School is over. Things are changing. While I was eager to finish up online classes, now I’m uncertain of what the future holds. Without schoolwork to keep me busy, my inner voice is roaring louder than ever before. I’m asking a lot of questions that don’t have definite answers. I’m trying my best to accept the a new normal. I’m searching for a sense of stability in an ever-changing world.
Historically, I’ve been a very routine, pattern-based person. I like to buy the same groceries, listen to the same podcasts, and go to bed at the same time every night. So, amidst COVID-19, which is arguably one of the biggest changes the world has ever experienced, you can guess what I was worried about. The routines and patterns I used to depend on look so different these days.
I want to take a moment and acknowledge that if my biggest stressor in this time is changing routines, I am abundantly blessed. If you or someone you love is being devastatingly affected by COVID-19, please know I am praying for you. Reach out if there is anything I can do to help. You do not have to fight this alone.
My past few months at home have revealed just how dependent on my patterns I can be. Some irrational part of me believes that without my ideal life structure, I’ll fall apart. But what happens when these things that gave me stability are no longer available? Who am I without my routines and rhythms?
In some variation, I think we’re all asking ourselves these questions. For me personally, the start of summer is alerting me to my need for new rhythms. Without school to structure my day, I must establish a different pattern.
I haven’t been perfect at this, but I’ve found that if I can check four “boxes” on my to-do list, I feel satisfied and grounded, no matter what the day holds. Every day, I try to schedule in something for my soul, my body, my mind, and my heart. It’s helped me to feel anchored and productive, able to process change in a healthier way.
Here’s a few examples of what that looks like for me:
Soul: pray, meditate, journal, practice gratitude, spend some time outside
Body: get moving, stretch, eat foods that will bless my body, hydrate, sleep
Heart: call a friend, read a book that brings me joy, laugh, tell someone I love them (that includes myself!)
Mind: educate myself on a new topic, write, work on a puzzle, listen to a podcast
I’ve created a “menu” of sorts, so my days don’t have to look the exact same. But every day, I strive to do something in each of these four areas. It’s a strategy of self love. I believe when we tend to our own soul, body, heart, and mind, we can better love and support those around us. And in this challenging season, encouraging our people matters more than ever before.
Knowing what works for you is never a bad thing. But being driven by an unrealistic need for continuity is a dangerous place to be. Let’s release our expectations for stability and perfection, and instead, let’s hold on to the things that fuel our healthiest souls, bodies, minds, and hearts. When we take care of ourselves, we bless others.