Stick to a Routine During Social Isolation

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March 20, 2020

A family working around a kitchen table.A lot of us are staying home more than we are used to, and there doesn't seem to be an end coming soon. If you are self quarantining or residing in an area recommending a lockdown, here are some tips to avoid depression or anxiety.


  • Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day. It's fine to sleep in a bit, especially if you normally have an early alarm, but don't spend the entire morning in bed. Set a reasonable bedtime for you and your family. A good night's sleep promotes good health, both mentally and physically.

  • Change out of your pajamas and into day clothing, even if you will see no one but yourself. Take care of your usual grooming; shower, teeth and hair brushing, deodorant. It will help you feel more put together. But feel free to forgo the makeup and bra, if you wish.

  • Schedule one day to do shopping, keeping home as much as possible. You may have to go to more than one store or adjust your list depending on availability. You can order grocery delivery but there may be more of a delay than usual.

  • Set up a schedule for the kids, with school work, play time, free time, etc. If you have a dog that needs walking, be sure to do a good walk every day. It will give you a dose of vitamin D from the sun, the light excercise will help your mood and your dog will love it.

  • Arrange a time to exercise, especially if it is part of your normal routine. There are many videos available online and most fitness companies are offering special deals during this time. Your favorite instructor might be posting workouts on Facebook or YouTube. Be sure to mix it up so that you are working and stretching all your muscles.

  • If you are used to eating out regularly, be sure to order takeout or delivery to support those businesses. It helps them and makes your life feel more normal. If you can't get your favorites due to closure, perhaps try to learn how to make the dishes at home. Have a Chinese or Mexican night, or do homemade burgers and fries. You can also cook a special date night meal with your honey.

  • Have your family help you with deep cleaning or organizing tasks. You could work on a different section every day or every week. For example, Mondays: bathroom, Tuesdays: bedrooms, Wednesday: kitchen, etc. Be sure that everyone is picking up after themselves so you can make real progress toward a clean and organized home.

  • Set up times to talk to family members or friends. There are all sorts of apps and video conferences to stay connected when you can't meet in person. Especially remember older folks, who may not be able to get out for walks or shopping trips.

  • Try to limit screen time to reasonable levels. Try doing crafts, gardening or playing board games as an alternative to television, computer gaming and social media. Avoid checking the news all day long as this can cause anxiety. Set up a time, perhaps morning and evening, to catch up on current events.

Above all, try to enjoy this time in your own space and make it as rewarding as possible. The goal is to come out the other side.

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