Guide for Getting Back to Routine

If you’re anything like us, you’ve been spending a lot of time trying to come to terms with what the new normal might look like. And as we emerge from the comfort of our COVID cocoons, it can be hard to tell. This time spent indoors has been one of reflection and evolution, engaging in habits new and old. Getting back into the swing of things can be challenging, especially with our last real life reference point 2 years in the rear view. We’re ready to take the first step. Here are a few tips for carving out your new normal.

Keep it simple
Though you may be tempted to trial 5:00 AM mornings, remember that routines are meant to simplify things for us. A mistake we often make is carving OUT plans without taking account of the sweat equity required. Rather than trying to emulate the routines you’ve spotted on LinkedIn, try building up to what’s optimal. A good rule to implement is the 90% rule. Set a goal that you are at least 90% sure you can achieve, and then work from there! Try to start with tasks that you have the frontal lobe energy for (the part of the brain related to performing both novel and routine tasks) and add to this baseline over time. Take it one step at a time, and always bear in mind that it can only be routine if it is consistent.

Gravitate towards what feels familiar
The last 18 months or so have accumulated their own distinct habits and behaviours, and they weren’t all created equal. Be honest with yourself about what you can keep and what you can leave in quarantine. One of the up sides of this return to routine is that you have a reference point! Try to recall what worked, and didn’t work pre-pandemic and use that to curate what you’d like your routine to look like now. Be as specific as you can but start doing this now. It’s been a while since you’ve had to hop on the train to head to work or go through your entire a.m. grooming routine. These things take time. Try a slow, day-to-day implementation so that when the time comes, it’s accounted for.

Ease into movement
Ready for a truth bomb? Physical activity is down worldwide. With some studies showing a reduction of up to 50% daily steps in just the first month after the World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic, we hope it helps to know that you’re not alone. Movement has been on the end-tail of many of our to-dos. With more places to go and people to see, lack of locomotion is becoming evident. Like after any other period of inactivity, the best thing to do here is to check in on your body and get a good account of the state of things. These mobility exercises will help target the areas that may have felt it the most. As you pursue this road to better physical health, remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Try not to get discouraged and always keep in mind that your journey is yours and yours alone.

Focus on your well-being
This one might sound easier said than done, but prioritizing wellness is a great way to ensure you grow into the groove of routine. You’ve got to feel good to do good, and treating yourself well is an excellent place to start. Whether that be by acknowledging your mind, regimenting your supplementation (starting with the essentials), or taking a break when you need to, placing emphasis on your overall well-being is an assured way to ease into your new normal.

Be patient with yourself and others
Change is hard, especially when things look the same (but aren’t). Social situations may be more challenging now than you remember, and small talk may be more painful than you recall. One positive thing about this collective catnap is that we did it together, and the reality is that as people have changed, so have you. Your charisma may seem MIA. Rather than trying to erase the part of yourself that’s cringy, erase the part that makes you cringe. Be honest and open, and let good favour handle the rest.