As we continue adjusting to spending time at home, Counsellor Sarah Barr has ideas on creating the best routine for lowering anxiety.

Without a routine, our life can feel stressful and unpredictable. If you have a mental health condition, this unpredictability and lack of structure can cause you extra stress, worry, as well as feelings of dread and fear.

Having a routine means we know what is coming next, we feel in control, secure and safe.

For many if not all of us, our routines may be completely turned upside down at the moment.

To help lower your anxiety, here are a few suggestions on creating a new routine to best support your overall wellness:

1. Personal care

Try to go to bed and wake up roughly around the same time every day. Get up, get washed and dressed. It is tempting to stay in your pyjamas,
however by doing so it will impact negatively on your motivation and mindset for the day.

Eat well, stay hydrated and journal in the morning.

Focusing on what you are thankful for. Keeping your mindset focused on what you have control of.

2. Social interaction

Stay connected with friends and family, will boost your mood as well as give you a strong sense of belonging. Arrange a dinner or a quiz through zoom or a group chat. Again focusing on something that will make you smile and feel happy.

3. Limit social media/news updates

Too much exposure to news or information via social media will feed your anxiety and fear. Try limiting your time reading news updates or scrolling through social media to twice a day. Perhaps 10 minutes in the morning and ten minutes in the evening (but not too near bedtime).

By creating this new habit, you are taking control and implementing new boundaries that will help you to protect your mental health.

4. Exercise

Going for a walk if you can, gardening, stretching, online exercising classes or yoga will all benefit your mental health, mood and energy levels. Try to be consistent and do your exercises at the same time each day if possible.

5. Downtime

Perhaps after dinner, or when kids are in bed, create some downtime for yourself. This can last for 10 mins or 2 hours. Ideas you could try include; guided breathing exercises YouTube) or downloading mindfulness apps like Calm or Headspace.

Journaling, yoga, watching your favourite show, giving yourself a facial, taking a bath or reading a book.

Finally a simple strategy that can help if you are trying to work on your routine is to plan your day. This doesn’t mean accounting for all your time, but thinking about what’s most important for you to give your time to and when.

Take care ~ Sarah.