Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Friday, June 26, 2020

Now well into Stage 2 of Alberta’s re-launch strategy, businesses and recreational facilities are working to put in place all of the safety measures necessary to help keep staff and visitors healthy. For some of us this means the tentative re-entry into the 9 – 5 grind complete with packed lunches and daily commutes. For others, our work lives are quite possibly forever changed with the line between work-life and home-life blurred to an extent not seen since the advent of technology connecting us at all times of day and days of the week.

Regardless of where you find yourself, there is value in reflecting upon where structure and routine can be of service in improving our mental outlook.

The Daily Routine

Wake times, mealtimes, play (or exercise) times, bath times, bedtimes are all ‘times’ that once punctuated our daily lives. These helped guide and order our days so that everyone was fed, cleaned and rested in a way that supports health. With social distancing in place we may have felt less inclined to structure our days in the same manner – or in any manner. In some ways it was a time of relaxation and a return to simple living as we witnessed spring turn to summer. But, in other ways the suppression of our daily routine left us wondering what day of the week it was and: “where on earth the past three months actually went?!”. As we ease ourselves back into the demands of life outside the home we can do ourselves a favour by gently re-introducing elements of our old routines. Just like returning to school after summer holidays as a child or teenager it takes some time, practice and a sense of humour to get back on track.

The Staycation

Looking forward to going somewhere is another one of life’s rhythms. So, one of the things that for some of us may come as a particularly hard news is the advice that Albertans restrict travel to within the Province until a later stage of re-opening. But: It’s Summertime! For many, the long stretch of fair weather usually heralds family travel or road trips to new places to learn and explore, or just to simply relax. But with travel between provinces discouraged, borders between Canada and the US closed, and non-essential travel restrictions in place for most destinations we need to find an alternative to mark this year’s downtime. Here is one fun activity to try: what about picking a place (or places) you wish you could go. Spend time researching facts about the country or location, find some recipes to sample the ‘local’ fare, research some famous musicians from the country and load up a playlist with their music or pick up a few new words in the country’s official language. Does your City have a neighbourhood where people from that country have chosen to live and now operate businesses that offer groceries or goods (souvenirs) for sale from their countries of origin? And, of course there is the opportunity to explore our home province and finally see those places that get named daily on the weather forecast.

What ideas do you have for re-entering routine? How does routine make you feel? In what ways do you notice an absence of routine affecting those you care about? Share your thoughts and ideas with us!