By Deborah Beck Busis, LCSW
Director, Beck Diet Programs
I’ve had many sessions with clients recently who are understandably very uneasy, scared, and thrown off of their normal routines. One common thought I’ve heard them say is, “What does this really matter with all that is going on with the coronavirus?” While I understand that the state of the world can be overwhelming and frightening at the moment, I would argue that working to control your routines is important now more than ever.
Why is this? Well, one thing we know for certain is that when people follow a healthy routine, they feel good. Period. They physically feel better as a result of eating good food and exercising and they feel mentally better because they feel in control and proud of themselves. Right now there is so much going on in the world that you can’t control. What you do to feel healthy each day is something you can control. Taking control of the things you can control will feel so much better than letting everything slide out from under you. Right now when we’re all holed up at home and everything is closed, many of our usual sources of pleasure aren’t available to us (movies, meeting friends, dinners out, concerts, museums, etc.). Maintaining control over your routines is one major thing you can do to help boost both your physical and mental health, which is sorely, sorely needed right now.
When I was in session (remotely) with a client this week, she recognized that she was giving into coronavirus-related stress, and felt determined to turn things around. We made this list of things she could do whenever the stress and anxiety felt particularly strong:
- Go for a walk either outside or in her house.
- Call or video chat a friend.
- Use her meditation app and do a 3-5 minute meditation.
- Give herself permission to not be productive for 30 minutes and read a book, listen to a podcast, take a nap, etc.
- Declutter something
- Make a gratitude list – either of things she will be grateful for when this is over (stocked shelves at the supermarket, giving a stranger a handshake, meeting a friend for lunch) or something she’s grateful for right now (food delivery service, spending more time with her daughter, reading more).
If you don’t have a list of things to help you de-stress, make one now! Consult it daily and remind yourself why it matters to care about your routines right now. Regaining control or staying in control is guaranteed to make you feel better than the opposite, and we need all the good feelings we can get. This matters. This is important. You can do this.