One of the most commonly given and useful pieces of advice in regards with coping and living in quarantine has been to establish a routine. This is incredibly important! Regardless of quarantine or not, having some sort of structure in your routine and your daily activities can help the mind feel more organized, less cluttered, and less vulnerable to messy – and potentially chaotic – thinking.
However, putting pressure on yourself to maintain a routine and coming up with a strict, hourly schedule to stick to can also be stressful. It can lead to you feeling guilty if you end up missing a block of time or getting distracted if you were supposed to be doing something else that was planned for that time.
So while having some sort of routine and order is important and good to have, it’s also important to remind yourself that even if you “mess things up,” that doesn’t mean that you’re a screw-up, terrible at planning, or that you can never maintain a routine. Each day comes with different circumstances, events, and barriers (yes, even if you’re spending nearly all of your time inside in the same space) and is going to end up being different in some sort of way.
Acknowledging that not sticking 100% to a routine you’ve created does not reflect your worth or ability is a necessary step to take. Remembering that tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to practice a routine can help too. This counts even if you did 0% of what you had planned.
Routines are ultimately meant to be guidelines too. They’re adaptable and flexible, and don’t need to be so rigid that every minute and hour is controlled. While it’s good to have patterns in your day-to-day life, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re going through the same few things in a mundane cycle every single day.
Do you have a routine? What did your routine used to look like? How do you feel if your routines stray off or don’t go according to plan?