Structure is healthy…we all need it

I’ve observed in my clinic — one of the most disastrous consequences of this COVID pandemic is the lack of structure and rhythm to our lives.

Adults and children alike have found this so unsettling and having little on the calendar to look forward to and create a flow causes sluggishness, disorientation and in many cases in my practice depression and anxiety.

I read so many articles and listen to podcasts on slow living, this is intentional living where there is great care in remaining in the present moment. I love this philosophy and have found it deeply impactful to my life the last few years.

It doesn’t however mean we have to slow down and stop everything. We must still engage in life, do things, get out and interact. Slow living is not the absence of a rhythm or daily entries in a diary or calendar.

Slow living is about stripping the stress out and choosing what you want to fill your time. Intentionally living with less stress.

I had a profound conversation yesterday about the importance of feeling accomplished, a structure and daily rhythm brings this to us. Making your bed, going for a walk and then coming home to have breakfast and then start emails is a healthy morning routine.

Having something to look forward to in the afternoon or on the weekend and having a pace manages overwhelm and in many cases reduces stress.

Since the structure of the interactive/outside world has ceased we MUST reach into ourselves and CREATE our own new structure. What do you need in your day?

Make plans for the next day before you go to bed. Have something you are planning and make structured times to do the things you love and the things you need to do.

Without structure we are prone to be more irritable, more lethargic and procrastinate more. These are unhealthy if they are the state you are living in more than not.

If your world has stopped around you, stop to create a new world for you to live in. It may be the middle of Summer but get your diary out and meal plan, plan day trips, create a structure for house chores and maintenance.

These little things make us feel more in control, more productive and that each day has more accomplishment.

Our children need this too, insist that they get up every day at the same time and go to bed at the same time. This is healthy for them and it ensures adequate rest and prevents unhealthy sleep routines. Help them plan their days to reduce the melancholy and irritability that comes from boredom.

Structure is healthy and this week I’m encouraging my patients to reclaim their life by either evaluating or readjusting their structure. You will feel better, be more productive and have more time for the things your body and mind need.

Schedule time to ground your energy in the park, shop for, cook and eat healthy foods, drink water, sleep, read, listen, play, connect and exercise. If you don’t make time for it, it often won’t happen!

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