One Good Thing: Routines and Discipline

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Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Day Three

For a lot of us it may seem that every routine we have has been broken or made into a new challenge. My gym is closed, that’s one routine. My neighborhood watering hole closed, that’s another. And my weekly trek for Lebanese street food. Nope. Bigger ones: do I take a bus and visit my 88 year old mother? That’s complex because she is exceptionally vulnerable. If she were in a nursing home, I’d have no choice; fortunately she lives in her own home with family.

The break in my routines is relatively benign. I work at home and have developed disciplines around that. But families with kids are undoubtedly not finding new disciplines easy. And those whose big routine is going into work now face an entirely different possible day. Working from home sounds great until it is not an option. It is a discipline.

I put routines and disciplines together for a reason. To replace that gym workout I need to set up new routines and then develop new discipline around them. Put my home equipment where I can easily access it. Determine the time of day I can do a workout without disrupting other stuff. Realize that my workout is an hour shorter when I’m not walking to and from the gym and taking my time cooling down in the whirlpool. Etc., etc.

We are going to be in this new world for a long time. One description I heard from a public health official is that this is not a few weeks, it is more like a season, a long winter until we see the light lengthening (sorry, I embellished that a bit, damn writers!). Months at least. So it is not unreasonable to think about new routines and the disciplines they may require.

What these actions accomplish is structure. When everything is broken, we can fall apart too. I’m not seeing this though there is a lot of unrealized denial out there. When reality hits that there could be problems. Structure in unstructured Times is valuable, but only if it is new and made for those times. Start looking at our days and think. This is an opportunity of some sort, maybe to rewire routines and learn new disciplines.

Note: I have no aspirations for this series of post-covid observations. If a few people read them, great, if not, I’m ok with that too.

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