At the beginning of Covid a year and a half ago, I came up with a new routine after the dust settled a bit. I know I am a creature of habit, and like so many other people, my routine was out of whack and it left me feeling out of control.
I clung to my morning workout sessions. I sat in the same chair every morning to start work. I woke my kids up at the same time to make sure they were alive enough to sign into online classes. I went to the grocery store at the same time every week. I baked something every Friday, and followed a cleaning schedule. I planned calls with my friends on regular nights and I took my kids out for take out a few times a week to get out of the house.
I was able to hang on to something after feeling like so much was taken away and it helped me wrap my head around each day. I told myself if I just kept moving forward, we would all get through this somehow. And when I started to get overwhelmed, the very few regular things in my life helped keep me from going to the dark side and overthinking.
I talked to a lot of my friends and family who said they were doing the same. Their daily lives had gone from really eventful to something that felt small and so, in order to keep the focus and not get overwhelmed about all the bad things happening, they paid attention to their routines they’d created and it really helped.
What happened during this time was that a lot of us fought against what felt right. We were going against the grain. Our minds were telling us to slow down, yet we worked harder than ever.
There were no breaks between online learning, working from home, trying not to lose our patience, and trying to keep up with housework when even the littlest thing felt monumental.
I was so tired and drained yet kept telling myself there was no reason for this because there were less options and no need for me to leave my home so really, I should feel more rested. Just stick to the routine!
We all know how damaging that way of thinking is.
Now that people are vaccinated, places are opening back up, concerts are happening, and it’s safer to travel, I am having an even harder time sticking to any kind of routine at all.
I constantly find myself losing focus. My motivation isn’t half of what it was before the pandemic. I was so excited to get back into life and enjoy the things I missed, yet it feels harder than ever to do those very things I used to love.
I’m not alone either. I saw a friend who told me she was struggling to work everyday. She said she knew she was slipping through the cracks and thought she’d lost all of her mojo and it didn’t make sense to her. “My outlets are back, and yet I don’t want to do anything.”
Another friend of mine got the clearance to start her exercise class again after a year and a half. This was something that gave her life and she missed so much during the pandemic and yet she’s cancelled class a few times since getting the okay to teach. Her reasoning is because she just can’t get back into it. “I was so excited for this, but I’m just not feeling it at all,” she told me. And I completely understand because I feel the same.
We asked some Scary Mommy readers their thoughts on this and here’s what some of them said:
John H. said, “I’ve been on vacation four weeks out of the summer so far with a few more planned. I own my own business so I know I will feel the pinch in a few months but I just can’t stay focused and I need time off.”
Kathy K says she’s struggling now with staying on task and is missing pandemic routines. “I’m having trouble sticking to a routine and finding that I miss the Covid routines. A lot.”
Allison B. agrees saying, “I am so scattered lately.”
Psychology Today, reports, “Some people excel in times of change and embrace the challenges and possibilities that it holds. However, while change and uncertainty are not necessarily a bad thing, in general we tend to form strong attachments to situations, people, places and routines.”
Perhaps that’s what this is — we are attached to our lives during the pandemic, even if we didn’t realize it, and it’s going to take some time to re-adjust yet again.
The article goes on to explain that certain stages and times become strong reference points in our lives. When those are changed, we often have trouble readjusting. “When we abruptly find that our living reference points are no longer available, it can disrupt our emotional and psychological well-being as well as leave us feeling disoriented and insecure. In general, people know that things have to change but this doesn’t mean that everyone is good at coping with change.”
If you are having a difficult time getting back into the swing of things, you aren’t alone. Many of us are struggling to find that sweet spot and figure out what feels right to us.
I know for me, I can only take things day by day and do my best. And that means not living and breathing by a routine. I get the stuff I absolutely have to get done first, then I take a respite and decide what else I can tackle without beating myself up if I can’t get it done today, tomorrow, or even next week.
And just like we did during Covid, we will find another new normal, and adjust.