The same house to wake up to, the same people who live with you, the same walk around the block, the same work schedule and Zoom calls, the same drive to the grocery store, the same uncertainty. Rinse and repeat. This monotonous lifestyle caused by the pandemic has loomed over our heads for too long.
We might even find ourselves thinking, it feels just like the movie Groundhog Day. But while Bill Murray’s character broke the seemingly never-ending spell of repetition by working on bettering himself, the reality of our case cannot be solved with movie magic and character development.
According to a survey conducted in Italy about the pandemic, loss of freedom and boredom were the top issues affecting the mental health of the public. An important element of boredom is control. Not being able to control your situations such as classroom lectures, waiting rooms, and even the pandemic lockdown can cause you to experience boredom. The monotony of the pandemic and lack of interest in the same daily tasks can also contribute.
First, it is always important to be reflective with ourselves. Ask yourself if you are taking steps to proper self-care. Are you sleeping enough, eating the right foods, making time for people who care and support you? If you are feeling like you are lacking in any one of those departments, it is time to address it.
With self-care in mind, try to exercise self-compassion. A psychology professor at the University of Texas and an expert in self-compassion, Dr. Kristin Neff, defines it as “relating to ourselves kindly and embracing ourselves flaws and all.” Research has shown that people who practice self-compassion have less depression, anxiety, and fear of failure. Remember to be gentle with yourself and accept that this pandemic has been foreign and difficult on everyone.
Changing up your routine can also help with breaking the cycle of monotony. Humans tend to be creatures of habit, but when the routine starts to affect your well-being then it is time to change it up. If you are noticing that you are feeling unmotivated or unfulfilled then you might want to start altering your daily schedule. Try something new, could be as little as ordering from a new restaurant or watching a new show recommended by a friend. You could also sign up for an online class you have always wanted to take or try out a new hobby. Take a step in the direction of something different such as changing your wardrobe or a new haircut. You want to push yourself into breaking the same routine.
Another recommended tip would be to find your purpose. It is easy to fall into the daily repetition when you feel like you are not working towards anything. Having something to look forward to like planning a deserved trip can help boost motivation. Life goals related to your career or your relationships can help stimulate a sense of purpose. Making plans can give you something to anticipate for and those plans can be small like a dinner with friends or a Zoom call with family. Researchers have found that having something to look forward to helps alleviate the stress of today. By waiting for rewards in the future, people tend to build better self-restraint and stronger resolve.
This pandemic has been a toll on everyone, and it is important to realize you are not alone. Although the state is taking steps to reopen, the effects of the lockdown are still present. Please remember to be considerate with yourself and your loved ones. Being stuck in a rut can be draining but with some extra effort, you can add some freshness and novelty back into your day. If you or a loved one feel like you need some extra assistance in your life, please reach out. We are always here to help.
If you are experiencing symptoms of mental or physical distress and would like to discuss your treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our providers today by using our online form or by calling (805) 341-3416 during normal business hours.