The COVID-19 pandemic is currently posing major challenges for all of us. As a consequence, a variety of measures such as “social distance” are currently determining our everyday life.
While these measures are necessary to limit the spread of the virus, they can also negatively affect factors that we normally promote and help stabilise our mental health. Our biological clock contributes significantly to our daily well-being. This clock ensures that our body and our behaviour remain in harmony. Therefore, predictable daily plans and regular routines can help to keep this inner clock in time, so that we feel noticeably better.
In the current situation, we lose normal routines such as going to work every day, hobbies, or social contact at work or in private life, makes it much more difficult for our body clocks to keep “in time”. This could lead to symptoms that we usually experience when we are slightly jet lagged or after a night shift. Symptoms can include loss of appetite, lack of energy, sleep problems, tiredness or a depressed mood. We can counteract this by following regular daily routines to stabilise the internal clock.
Here are some simple tips to improve the regularity of our daily routines:
1. Setup a routine for ourselves while we are in quarantine.
2. Get up at the same time everyday.
3. Spend time outside everyday, if you cannot go outside, try to spend at least 2 hours next to a window or if available on the balcony to see the daylight and try to relax.
4. Set times for some regular activities each day such as talking to friends on the phone, physical fitness exercises, a meditation exercise or cooking. Do these activities at the same time everyday.
5. Challenge your day and stay active everyday, ideally using different exercises at the same time everyday. The exercise also helps you fall asleep better in the evening.
6. Take meals regularly and at the same time everyday. If you are not hungry, eat at least one small snack at the prescribed time.
7. Social interaction is important, even during social detachment, seek social contact often, where you can exchange thoughts and feeling with another person in real time. Video chats, phone.... schedule these interactions at the same time everyday.
8. Avoid naps during the day, especially later in the day. If you cannot resist a nap, limit it to 30 minutes and avoid naps in the late afternoon or evening. A nap makes it harder to fall asleep in the evening.
9. Avoid bright light (especially blue light) in the evening. This includes computer and smart devices . The light of the blue spectrum suppresses the hormone that helps us fall asleep.
10. Stick to a consistent sleeping a working time that matches your natural daily rhythm.
Since we have no access to the gym facilities and have limited space for exercise, the Active Monash team have developed Active at Home to help you stay active during this time. You’ll find workouts, classes and much more. Check it out today!