The safety of routines

The safety of routines

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Routines is something we often talk about in the attachment world. The need to know what’s happening helps us all to feel safe. During these current times though, this has been especially difficult. As parents it’s hard to keep those routines going at home when everything that supports those routines is not there anymore. We’re expected to provide all the safety and security of adults who know what’s going on and how to cope with things – when we don’t!

For schools and work-places it’s also been challenging to keep to any kind of routine. My work has changed dramatically over the last few months and who knows what will happen come September to face to face training in Schools?

Why are routines so important for us? When searching through the internet there are loads of reasons why but for me it’s really about how it makes me feel. I would venture to guess that for my children too the same reasons apply.

The need to feel productive

Over these last few months I’ve had many times of feeling unproductive – maybe you have too. To begin with lockdown generated weeks of activity; decluttering and cleaning and generally doing the jobs we never had the chance to do. That didn’t last very long though. Now those things seem like an inconvenience to my box set watching! Mine and my children’s mental health is affected by how productive we feel. The days when I feel good at the end of the day are the days when I can look back and say, “yes I finally got that done” or, “that felt good to help someone else out”.

Patterns give us purpose

The weeks are flying by and often I hear people say they don’t know what day it is. Everyday feels the same if we don’t have patterns and routines to our weeks. Even now going into the official summer holidays we need some points in our week that anchor us. Granted it’s been a struggle to put those in place, but it helps me to know that each day has a purpose. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying we should fill our time with stuff – but being intentional helps me to manage my time better. It may be that reading a particular book is my intention or spending quality time with one child. Whatever it is it has purpose.

Routines give us hope

As we look to the future, of whatever that might be, I don’t know about you, but hope is a very real friend to me right now. The routines of the day and the week give me hope that some kind of normal may resume. Even being able to drive to the starbucks drive through with my son has given us a feeling of normalcy in an otherwise strange time. The biggest and hardest routine that we’ve slipped into and have to change is sleeping habits. Going to bed late, getting up late and generally living on a teenagers schedule is not good for any of us.

So how do we bring back good routines?

My question actually is how to use this time to create better routines than I had before!

Taking the time to reflect on what this lockdown period has given us in terms of benefits is a good routine to have. There are many things I would like to put into a new routine as well as bringing the old ones back.

Maybe for you today you could consider what new routines have emerged from this time as well as how you get some old ones back. Here are some big ones for me:-

  • For me and my children it will be to turn the TV or Xbox off occasionally and spend time together.
  • To spend more time walking with my friends instead of sitting having coffee (or maybe do both).
  • To enjoy the silence of the outside more – to read, listen to music and just be.

What about you?

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