Coping with COVID

Provide Yourself with Structure

 

May 5, 2020

 

Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

One of the most important functions employment, school, church, Thursday night card games, a weekly appointment with your therapist, or any other regularly scheduled activity provides is a sense of structure.

Structure helps us order our days and our weeks. It is particularly important to create structure for our families and ourselves during the COVID-19 pandemic as it provides us with a way to manage our anxiety and lack of control. It can also help us maintain our health.

A regular time for getting up in the morning and going to bed helps us regulate our circadian rhythms (our normal wake/sleep cycle). According to the National Institute of Health, maintaining a regular waking time and bedtime helps with reducing the effects of various chronic health conditions such as sleep disorders, obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.

Here are some ways to create structure for yourself:

 

Photo by Jeremy Sallee on Unsplash

Establish a regular bedtime and a regular waking time. Do your best to maintain it throughout the week. The more you can be consistent with your schedule, the easier it will be to maintain it. An example might be setting an alarm to wake up in the morning at 7-7:30 am and plan on going to bed at 11-11:30 pm.

Establish regular activities to do during the day at consistent times, such as preparing and eating meals, completing school work, meditating, going for a walk, watching TV, reading, or playing games (video or board).

Establish regular weekly activities to do, such as laundry on Wednesday, cleaning the house on Thursday, talking with your parents or grandparents by phone or video on Sunday.

I hope these ideas will help you cope with the uncertainty we are all living with now until the pandemic has passed.

 

  – Mark Walker, LPC