We're hearing alot of talk these days about how we should and shouldn't be spending our time during this pandemic.
As an Occupational Therapist (OT) I'm very used to chatting to people about time management and routines. OTs are very skilled at helping people to make a routine that is a realistic representation of where a person is at in their mental health journey. In my work, I help people to identify changes they might like to make to their day (if any) and then support them to figure how to sustain these changes in a way that positively influences their health and wellbeing. For me, walking beside someone with where they're at in their recovery journey is the most important thing. It doesn't always have to be all about action and goal setting. Sometimes you need to hit pause before you can reset.
With all of the routine talk that is surrounding us at present, know that if you're not quite there yet, if you're not quite ready to make any changes or adapt your life, that is OKAY.
Sometimes abandoning all routine might just be the only way for you to cope right now. Perhaps you lost your job. Maybe you haven't showered in days. Maybe you haven't left the house at all. Maybe cocooning is actually easy enough for you and in some ways having the restrictions in place might even give you an excuse to stay put under your covers. Sometimes we can be hard on ourselves to keep up with others. Have you ever heard another person chatting about their week or maybe you've seen photos from a social media platform and thought to yourself "gosh, I wish I had the same motivation" or "where do they get the energy to do so much"? We've all had these thoughts at some point. This is where you're at right now in your journey. This is okay.
For others, perhaps you're starting to adapt to the new restrictions and settle into them. It may not be easy but you're likely ploughing ahead, maybe trying out new hobbies and spending time outdoors. This is where you're at. This is your journey.
Everyone's journey navigating this tricky time is different and valid. We're all doing the best that we can with the resources that we have and know. Maybe pause now to have a think about your journey today, how have you felt today? What kind of thoughts have been swimming around in your mind? How has your body been feeling?
Now invite your attention to notice the here and now. Have a think about 1 action you might be able to take after you read article that speaks a little kinder to your heart.
Some examples might include:
Using a cold or warm cloth soaked in water to wipe down your face
Having a shower
Listening to your favourite song
Opening the window and inviting in some fresh air
Taking a long inhale and exhale
Saying to yourself "I'm doing the best that I can"
Here is a link to a great article written by a previous colleague of mine when I worked in St Patrick's Mental Health Services in Dublin. The author is also an OT and gives a great description of what it means to find meaning in your routine.
If you'd like to figure out how to start making some changes to your routine feel free to check out my video here. It might be useful to grab a pen and paper also.