Life in Lockdown: The importance of maintaining a daily routine

by Jacqueline Holloway

So here we all are, dealing with 21 days of a national lockdown. It’s evident that practically every single person’s routine is disrupted in some way or another. Now, hearing that you can’t leave your house for three weeks seems like an open invitation to vegetate on the couch while some random Netflix series numbs your brain, right? Wrong. 

Now, more than ever, it is essential to maintain a daily routine. It may seem almost impossible to keep up a routine without actually leaving the house, but with a little help of modern technology and the creative brain, there are a variety of ways of doing this. 

The first obvious reason to maintain a daily routine is that it will make things a lot easier when everything goes back to normal. Have you ever had those times when, during the holidays your sleeping pattern is basically non-existent, then the night before school starts it’s difficult to fall asleep at all? That’s because you didn’t keep up with a routine during the school holidays. Even more so, this three week lockdown is a great time to enhance creative talents or personal hobbies. The essential benefit of a routine for creativity is the regularity. 

Illustration by Author

Another very important reason behind keeping up a daily routine is that it helps you maintain a regular level of physical health. During the lockdown, you won’t be able to go for your daily jog, or go to the gym, for example. The only things you’re left to rely on are a healthy diet or exercise at home, which may be a little difficult for some people. 

Many people also see this as a time to do nothing productive, ‘chill out’ on the couch and eat snacks the whole time. Additionally, sleeping patterns may be essentially non-existent since there’s almost no reason to get up early. Your physical health, naturally, takes a bit of a dip then. This is where a daily routine can help - it’s not too jarring of a change for your body physically. 

The third reason that emphasizes the importance of maintaining a daily routine is what it can do for your mental health. There have been legitimate studies on the psychological benefits of a daily routine; some that show this can help with reducing stress and anxiety as well as alleviating, amongst other things, bipolar disorder and insomnia. Dr. Steve Orma, a cognitive behavioral therapy clinical psychologist, says, “To manage anxiety, you need to consistently check in with yourself about what you’re worrying about, then address it,” to which he added, “Just as we create routines with exercise for our physical bodies, we should do the same for our mental health.” 

Furthermore, oversleeping is a symptom of depression, which is an easy habit to fall into during a time like this. Keeping up a daily routine can help with this. It also helps you to keep a positive and proactive mindset, which aids in general productivity. 

The next question you may have is how do you keep up a daily routine during this lockdown? First and foremost, setting alarms or daily reminders is one of the single most effective ways to stay in routine - that blaring sound is enough to motivate anyone to get off the couch. If this is too much effort, or you don’t want to rely on technology that much, another effective way to combat the struggles of maintaining a routine is making to-do lists. 

Daily planner designed by Author

Keeping a daily planner, or creating a bullet journal, is a wonderful way to keep up. Who doesn’t love the satisfaction that comes with making a little check next to a chore? You can also rely on the people who are stuck in lockdown with you, your close friends or relatives. 

Accountability is a great way to remain proactive and maintain a routine. Finally, and most unexpected, taking a break every once in a while can help as well. Sometimes a daily routine can get a little monotonous, so take one day to break away from this, and be a little spontaneous. You’ll find that you’ll be refreshed and ready to kickstart your routine. 

There you have it, all the reasons for keeping up a routine. Whatever your personal motivation may be for keeping up a routine, it will broadly relate to at least one of these reasons. Be it for the sake of ease of falling back into things when the lockdown is over, or to maintain your physical or mental health, there are a variety of ways to keep up a daily routine. No more vegetating on the couch or in bed with a mind-numbing Netflix series as ambience. If you have the right mindset towards approaching your daily routine, it will be a piece of cake!

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