So who has been lying around in bed until mid-morning and then stumbling around in their Pj’s with unbrushed hair and teeth for hours?

It is very easy to fall into bad habits now while we are forced to stay indoors and cannot follow our usual routines. And sure, it is nice to take a couple of days to be totally lazy and stay in your PJ’s all day. But watch out it does not become a daily habit for the entire lockdown period.

Why not, you may ask? What is the harm in opting out totally for the next 3 or more weeks?

According to mental health experts it is important to maintain some semblance of normality and routine during this stressful time.

The first thing is to accept that this is the new normal, for as long as it lasts. We don’t know what the next couple of months will bring so don’t speculate about it.

In this new reality, it is important to create a sense of structure and routine in daily life. This is something under your control and will help your mental wellbeing.

Make sure you’re getting up at about the same time every day, washing, eating. If you can, get outside. If you’re at home and you’re not allowed to leave, go on the balcony, or sit near an open window just to get some fresh air.

Resilience thrives with proper routine, nutrition, and rest.

  • Set a schedule for rising, meals and bedtime.
  • When you wake up in the morning, you probably want to practice some sort of hygiene… Shower, or at least wash your face, brush teeth and hair
  • Get dressed. Even if it is into comfortable lounge wear, a tracksuit or tights and a T-shirt, the act of changing out of your PJ’S into fresh clean clothes for the day is a positive step.
  • Make your bed
  • Do some stretching and breathing exercises
  • Eat breakfast
  • Breathe some fresh air, either in your garden or on a balcony or at a window.
  • Plan your day… For example include some of these activities:
    1 hour of self enrichment ie an online language course
    1 hour of housework or maintenance or clearing out cupboards
    1 hour of sunlight exposure, at a window if you have no other option
    1 hour for video calls or catchup with friend
    2 hours of watching TV shows or movies
    1 hour of workout
    1 hour of mental Stimulation ie crosswords, sudoko, chess, learning a new skill, etc
    1 hour of self-care ie writing in a journal, meditating, doing a facial or pedicure
  • Keep to 3 set mealtimes of breakfast, lunch and dinner.
    Prepare a healthy meal and sit down and eat it with focused attention (ie not watching TV etc)
  • Clear up and wash dishes
  • Follow a Bedtime routine of Bath or shower, brushing teeth and changing into fresh PJ’s
  • Allow at least 1 hour of reading at bedtime to wind the body and mind down.
  • SLEEP… You must get your 7 to 8 hours a night of quality sleep to boost your immune system.

Some of these may seem obvious but it is easy to gradually slide into an attitude of not caring about personal hygiene personal and a clean  environment. Especially if you are facing this lockdown alone. So be sure to brush your teeth, make your bed and wash those dishes every day!

Remember, this is not the time to self-medicate with drink or drugs. Get dressed as though you’re meeting people. Fill the day with projects and end it with pleasant rituals such as reading and catching up with friends over video. Build in the time to exercise, from YouTube in the living room or outdoors if you have a balcony or garden. Consider what anchors and relaxes you… meditating, music, yoga. Watch funny movies. Steer clear of social media that makes you anxious and restrict news consumption, especially one hour before going to sleep.

So, however long this lasts, make sure you have a good balance of eating, working out, getting good rest and having the best possible routine throughout the day.