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Now that things seem to be finally starting to return to normal, life can seem a little strange. After spending so long in lockdown; maybe home schooling the kids, working from home, not being able to get to the gym or go for that weekly dinner or drinks session with friends, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things. Here are six simple steps to getting back into a routine, to make the transition a little easier – and better yet – to help you thrive!

For many of us, spending so much time stuck indoors over the past few weeks probably means that the house is in a bit of disarray. If you’ve been working from home and/or home schooling the kids, the house is not only functioning as your family home, but as a classroom, an office, a gym, and a playground, if not more. Resetting the house and setting it up for daily life again will not only make it easier for everyone in the household to get back to daily life, but it will also help to clear the mind and refresh the energy of the home. Have a think about how you want your home to function, what your goals are, and maybe even getting rid of some of the things you’ve come to realise you don’t need any more – nothing like a big cleanse!

Speaking of goals, now is the perfect time to reflect and reassess your goals. A global pandemic, like any tragic event, should give us all pause to re-address our goals and priorities. Think about what is really important to you. What did you miss most while locked down? What are some of the things you wish you’d done before the crisis began? What are some of the things you were focussing on beforehand that now seem completely unimportant? Write a list of all these things and use it to make a list of new goals to focus on. Remember: The most important thing about setting goals and getting back into a routine is creating an action plan for achieving these things. Break them down into simple, achievable steps and start making moves to tick those things off your list. Better yet, enlist the help of an expert life coach, who can help you map out a plan and start kicking goals.

One of the most important factors in getting back into a routine is nailing your morning routine. And one of the best ways to do that is to start your mornings with mindfulness. That doesn’t mean meditating every morning, if that’s not your thing. It simply means being mindful of your thoughts and actions each morning, to set yourself up for a more intentional day. First, take a few deep breaths before getting out of bed and set your intention for the day. What do you want to achieve today? Then, go about your morning routine (it can help to write this down in advance, or at least have a think about it). Creating a regular routine that you follow each morning can help you start your day feeling in control of things, feeling productive, and set you up for a mindful and successful rest of your day.

A big scare like a pandemic should have us all thinking a little more about our health and recognising how important it is. Any good routine should include prioritising your health and wellbeing – both mentally and physically. Now that restrictions on getting out for some exercise have been lifted, it’s time to set that appointment with a personal trainer, start hitting the gym again, or simply start making small changes like getting a half-hour walk in each evening after work. Making time for cooking at home is another great way to focus on your health and is also an excellent way to de-stress after work or school or your hectic day. Getting the whole family involved can be good fun, too. Finally, be sure to check in with your counsellor or psychologist to keep up your goals for your mental health and set a new appointment schedule, if necessary, to fit your new routine.

If you’ve never kept a journal before, now is a great time to start. Journaling is an excellent way to set clear goals, keep track of your progress, and keep in check with how you’re feeling. It can help you to make sense of what’s going on in your head and even notice patterns which lead to feeling low, see what’s causing you to lose focus on your goals, or identify what’s causing you stress or anxiety. It can also be a fantastic resource to take with you to your counsellor or psychologist, as it will jog your memory about what’s been on your mind each week.

Finally, it’s important to know that things are going to feel a little strange for a while, and it’s OK to struggle getting back into a routine. Setting a list of new goals can be daunting, but what can be even more so for some people, is returning back to a life that’s not so different to the one we thought we’d left behind. Returning to the norm after such a big disruption can make you feel stuck in a rut, and even a little disappointed that you didn’t achieve more while the outside world was on hold. If you’re feeling this way, setting yourself a new challenge can be a way to focus on your future growth, rather than what you could have or should have done in the past. From learning a new language, to getting your studies finalised, to getting fit, or simply making more time for yourself – set yourself a challenge, keep notes about it in your journal, and work your plan for the challenge into your new routine. After all, now is the time for a new normal, whatever that looks like for you!

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen