Even though we knew lockdown was coming, it’s still not easy. Change is hard, even when it’s expected, because it disrupts our routines. Things get uncomfortable. We have to think about things that were automatic only yesterday and our focus gets scattered. This is normal and expected.
Now that we’re into week two of at home learning, we can revisit our routines, schedules and expectations, in order to make adjustments. Remember the 3 D’s: Delegate, Delay and Delete.
Some of the routines worthy of our attention include: sleep, meals, and socialization.
When our schedules get out of whack, sleep is often neglected. This is unfortunate at sleep has such a tremendous effect on our mental well-being, our hormonal response, and our intellect, specifically our focus and memory.
It’s also important to recognize that we may need more sleep during times of high stress so now is hardly the time to be skimping.
Do your best to keep a consistent bedtime. Set an alarm to GO to bed instead of (or as well as) an alarm to get up.
Mealtimes contribute to our circadian rhythm. They help our bodies find the flow to the day (especially helpful when it’s cloudy all day and dark so early).
Stress can interfere with our ability to hear our intuitive body signals of hunger. So while we’re juggling all of the things we may not notice that we’re hungry. Top that off with caffeine, another interference for body cues, and we may find ourselves tired, unfocused and grumpy instead of ‘hungry’. In that state we’re far more likely to make food choices that don’t feel aligned with our bodies.
Feeding our bodies at regular times can help curb that vulnerability later in the day. It can help us use pleasure foods for comfort instead of trying to make a meal out them.
You may decide to set alarms so that you don’t forget to remember. And keep it simple. This is more about eating regularly than what you’re eating. Remember that any food is better than no food.
One final thought on food: it’s okay that food is a comfort right now. Lean into that so that you can do it with intention and compassion.
Humans are social creatures. We NEED to connect with others. Now more than ever we need to be creative and intentional with how we socialize. Plan get togethers with friends by taking an online fitness classes; talk on the phone while you walk; plan watch parties (where you watch a show together-but-apart online or even on the phone); have lunch over Zoom.
I know that it’s not the same. It will be different. It’s like when I eat dairy free cheese; it’s not the same and I don’t expect it to be.
A couple of other things to make sure go into your schedule:
This can be with the socialization piece but it doesn’t have to be. Find some funny YouTube channels (lots of comedians have these) or a find a series on Netflix or Prime that makes you laugh.
**Pease share your favourites in the comments so that I can check them out!
Mental health check
It’s okay to need help to get through this. If medication isn’t your jam then rest assured that there are some great herbs and amino acids that can help with stress, anxiety and melancholy. Things like St. John’s Wort, gaba, theanine, and ashwagandha to name a few. Please check with a professional to see what’s right for you. Natural does not mean safe. This is especially true if you have medical conditions or take medication, even birth control.
A conversation with a professional or support group can go a long way. It’s important to know that you’re not alone in how you’re feeling.
You could also check out some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programs online. Many of these programs are covered by OHIP.
Everything that I’ve mentioned here isn’t a luxury. These are basic human needs. Sure your circumstances may require a modified version of implementation, that’s okay. Nuances are part of life. If I can help you tease that out, I’m happy to help.
I know that you’re tired. Be gentle with yourself. Beating yourself up will not lead to lasting change. After all, you can’t hate yourself healthy.
Until next time,
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