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Routine is the essence of normality, and normality is the foundation of security.  That loss of routine–as many people transition from daily commutes and public-facing work schedules to telework, stay-at-home orders, and even layoffs–can compound our (very valid) fears of this deadly global pandemic and the ensuing economic chaos. It’s helpful in times like these to remember the serenity prayer, applicable even to us atheists as a mantra. Establishing a daily routine is something you CAN control and doing so–even when (maybe especially when!) one isn’t required–can provide a comforting sense of normality.

Here are a few simple ways you can establish “small normals” during these seemingly never-ending and uncertain days at home:

First, make up your bed every morning. Or at least, try to straighten it up a bit. Put the pillows back in place and pull the covers up. Cat assistance is optional (at THEIR option, not yours, of course…)

make up bed

Next, change out of those pajamas (or those clothes you wore yesterday and the day before and the day before and…) Rock sweats most days if you must, but consider at least throwing on some jeans and your favorite fun t-shirt for Casual Fridays. Eschewing pantyhose and pumps altogether is totally reasonable.

put on clothes

Brush Your Teeth! It’s easy to let this one slide when we know our new coworkers won’t judge us for morning breath, but that minty fresh mouth perk is really for YOU, not them!

brush teeth

While you’re at it, brush your hair. You don’t have to curl and flatten and braid and pomade and spike and spray as you normally would, but a few passes with a comb never hurt anyone.

brush hair

Open some windows! Even if it’s not sunny out, the ambient light of a cloudy day is better than the dimness of drawn curtains and lamplight, so pull back those shades, open those sashses, and let the world in (weather permitting, of course…)

open windows

I know it’s tempting to eat straight out of whatever cereal box or takeout container your current meal is packaged in, but be fancy and put it on a plate. And while you’re at it, use actual utensils. You’re not at Medieval Times, afterall!

eat on a plate

Tidy up a bit. I’m not talking about Marie Kondo-level spring cleaning, but dwelling in a space that’s somewhat organized can do wonders for your mental state. Pick one or two small things each day to clean up/pick up/put away, and you’ll feel accomplished.

tidy up

And finally, don’t forget the most important thing: take time to goof off. Allowing ourselves time to breathe and feel at ease can invigorate our routines and remind us that the ultimate reason we wake up and toil everyday is to enjoy life when we can.

goof off

Given all of the above, I think the most important point is this: do NOT beat yourself up if you cant quite get there some days. Life and normality is not about perfection. It’s about taking the steps that you can when you can manage them. Here’s an article from Inc. about control and letting go that I found helpful during these out-of-control times.

Drop a comment below about the small daily routines that help you get through your day. And whatever you do, stay safe and healthy out there!