Since the arrival, and subsequent responses, of COVID-19 have re-defined normal living, many people are struggling to restore a sense of balance and structure to their lives. Continually responding to stress and living in chaos can have damaging effects on your health, one of which is your body’s anti-aging response. Stress reduces your body’s immunity and increases the risk of developing heart disease or chronic fatigue. These conditions make it harder to go throughout your day (no matter how normal or abnormal) with the energy and mental clarity you need. To ease the burden of abnormality, your best option is to create routines and habits that create feelings of both control and normalcy. Not sure where to begin? Consider these tips for living with the new normal.
Decide What Your Routine Needs
Your lifestyle before the pandemic outbreak may look totally different from what you are doing now. Before you get bogged down with trying to recreate what you had, take an inventory of what was working and what wasn’t. Are there any areas of your life now that you enjoy more than before the coronavirus? There are some things you may not be able to go back to, especially if you have been laid off or furloughed from your job. Since there are a lot of changes to take into account, decide what things are the most important to your routine. Some of the priority areas of life include domestic priorities, health and fitness, work responsibilities, and mental well-being. How you go about establishing the new normal in these areas will be easier when you know the secrets of settling into a new habit or routine.
Set Small Goals
You will not be able to get back to what you had before overnight. As odd as it may seem, you need to give yourself time to grieve or move past what you lost. If you lost your job, you’ve experienced a traumatic event. If you have had friends or loved ones pass away from the virus, you need to grieve and come to terms with the loss. You can’t shove your past aside and hit the ground running. Some people have that ability, but it isn’t always healthy. Give yourself smaller goals for facing the new normal. If you are supposed to make your finances work while drawing unemployment, take it one day or week at a time. If you need to be more productive and exercise, try to fifteen minutes a day. Don’t overwhelm yourself with frustrating changes all at once.
Practice Being Consistent
Establishing a routine means doing the same thing over and over again until your body and mind seem to function on auto-pilot. If you are working from home, you may have decided to change your alarm clock to allow for more sleep. Without a morning commute, you definitely have time to spare. However, is that time better spent on a healthy breakfast or quick workout? Keeping a schedule with your activities and eating can help you avoid poor dietary habits during the lockdown, but it also encourages more productivity in the different areas of your life. This will come in handy whether you are mowing the grass, planning for a presentation, or working on a term paper. Most smartphones and personal assistant devices have calendars and schedule settings that notify you of an event or activity. Purposely scheduling your activities and generating reminders can keep you consistent.
Make Life Fun
The new normal of your life and routine may be dull, especially if you have limited exposure to the outside world and the walls of your house are closing in. Create an opportunity for fun and entertainment in your new normal, whether you are alone or you have a family. It is a lot harder to be consistent with something when there is little motivation to keep going. Wearing a mask out in public is part of the new normal for many people. Opt for brightly colored masks that reflect your personality or find a pattern that makes people laugh. This makes the task more enjoyable for both you and those you come in contact with. Having to maintain rigorous cleaning and sanitation habits can be draining, but creating a playlist of your favorite tunes and dedicated time each day to have a cleaning party can really lift your spirits. Find a way to sprinkle in humor and fun to your routine, and you will be surprised at how much easier it is to adapt to the changes.
As you become more consistent with your routine, recognize your efforts, and reward yourself for successes. Try a movie rental on Friday nights and maybe splurge on a pizza. Finding a new normal only takes some adjustment and some commitment.
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