Written by members of the Youth Trust Mental Health Taskforce (over 18s)
In the midst of the current pandemic it’s easy to feel like everything is out of control and it can be difficult to stay positive and mentally healthy. So, what can we do? One of the best ways we can look after our wellbeing and mental health is to add some structure to our lives by setting and keeping to a daily routine. This can help us to maintain a sense of control in our lives, stop us from anxiously checking the news, give us something to look forward to and even improve physical health!
Seven tips for creating a routine:
1. Keep a regular wake up and bedtime. This helps to settle your body’s sleep cycle and if you need to take any medication at a regular time in the morning this is a great way to ensure you won’t miss it!
2. Add in regular mealtimes. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable will help to stabilise mood.
3. If you have any work to do, schedule this in for whenever you know you are most focused and motivated. For me, this is late morning and afternoon, I have no motivation to work in the evenings!
4. Don’t forget the fun stuff! Take time to practice a hobby (you could draw, bake, sing or learn something new), watch Netflix, call friends and family or just do whatever you find fun – we all need some down time to relax!
5. If you’re able to, set aside some time for exercise. You could go for a walk, cycle, or dance like no one’s watching! Exercise releases endorphins and getting outside has been linked with good mental health. If you can’t get outside there are plenty of ways to explore the world virtually whether that’s through Animal Crossing (or another video game) or free online tours.
6. Routines don’t have to be boring! You can break up your day whilst still having something new to look forward to each day. For example, you could set aside an hour each day to learn a new skill, play a new game or read a new book.
7. Finally, there’s no such thing as a perfect routine. It’s okay not be at your most productive during a pandemic! If you’re struggling to be productive, make a routine that focuses on self-care activities like pampering yourself.
My Weekday Routine
(2nd year undergraduate university student):
9am Wake up, yoga, shower and breakfast.
10am – 1pm Create a ‘to-do list’ and start going over lectures, seminars and readings.
1pm Lunch and breaktime!
2pm – 4pm Work on coursework or other assignments. I work in four 25-minute stretches with 5-minute breaks in-between to keep my motivation up.
5pm Cook and eat dinner.
6pm – 10pm Unwind, go for a walk, read, watch Netflix, catch up with friends and spend time on hobbies. This is also a great time to do some self-care like a guided meditation.
10pm Bed! I usually struggle to fall asleep so turning off screens and going to bed early means that even if I don’t fall asleep for a while I can still get 8-9 hours of sleep.
The mental health benefits of having a daily routine
A Self-Care Routine Will Help You Get Through Lockdown
Free guided meditation videos
The shows must go on! Free musicals by Andew Lloyd Webber
Virtual tour of El Caminito del Rey