MENTAL HEALTH TIPS: Finding Daily Routines

By Dan Priore, Marketing & Communications Coordinator

No matter what our daily habits and patterns may be, it’s always comforting to know we can rely on them. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has created a world of new discomforts. And with that, it has changed home and work routines, morning and evening schedules and, in some cases, made us completely lose track of keeping up with important personal activities.

Per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): Keystone PA, routines create structure, and within that structure we feel more stable and in control of our own well-being. As a result, NAMI suggests trying to create new routines that mirror old ones.

Jennifer Regester, LCSW and clinical director for Anchorpoint’s family counseling services, points out no routines means no boundaries, structure or flow.

“At home, people work past 5 o’clock; they push back their sleeping schedule; they are constantly balancing taking care of others,” Regester explains. “I encourage people to get space, wherever that space may be and whatever it may look like. Even in this world of social distancing, that psychological and body space that you can truly claim as yours is so needed now.”

Focusing on what you can control is a first step in building back daily routines.

Anchorpoint’s Donna Goss, MA, LPC, suggests practicing mindfulness activities, while asking yourself how you envision moving through your day.

You can put your mind at rest and lower stress by exercising, deep breathing, meditating or listening to music. A mindfulness activity can even be as simple as using your five senses to stay present in the moment.

“For my clients who feel isolated, I tell them to get outside and be in nature as much as possible,” Goss explains. “It’s asking questions like, ‘What are five things I see or notice? And what are four things I can hear? Three things I can feel, two things I can touch and one thing I can taste?’”

Goss also recommends journaling both positive and negative thoughts, which can include worries, fears and experiences throughout a given day.

In its “Coping With Covid-19 Concerns,” the Pennsylvania Department of Health encourages staying calm and taking time throughout the day to breathe.

“I’ll tell my clients to make a list of five things they are grateful for, either at the beginning or end of the day,” Goss says. “If you believe in God, I’ll ask, ‘How did you see God working in your life today?’”

While it is important to stay informed about the pandemic from reliable sources, Goss advises to not be on social media for too long because consuming lots of negative information can be upsetting. The PA Department of Health suggests using your phone for good instead by actively checking in with loved ones.

For more insight from Goss, check out her full list of suggestions on how to manage high anxiety and stress during the pandemic.

We are here to help during this difficult time. If you or someone you know is struggling with loneliness, anxiety, depression or other struggles, give us a call at (412) 366-1300 or use our Digital Intake Form to schedule an appointment today. Hope is only a phone call away. To receive more resources like this, you can sign up for our COVID-19 Resource Email List by clicking the link below.