Structure Your Day: Six elements to add to your daily routine
When I talk about my work to others, I always say something along the lines of “I’m privileged to work from home. It gives me the power to plan my own day and be creative with my time.” Many of us have found ourselves either unemployed and looking for a job, or working from home with unfamiliar distractions. Our new normal is bizarre and unpredictable, but if you’re a military spouse or have served in the military, you understand how to adapt.
No matter your situation right now, setting a daily routine is crucial and proven to fight depression and anxiety. A few years back, I moved back home from overseas and found myself in need of a job. After spending a few weeks applying to hundreds of jobs in my pajamas with no plan or focus, my dad told me to make a daily plan. That daily plan worked for me during my job search process, and I still use it while working from home. Feel free to modify your routine, since our lives are unique to our circumstances. I like lists, so I’m sharing six elements to add into your daily routine.
Exercise has helped me a great deal and it is a free way to keep your mind focused and your body relaxed. Some people might not be able to get outside right now, but if you can, it is a mood-lifter. You can also use exercise as a way to keep in touch with friends and hold each other accountable. I know people who are doing Zoom workouts together and highly recommend it. For me, I have an app that keeps me to a workout schedule and a dog that drags me on walks.
By this, I don’t mean Instagram or Facebook. In fact, I encourage you to limit your time scrolling – especially during this time. I have found my social media to be a hindrance to my day rather than a motivator. Instead, schedule some time each day to call or video a friend or family member. I live for my breakfast time when I Facetime with my sister, nieces and nephews. It helps me feel connected and brings me joy at the start of my day, which sets the mood for the next few hours.
Even though the world feels like it’s on hold, our lives are not. If you are in need of work, block off two-hour increments to apply for jobs, send messages on LinkedIn, and research companies that are still hiring right now. If, like me, you are working from home, block your hours off for each task on your to-do list. I even find it helpful to put emails I need to send on my list. Not only does it ensure its completion, but it gives me great pleasure to check something off! This applies to hygiene and home-life too. Shower, get dressed and make your bed before you start your day! I promise it will change your outlook. I know I have trouble focusing on work if my house is dirty, so every evening, I do a quick run-through to make sure my home is in order to set myself up for the next day.
There are so many articles being shared right now about how important a healthy diet is when you are stressed, so I won’t belabor the point, but make sure you are eating regularly. I have the bad habit of skipping meals or delaying lunch while working or stressed, and my productivity and mood suffers. I read this morning that eating plenty of leafy greens, healthy fats, and whole grains are perfect for mood boosting – which I think we all need right now.
The other day I joked with my boss that all of my great ideas come to me in the shower. She shared with me this anonymous quote: “A head full of fears has no space for dreams.” It’s so easy to give into anxiety especially during this pandemic. I encourage you to make space for creativity and joy through stillness. Many people are recommending mediation apps; I use my daily walks to clear my head or think of something that excites me. Whatever works for you – carve out at least 10 minutes here and there to not be productive and let yourself be quiet.
I am currently sitting writing this blog post in dirty sweatpants and eating salt and vinegar chips, and that is OKAY! Give yourself grace – a routine shouldn’t make you feel guilty, but give you the freedom to get your tasks done and make time for yourself. If you submitted 10 job applications yesterday and today and it just feels too much, give yourself a break. If your heart isn’t in it, it will show in your job search efforts.
I hope this helps you as a starting point to build your own routine. If you are looking for more tips in maintaining a regimen during your job search – then register for our services to be paired with a Transition Specialist! Hire Heroes USA can help you stay focused on your job search and set a routine that leads to success.