Anxiety sucks, we can all agree on that. The problem in diagnosis and treating anxiety is it’s unique to each individual and that individual’s experience. As an example, driving in the snow causes me to have anxiety, likely you too, but why? The fear of crashing? The fear of getting trapped? A prior accident? We all have different issues and things can get out of hand very quickly.
One of the things we all can do to fight Anxiety is to create or recreate routines. Covid lock downs have created havoc for tens of millions. For those of us with Anxiety it’s even worse because those routines we clung to pre covid were shattered. Sure it wasn’t perfect but routines gave us some semblance of order and some semblance of control which goes a long way to fighting anxiety.
I haven’t worked at my office for nearly a year, it’s disrupted many of my mini routines and there are times when I am at home I feel lost. I get anxious because I have less structure, less focus, less interaction. It’s been challenging for me personally and I know there are many other people out there in a similar situation. Below are a few things you can do to establish (or Reestablish) routines.
- Go to bed and wake up the same time every day. This one is critical because it creates the conditions which your body can be more regulated, particularly your mind.
- Workout the same 3 days every week. Mon,Wed,Fri or Tues,Thurs,Sat. Whatever it is you do, yoga, stretching, lifting, running, walking get a consistent routine for specific days.
- 30 minutes a week work on your personal finances. The same time and day every week. My “personal finance day” is Sunday morning. I get coffee and from 10-11AM I look at my investments, balance the check book, pay bills, and look at my budget.
- Friends & Family time. This one is harder but every week plan a call, plan a walk, plan a meal whatever it is plan something with a friend or family member not spouse and kids but siblings, parents, good friends.
- Family night. This is the one for kids and spouses. A Netflix night, a movie, a game, a pizza whatever it is at least once a week (preferably every day) you plan one night with your immediate family, like a date night. Ours is Friday night, we get pizza and play cards or board games, and yes that includes occasionally boyfriends and girlfriends.
- Personal hygiene routine. Now this one might be self evident but since we have all been trapped at home many of us have let this slip. Sure we all still clean up but are you waking, showering, face cream, shave, brush, mouth wash, grooming etc in the same manner as you were before? How about bed time? Get back into a consistent hygiene routine everyday no days off.
These may sound obvious or they may seem simple, they should be and are. The point is routine and structure give us a great tool to combat anxiety. Without it your mind gets to create whatever reality it wants and if your imagination is like mine that might not be the best outcome. Routines require us to focus on the task, and be present. They also create positive outcomes from the effort and that has the residual effect of making you feel better about yourself.
Get back to basics and get your routines (or several) back on track to fight back against Anxiety!
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