Routines, even boring ones, actually bring peace of mind, and who can't use a little more of that right now? It's harder to get back into good habits if you take too much time off. If you stop exercising or go off your diet for the summer (or the pandemic), you can lose what you've accomplished, as many of us have. Maybe it's time to reestablish some old good habits and to develop some new ones.
I just came in from watering the lawn by hand. We had an epic sprinkler breakage and had to shut off the system, but I had my hose and knew the garden needed to be watered, so with hose in one hand and a Yeti full of coffee in the other, I started what has become one of my new rituals. Such simple tasks provide a meditative moment and help to keep me grounded.
Even though my heart wants to fly to Europe and walk the near-empty streets of Cannes right now, I can't. None of us can, so we have to find other ways to be content. I can get into being a homebody, especially with the Internet, but I would prefer to do more.
We used to go out a lot, and that has literally stopped. No restaurants, parties or premieres, no gatherings of any kind. I am seeing clients only on the Internet (which has turned out so much better than I ever thought it would!). Adhering to the health recommendations means finding new things to fill our lives, but some old routines will also do nicely if we maintain them.
If you're used to working with a bunch of people and are now on your own, the sense of isolation can be especially hard. This is also true if you are alone with no family close by. This is another reason to be ready, willing and able to fill your days with things that fill you up as much as possible. It's important to develop a system that feeds your mind and emotions and makes good use of your time.
You are not going to have a suite in bliss city, but your life won't fall apart either, not if you don't let it. I know it can be hard to find the joy in the little things, but for those who have survived worse, a regular Saturday movie night at home can be seen as a luxury.
Personally, I have gotten an audio interphase and am going to do presentations on social media and maybe even some music. As long as you're putting out positive energy, it's not a waste of time, because you are helping others as well as yourself. We are all going to have to get creative as this plague keeps us socially distant.
Maintaining your routines, keeping up a good diet, getting some exercise daily, and having some meaningful activities as well as everyday tasks that keep you grounded will make this period much easier.
It's important to maintain human connection. Remember to reach out to others if you are alone, and folks, this is what social media was invented for (although we didn't know about it at the time). For all the criticisms and problems, it is allowing us to stay connected in a way we could not have done without. Right now, those connections are worth their weight in gold.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of "The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time." Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at Barton@bartongoldsmith.com.)(c)2020 Barton Goldsmith, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.