Maintaining Routine in Times of Uncertainty – COVID-19 Anxiety Management Tools
The human brain is hardwired to seek out stability, structure, and routine (Wiest, 2018). Our subconscious mind understands this construct to be safe, which in turn positively influences our mood and emotions. Additionally, routines promote predictability and can decrease our flight or fight response, which reduces arousal and stress (Wiest, 2018; “Why Routine Is So Important”, 2017). Routine or habits also have numerous benefits from a time management and efficiency standpoint (“Why Routine Is So Important”, 2017). However, perhaps most significant when considering the benefits of routine is the sense of structure/safety and the sense of purpose they provide for children and adults, respectively.
So, during such confusing and turbulent times, it’s no wonder we feel off balance. While many of us are no longer heading into an office or a classroom, it is more important than ever that we maintain a sense of routine as a way to anchor ourselves during this time of deregulation. In collaboration with our amazing clients, the therapists at Original Path Counseling have created a list of suggestions for you to implement or incorporate into your daily schedule to decrease anxiety and distress.
- Sleep routine – Maintain a weekly bed/wake up time
- Dress for Success – No need to sport a suit and tie, but change out of those PJs!
- Exercise – 30 minutes of daily activity that gets your blood pumping
- Media Exposure – Structure the frequency/length of time in which you check the news/social media
- Meditation – Take 5 minutes out of your day to be present with your thoughts
- Social Interaction – Plan time to speak to your support systems via various apps like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Marco Polo
- Clean Space – Take the time to declutter your space and make it calming/comforting place for you to spend your time
- Journaling – Find some time to get your thoughts and experience down on paper
- Make your bed – This might seem like a small task, but it can prime your brain for more productivity when you’re able to start your day with a win
- Podcast/Book – Find a new book or reread a comforting old book. Apps like Libby offer the ability to listen to audiobooks for free!
- Slow Down – Have grace with yourself, we’re all navigating this ever evolving situation the best way we know how!
If you or someone you know is struggling due to anxiety related to COVID-19, please reach out and seek help with a trained professional. We are currently offering telehealth support to both new and existing clients. Here at Original Path Counseling Centers, we are eager to work with you to ultimately leave you feeling like your best self.
By Atsede Scarseth & Hannah Minter