Last reviewed on 5 October 2020
At the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in the UK, a lot of things changed overnight. Work, school, hobbies, socialising and all the other activities that make up our daily routines came to an abrupt halt.
Over time, you might have found this has had an impact on your mental wellbeing. That’s because having a routine and structure is important for good mental health. Doing things on a regular basis that you’re comfortable with and that you enjoy can help you to feel less anxious and be more productive.
With restrictions having changed, you’ll have the chance to get back into a routine – whether that’s similar to what you did before or quite different. Some of you might be looking forward to the next chapter, others might be apprehensive about it – but we all need to be able to adapt to it.
Here are Good Thinking’s tips for kick-starting your routine as we come out of lockdown.
If you’ve been off work or working from home during lockdown, your sleeping habits might have changed – perhaps you’ve been going to bed later or struggling to get up at your usual time? If you’ve been feeling anxious or stressed, you might have had trouble falling asleep or even experienced vivid dreams.
In fact, a June 2020 study by King’s College London/Ipsos MORI found that almost two-thirds (63%) of people in the UK say their sleep has been worse than usual during the coronavirus outbreak. As you prepare yourself for going back to work, it’s vital that you get your sleep back on track.
What do you really love doing? Include things in your daily routine that help you to feel calmer and that make you smile. Try to factor in time for being active too, as this can help with your mental wellbeing. This might include:
Don’t forget to include all the new activities you’ve enjoyed during lockdown, like those family walks in the park and Zoom calls with your friends. Although the last few months have been difficult in many ways, you might have made some positive changes in your life. This is a great opportunity to decide what works for you and leave behind the things that don’t.
Getting organised can help you to feel on top of things and be more disciplined. Grab your phone or a piece of paper and make a note of your goals for the coming weeks and months and what you need to include in your daily/weekly routine in order to achieve them.
Read our advice about how to develop a healthy new habit, which includes a useful technique that increases the chances you’ll stick to something new.
Whatever your job, it’s likely that things will be quite different going forward. You might have a different schedule (e.g. staggered start times) and a different work environment (e.g. protective screens), for example. After several months at home, you might simply find it a challenge to get yourself out of the door and go to work.
If you’re a parent or carer, you might have some questions about preparing your child for their return to school – from understanding what the school environment will look like to getting them into a better sleep routine.