The Importance of Routine and Good Mental Health Practices

Routines have always been important, but now, more so than ever. Without a good routine, days can often run together and leave you feeling untethered from reality. Having even a semi-structured day can prevent this and foster good mental health practices. It’s important to stick with a routine that allows you to be flexible, to foster the idea that the world is different right now, but that there is also room for choices.Having a routine during quarantine is incredibly important because we suddenly have so much free time and aren’t sure what to do with it. All of this can put a damper on mental health, so here are some ways to keep a healthy routine. 

Sleep is very important, so keeping a good sleep schedule will help improve mental and physical health, though it is completely understandable if you choose to stay up late, because there is virtually no structure for your days. This means you can sleep in as well, but you should still make time to engage in school work and other activities every day. This is new for everybody, so it’s important to try to understand that the teachers are dealing with the transition to online schooling as well. They take time out of their days to create assignments, so you should try to do your assignments as soon as you can. While the structure of school has changed, it is still in session. The school corporation suggested 3-4 hours of time allotted to work on schoolwork each day, which seems like a reasonable amount considering the normal structure of our school day, with four classes. 

Keeping up with good mental health practices is probably the most important thing to do during quarantine. The uncertainty we feel when our lives suddenly become unstructured can lead to the need to constantly refresh feeds and get the latest updates on the pandemic. This is not a very good idea. The updates could cause even more stress and it is hard to tell what information is legitimate, so if you’re glued to the news stress will simply pile up. If at all possible, it is best to stay away from constant news updates. 

This sudden surge in stress can lead to a need for satisfaction and some healthy options are exercising regularly- which can include walking the dog, indoor yoga or meditation, keeping healthy sleep habits, eating regular meals, etc. You should also make time to do things you enjoy like painting, going for runs, reading books, or origami. 

If you feel yourself becoming untethered from reality because of the unique situation we are in, it is important to take deep breaths and take time for yourself. Communication is key, so keeping up with your social interactions is actually more important than you might think. Facetime is a good way to keep in contact with friends you can’t see or family members you can’t visit. Check in with people often. This feels new and unreal to everyone, so talk to people about the way you might be feeling. 

And most importantly- stay inside! This is doing your part to help others. Self-isolating is such an essential practice and can save lives. Please stay at home.