By Keara O’Connor

We all follow daily routines. Often without realising it! From a cup of coffee in bed in the morning, to the time we have our dinner. Routines can be reassuring, reduce anxieties and help give us confidence . They can also help us to make sure we make time for things we are good at and have fun doing. But during social distancing how can you start or stick to a daily routine?

A lot has changed in social distancing. Whether that be the town centre shops being closed, not being able to see friends and family or having to stay home much more. Creating a new daily routine can help you plan out your time and make sure you are able to continue doing things you enjoy.

Your daily routine can cover many things. From the times you wake up and go to bed, meal times and all the activities you do in between. Having this written down can help make time for the things you enjoy, and help make time spent social distancing easier. 

Here are some ideas  for creating a daily routine in social distancing:

Work together

Creating a daily routine can be a positive activity you can do with your family over a cup of tea. Sharing what you want to do and whats important to you, can be a good way to make sure the people in your life are up to date on what matters to you.  Maybe they can help support you and make sure your needs are always taken into consideration.  If you live alone you can give Dementia Connect or a similar helpline a call. They will be happy to listen and can help focus on positive things you can add into your new routine. 

Make time for things you enjoy

Yes, it can be useful to include things like taking medications, times you eat and chores around the house in your daily routine, but make sure you also focus on the hobbies and interests you have too! What things do you enjoy doing? Are you creative, do you love to be active or do you prefer to read a book? Is there a certain TV or radio show you just have to listen to? Having these things planned out can help make sure you have time to do them and help other people to know what you want to do in your day too.

Focus on your strengths

Build your routine around things are you good at and are keen to maintain.  Are there things you think would improve your health and wellbeing whilst distancing? Is there anything you would you like to be better at? Are there any things which you used to do or would like to do but feel unsure about how to do them at home? If there are activities which you need help to be able to do consider how a family member, friend or a volunteer might be able to support you to do this within the rules of Covid19 restrictions.

Adapt activities in your old routine

There may be some activities and hobbies which require going out or going to a certain location to do, for example swimming, which are no longer possible during social distancing.

Is there is a replacement you can do at home? It can really help to think a little deeper about what you enjoy about an activity. Even if  its impossible to do that activity right now, thinking carefully about why it mattered  to you can give you some clues about what might replace it.   

If you normally go out to play sports can you follow a workout at home or try some of the ideas on this site? If you’re used to catching up with friends in a coffee shop schedule a coffee date over the phone or video call. This can be a great time to start a new hobby too!

What can help you embed it into your day

Finally consider what can help you stick to your new routine. Would it help to have it written up on a whiteboard or create a checklist you can tick off. Maybe set reminders on your mobile for important things like medication, or when you can join a friend for a drink and a chat by phone or video call.

What other things would you include in your daily routine during social distancing? You can add an idea to the distancing with dementia site for other people to try out too.