - Create a list of priorities that you will accomplish for the day or week. This helps keep you focused and efficient, reducing feelings of listlessness that an unplanned day can bring.
Appreciate the Little Things - While it may be a challenge to think positively during times of unprecedented uncertainty and fear, appreciating the simple facts of life such as the support of your loved ones can go a long way in helping keep your mental health in check.
For HR Leaders:
Reach Out Regularly - Even though remote work may change the way you interact with your teams, it is important to let them know that you are here to help and support them during times of need. Having a regular conversation with your workforce can help bring back a sense of normalcy, as they know that their HR managers are available when needed.
Regular Casual Meetings - In addition to reaching out to help and support, having regular non-work related team conferences over video or phone can help maintain a sense of camaraderie and teamwork in employees. This can also alleviate feelings of alienation and loneliness.
Regular Team Appreciation - In keeping with the theme of appreciating the positives in times of crisis, maintaining a regular pattern of motivating and appreciating team members through positive feedback and constructive criticism can help boost morale and keep them feeling valued and productive.
A Routine for Wellness
The ideas presented here are merely a starting point in developing a customized routine that fits the needs of the team and the individual. Any and all factors of a routine can be changed to fit the changing needs of times. However, the important part is to create a routine that works, and then stick to it! No routine will work well if it is left midway.
Hence, starting simply and maintaining consistency are key when it comes to developing a healthy routine that will improve your wellness in the time to come.
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