Familiar activities can provide comfort for both adults and children during challenging and uncertain times. As we continue to process different changes in our lives due to COVID, having schedules and routines can help us feel a sense of ease and security as we know what to expect throughout our day. 

Daily routines might include the things you normally do to help you get ready to start or end your day. It can be helpful to have a routine set around your self-care needs such as: meals, hygiene, outdoor time, productivity, and time to move your body as well as time spent socializing. As humans we have basic needs to be met and it can be helpful to implement them within our routines to help us manage our self-care needs.

Some signs that implementing a routine may be helpful for you is if you:

  • Lack time management skills
  • Struggle with anxiety and stress
  • Have a heavy workload
  • Notice your basic needs such as sleep/food intake aren’t met daily
  • Struggle with revenge bedtime procrastination

Difference between Routines and schedules

Schedules 

are generally a timed plan 

Routines

Regular habitual steps needed to complete each part of the schedule.

Revenge Bedtime Procrastination…

Do you find yourself refusing to go to sleep because you value the freedom of late-night hours more than sleep but regret it in the mornings when you wake up tired?

If so, you’re not alone, a lot of people, especially busy parents, caregivers, overworked employees and people with anxiety or poor time management skills may struggle with this phenomenon called revenge bedtime procrastination. It can feel freeing in the moment as it allows you to regain control over your time and reclaim hours for yourself and, at the same time it can negativity impact your sleep. If you find that you struggle with revenge bedtime procrastination, this can be an indicator that you may feel like you do not have much time for yourself throughout your day and thus, redirect your frustrations by vengefully delaying your bedtime despite knowing the consequences. To avoid this pattern of behavior it can be helpful implementing a routine that allows you to sprinkle in some “me time” throughout the day.

“I always felt like the nighttime was so peaceful, like nothing was expected of me which encouraged me to stay up more resulting in me feeling even more tired.”

– Community Member

If you do feel like you don’t have any time to do some things you enjoy, jot down some of your favorite activities that make you feel good.

This can be watching a show, catching with friends, journaling, reading, listening to music, playing video games or really any type of hobby or interests you have. After jotting it down, think of ways to implement that into a part of your day for example if one of the days you love to do is listening to music, adding that to your morning routine can be a nice way to help you start your day. This can give you have something to look forward too – while allowing you to grasp more control of your time.

Below are some more ways on how to start implementing a routine… 

  1. Decide what you want to add on to your routine…
    Check-in with your needs- what is it that you would like to add more of in your life? Whether that’s more time to exercise or time for your hobbies- add that to your routine so it becomes a part of your day!

  2. Make small tasks a part of your routine…
    As William Mcraven once said, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” When you accomplish one of the first tasks of the day, it can encourage you to do another task and another and another!

  3. Set up your environment to invite the types of actions you want to do
    Your environment is connected to your actions. For example, when you put on your sneakers your mind has an idea that you’re probably going to be doing some physical activity. Similarly, if you tend to lay on your couch in your living room watching tv, that might not be the best place for you to get some work done. Apart of setting up a routine that works for you is figuring out ways to make your space more inviting to do the types of actions that you want.

  4. Ensure Flexibility…
    Rigid routines may be discouraging. As things are constantly changing, so allow your routine to change with you – add or subtract according to how it feels for you.

Tips to Implement Routines for Children…

Routines and Schedules are important for children because they influence a child’s emotional, cognitive, and social development. They help children feel secure and help them understand expectations.

Here are some tips on how to implement a routine for the kids in your lives…

  1. Let them know what to expect…
    Communicate to the kids in your lives about what their day-week may look like. Implement a schedule and, if there is going to be a change within the schedule, let them know in advance along with how it will impact them and their day so that they’re aware of it.

  2. Use Visuals…
    Tools such as visual schedules and boards can prepare kids for transitions and allow them to see what you mean when you communicate the transitions.

  3. Build routines around their schedules
    Having a routine before each task can remind them of what’s to come. For example, if nap time is scheduled for 12pm, implementing a routine of using the bathroom before naptime, allows them to understand what is to come.

Humans are creatures of habit, and while we like moments of spontaneity, we feel comfortable when we know what to expect and can follow a plan or schedule. Routines can help keep us focused and avoid some of the depression that many people may experience as a result of the COVID pandemic, isolation, fear and uncertainty. So if you haven’t already implemented one, this is your sign!

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