Can we ever find rhythms within countless days of quarantine and social distancing? While some of us may be experienced in the realm of working from home, most of us are wading into unknown waters when it comes to creating schedules at home in the midst of COVID-19.
If the idea of staying home overwhelms you (calling all extroverts!) or you’re finding it hard to focus with the panic around you–welcome friend. I myself am no expert at scheduling, but having spent endless days at home creating my own schedule, I might have some insight for you. As the days grow longer, let’s navigate these waters together.
If you’re working or studying from home, I want to encourage you to keep boundaries between work and play. While my office setting has changed, keeping the hours of 9 am to 5 pm for work time is important to me. If you’re a psychology nerd like me, environmental psychology even states that maintaining a physical place as solely for work can help with focus and learning. Learned environments will help you continue to grind and let your mind truly rest when it’s time to. So set up that home office and keep it far from the TV!
When it comes to how I use my time, I know that spending endless hours trying to work probably won’t be fruitful. Splitting your day into segments can help the hours at home become more manageable.
For myself, mornings are my most productive time. I try to spend some time breathing deeply and taking inventory of my day. In her book, Rhythms of Renewal and Rest, Rebekah Lyons describes taking inventory as giving yourself space to ask yourself, “Where is God leading me?” She suggests looking at what feels right, what feels off, what feels confusing and what is missing. Taking inventory can also mean giving yourself time to dream, let yourself imagine what could be. Giving your brain the opportunity to unload gives yourself clarity for the day.
Usually, my midday is spent going for a walk after some work. I have the privilege of living next to a river, and the soothing sounds of nature bring a sense of calm to an anxious heart. While we still need to practise social distancing outdoors, you can enjoy a solo walk alone or with your household. Having physical activity midday helps split up your day, and gives you a reason to get dressed and get out. Also, PSA to all students and newly working-from-home, wearing sweats all day will not help you with work! Just a hot tip as we wait this out.
In the afternoon I enjoy giving myself a break to read or learn a new skill. Over the past year for me, it has meant learning to bake bread. Imagine if you gave yourself one hour every day for the next two weeks to learn something new? For some, it may be languages, a Bob Ross tutorial, or even training your cat to do tricks. I won’t judge! Give yourself the opportunity to have fun and do something new.
As the sun sets on the horizon, my evening contains time for myself and to connect with others. Give yourself rest, whether alone or with others. Clean your room finally, watch the movie you told yourself you’d watch three months ago, or paint the canvas you’ve been waiting to paint. When it comes to others, community is important. Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. Call the friend you’ve been meaning to, or pray over the phone for your family. Technology is a gift in times like this–use it.
Above all, give yourself grace. The uncertainties of a pandemic hit everyone differently. Some days you may need to clear your schedule to allow yourself to lament, cry and rest in the ways that suit you best. That is normal, and that is more than okay. These are unknown times ahead of us, and we are all walking it together.
As you figure out how to form new rhythms for yourself, we want to provide a free printable download for you to fill in to help structure your time. As we’ve shared, it’s helpful to break your days into segments, and then try to fill in each day what will work for you. We encourage you to remember to incorporate at some level:
- Spending time in prayer and reading God’s Word
- Deep breathing
- Practise an old or new skill
- Physical activity (walking outdoors or indoor workouts)
- Connecting with friends and family (via technology)
- Work (whatever this looks like for you)
Remember that whatever you do, it’s possible to do it to the glory of God. Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Whether that’s spending time with family, resting, walking outdoors, doing work from home, or trying something new.
Balancing our days and giving grace and structure to them will help us develop new “norms.” As we balance connection with God and others, creative work and play, and seeking rest, hopefully we will feel more grounded and at peace as we walk these days together.
We have created two versions of a pdf printable to help you schedule your days and develop new rhythms. We hope this blesses you this week and beyond!