Tips for Your New Normal
Let’s talk about anything other than Covid-19. We all know that Texas is going to be the first state to take steps to reopen next week. Retail shops will now be allowed to operate as “to-go”, and non emergency surgeries will be reinstated.
Whatever you have been doing during this time; you are probably doing the best you can and doing a dang good job at it! It is important not to compare your situation to someone else’s. We are all going through this pandemic, but we do not all have the same struggles. It’s important to be gentle with yourself right now and prepare for when things do go back to “normal” (whatever that means).
When things do go back to “normal”. Chances are you will have to adjust to less free time and going back to a 9-5 work schedule. Even if you have managed to maintain a job during this shut down, if you’ve been working from home there is still going to be an adjustment period. We will all be commuting once again and spending the majority of our days in an office rather than in our living rooms (or home office). This change is going to hit a lot of us REALLY really hard. Luckily, we have some tips to aid in the adjustment!
Start Planning and Practicing NOW
This one may seem like a no-brainer but your daily schedule during quarantine probably looks drastically different than your days before the shut down. Your daily commute has entirely disappeared and likely, your workday morning routine has disappeared along with it. As much as we hate to tell you this, you should start inching your way back to your typical morning routine pre-shut down. Get up at your normal time and get ready as you normally would. This also means you may have to start going to bed earlier the night before. Getting back into your morning routine will not only help in the long run, it’s going to help you feel more accomplished and productive in the short term as well.
Get Yourself on a Meal Schedule
This kind of falls in line with our previous tip, but it’s important enough to be considered its own tip. Your pre-quarantine eating habits were probably on a schedule, even if you didn’t do it on purpose. You probably had certain times of the day where you had time to grab a meal or snack, and these times probably naturally happened around the same time everyday during your work week.
Even if you don’t remember these eating times specifically, try to get yourself on some sort of eating schedule throughout the day and stick to it! Every 3 hours is usually a good meal or snack window. Try not to eat outside of your set times, especially if you aren’t hungry. Most of us have been snacking out of boredom rather than hunger.
Being on a meal schedule will help curb your appetite when you get back to work. Condition yourself to eat on a normal schedule so that you don’t find yourself craving a snack during that mid-morning meeting at the office.
Keep Staple Foods in the Kitchen
This tip is specifically for eating at home. For the first couple of weeks out of quarantine you may have some trouble with time management which may prevent you from cooking dinner on a regular basis. Instead of running to the nearest drive thru, consider keeping some staple ingredients that can be thrown together to create a complete meal in around 20 minutes. It doesn’t have to be fancy or delicious, it just needs to fuel your body appropriately.
Some of our favorite staple foods are:
Ground Turkey. We keep 2-4 lbs on hand at all times.
Sweet Potatoes. These things are so versatile and taste great as a side with everything!
Frozen Vegetables. Preferably the steam in a bag. They keep for a long time and steam in as little as 5 minutes.
Frozen Fruits or Fresh Fruit. Both of these are great snacks or even dessert.
Plain (or flavored) Instant Oatmeal. Personally, we keep a large box of plain oatmeal on the counter. It makes for a quick breakfast everyday of the week! Mixing fruits and nuts keeps it less boring.
These items can be used for multiple meals and prepared several different ways to allow for variety. It may look boring on paper but you’ll be thankful for the simplicity!
Sauteing the sweet potatoes with some salt, pepper, and olive oil really brings out their sweetness. It’s our personal favorite to pair with the ground turkey and some veggies!
Get Back to Work
If you have been working from home recently, this one will be easiest for you. We don’t mean physically going to the office. We’re suggesting that you put yourself on the same schedule as when you were working in the office. Time block your calendar for things like busy time, meetings, and even lunch and snack time. This will help build some structure into your day so that it is comparable to before.
If you have not been working during this time, that’s okay. Your “Get Back to Work” routine looks a little bit different. Start with time blocking. Schedule meal times and busy times, then fill those busy times with actual tasks. Maybe you have been meaning to purge your closet or rearrange a room in your house. Block time for that and then do it! This block schedule may look different every day, and that is fine but do your best to keep meal times and task times relatively the same.
2 weeks ago we wrote a blog on creating a daily schedule, you can refer to that for more daily task ideas.
Allow Yourself to Rest
This last tip is probably the most important. This time is very stressful for all of us in so many different ways. If you’re not worrying about putting food on your table, maybe you’re worried about meeting a deadline without your usual resources. Either way, your body and mind are under higher than average amounts of stress.
In order to combat this and ensure that you are ready when it’s time to return to normal, you need to be optimizing rest during this time. Allow yourself time to relax and give yourself some flexibility in that block schedule (within reason of course). Do not stress yourself out more by feeling guilty for slowing down. Take a rest day from stressors. Sleep in a little later if you need to, take a nap, or take a break and watch your new favorite tv show. These things are all acceptable actions as long as you don’t allow them to take over your day or your attitude towards yourself.
It's more important now that you take care of yourself and be prepared for the unknown and unknowable. Negative self talk and guilt are not helpful right now. It’s okay to feel like you’re struggling. Your reaction and attitude towards the struggle are what matters. Focus on yourself and those who depend on you. No one else should matter. Take care of yourself and your family right now. If you are the leader, then be the leaders. Lead by example and teach those who depend on you how to prepare for whatever is coming next.
This time is scary, but it's also very valuable if you use it wisely.