It’s that time of year when the kids go back to school yet the chagim are upon us. I know that, at least for me, when I am not in a routine I feel very uneasy and out of control. This leads to increased anxiety and depression. Therefore, I came up with a list of ways to keep a little bit of my own routine even when everything around me seems to be changing.
Sensational Sunday: On Sunday nights I like to scent my bedroom with either a candle or air freshener. You can do this while you watch TV, relax, read a book, or do whatever you find calming, just as a way to give yourself some calm time after a hectic weekend or before the week ahead. My favorite scent to use is lavender as it has been proven to help calm the nervous system and help with mood, depression and anxiety.
Motivational Monday: There are many times when we come across an inspirational quote, song or story. When this happens I try to save it to my phone and eventually get back to it (which isn’t always so easy to remember) but that’s the point of Motivational Monday. Then I either find a way to print it, put it on a sticky note on my mirror, or place it anywhere else I would see it. I try to use what I found and apply to my week or at least for some point of the day.
Tea-riffic Tuesdays: Hot beverages are always something I find soothing, whether it’s coffee, tea, or even hot chocolate. I use my Tuesdays to drink my hot beverage more mindfully to help me either get ready for the day, take a break in the middle, or unwind at the end of the day.
Walking Wednesdays: I don’t do it enough but have been actively trying to implement it into my routine. Take a walk even just for 15 minutes outside around the block to get some fresh air, soak up some vitamin D, look around at the colors around you—especially as fall is approaching.
Another possibility for this day if walking is difficult:
Wacky Wednesday: Wear something that only you know about—that when you look at it during the day it will make you smile. Such as jewelry from a friend, wearing a kid’s Band Aid, wearing your warmer pajama socks under your regular ones, putting on some fun nail polish, getting yourself your special drink or snack during the day … the possibilities are endless! I’ve tried to turn the hardest day of the week into the best one.
Thankful Thursdays: Focus on one thing in your life that you’re grateful for. A lot of times our lives are so rushed and we are so busy that we don’t take a minute to stop and appreciate what we have. Take this day to concentrate on one thing you’re grateful for, and if it’s a certain person, reach out to them with a text just saying hi. It will make your day as well as theirs as they know you’re thinking about them.
Fresh Fridays: Use a special face or hand moisturizer, spend a little more time in the shower, try an exfoliating face mask, take a bubble bath, put on body spray or cologne, anything that makes you feel extra clean and fresh. In my family we have our favorite pajamas that are our dedicated Shabbat pajamas, and once we put them on we know Shabbat is here and relaxation can begin.
Sh-Sh-Sh-Shabbat: Shabbat has so many amazing aspects to it. Curl up with your favorite book or newspaper, spend time with friends you may not have a chance to see during the week, go for a walk, do something that makes the day feel peaceful.
This is just a list of suggestions. Do I follow it? I wish I did; I’m trying to, though. Routine is something that we as people crave, and some weeks that routine is mixed up whether it be because of chagim, school vacation or the weather. But there is a little way to have some control over it, and I know at least for me, that it makes me feel a little bit better, and that I tried my best.
Shelli Sussman is the founder of RinaLi Mental Health, a comprehensive worksheet of mental health providers recommended by others in the community that can be viewed anonymously. Most of the providers are in-network with insurance. For access to the spreadsheets and general updates, follow RinaLi Mental Health on Facebook or Instagram, or email [email protected]