We are in a time that has added another layer of stress to the lives of family caregivers. Practicing EXTREME self-care is more necessary than it’s ever been for those caring for a loved one with an eating disorder.

Last week I shared 5 Tips to Finding Calm During COVID19 and it has been a wild week…seems we are all finding that anxiety levels are escalated. Or said better, each of us is dealing with a whole lot and it can be hard to find a state of calm or anything close to it. Lots of creative soothing methods are needed.

Life feels incredibly uncertain for everyone right now. So many different versions of not knowing. And so much sadness over so very many different losses. My heart goes out to everyone who had very special life events coming up. Especially those high school and college seniors and people getting married.

The more we can have daily routines during this time of being unable to be out and about and connecting with people, the more we’ll be able to withstand all that is being asked of us. As most of us have observed, those with eating disorders and other anxiety disorders do much better when there is a routine, structure to the day or regular schedule. Structure with flexibility can really help take down the stress levels.

So, I’m sharing a silly Quarantine Routine (because we need to laugh) and a serious Quarantine Routine. Hope that they give you some ideas to help you have a regular routine in your home. See if you can guess which is which. 😉 And see which might work best for you.

A. Quarantine Routine Sample Day

7:00 am Wake Up and sing, “It’s the End of The World as We Know It”

  • Drink coffee until life begins to make sense (this could be never ending)
  • Stress Eat potato chips for breakfast

8:30am – 11:30am Morning Productivity

  • Get updated on the news from cartoons
  • Run in circles screaming and pulling your hair out
  • Look at social media while you procrastinate doing what you needed to do
  • Continue looking at social media while you procrastinate further
  • Try to do work/chores/childcare/etc.
  • Check social media again
  • Watch silly cat videos
  • Crawl off the couch to make lunch (counts as physical activity)

Noon – 1:00 Lunch Time

  • Eat Anything you can get your hands on
  • Attempt yoga on your living room floor and fall asleep

1:00-1:30 Outside time

  • teach your cat or dog how to use a hoola hoop in your driveway
  • let your pet chase you around the yard
  • show your kids what hopscotch is

2:00-3:00 Personal Grooming Time

  • shower if you haven’t yet this week
  • clip your toenails if you’ve already showered
  • Try to read a book and call your mom instead
  • Let the kids back in the house if you haven’t already done so

3:00 – 5:00 pm Attempting to get Work Done Time

  • Attempt to get some work done
  • Look up what stress does to motivation
  • Prepare taxes or just hope the deadline gets delayed indefinitely
  • Make silly cat videos after dressing your cat in a costume
  • Bake a Quarantine Cake

5-9pm – Dinner & Evening Fun

  • Throw frozen pizza in oven
  • Binge watch Duck Dynasty
  • Try teaching your cat to talk
  • Watch your kids fight and hold up score cards like in the Olympics

10-11pm Bedtime

  • Try not to watch the news – binge watch a new show instead
  • Watch more silly cat videos
  • Take pictures of your dog
  • Lay in Bed and ruminate for hours

 

B. Quarantine Routine Sample Day

7am – Wake up and say positive mantra for the day 

  • Go to the bathroom and WASH HANDS AFTERWARD
  • Wash face
  • Get dressed
  • Make bed

8:30am – 11:30am Morning Productivity

  • Make to do list for today
  • Do first thing on the list
  • Get basic news information
  • Get outside or inside movement to release what you just took in
  • Work/homework/games/online learning

Noon – 1:00 Lunch Time

  • Eat what you usually have for lunch if you feel like it
  • Take a nap if you’re tired
  • Call a friend and say hi

1:00-1:30 Outside time

  • Go for a walk with distance between you and others
  • Play with your pet or kids in the yard
  • Try jump rope again
  • Plan your spring gardening

2:00-3:00 Personal Grooming Time

  • If you haven’t showered, now is the time
  • Seriously, clip your nails
  • Any other grooming you’d usually do or get done – do it now

3:00 – 5:00 pm Attempting to get Work Done Time

  • Just type anything until your brain kicks in
  • Try some music for focus
  • Taxes?
  • Breathe if it’s just too much
  • Ask for help if you’re having trouble focusing or being motivated
  • Get a study/work buddy and call one another each hour to see how it’s going

5-9pm – Dinner & Evening Fun

  • If you love cooking, now is your time!
  • If you don’t love cooking, find shortcuts to simplify
  • Food can still be delivered just wash your hands after touching packaging
  • Make a game of coming up with creative ideas to do at home
  • Play games
  • Play cards
  • Do a puzzle
  • See list of USA Today’s, “100 things to do while stuck inside due to a pandemic”
  • 10-11pm Bedtime
  • Skip the news
  • Skip social media
  • Listen to or watch meditation videos
  • Listen to or watch something funny
  • Read a book
  • Meditate
  • Talk with someone you care about (in person on on the phone)

My brain has moments of being on overload trying to manage my own anxiety about all of this. I’m trying to stay away from people and many do not seem to understand what six feet looks like. I’m becoming more assertive in asking people to respect that distance. We all need to do so, so we can survive this thing.

Feel free to share some things that work for you! We can crowd share ideas. Video conferencing is an easy way to get face time with people. Check on your friends. Take care of YOU.

If you or a family you know of need more support, I’m announcing 50% off of my HUG Kits which include 3 parts:

  1. A series of 10 videos
  2. Workbook on same 10 topics
  3. A physical copy of my book, “Just Tell Her To Stop: Family Stories of Eating Disorders”

And since these are such challenging times, I’m adding a 10-week group support call at noon CST on Tuesdays on Zoom Video to all who purchase the HUG Kits (or have them purchased for them by treatment providers).

Feel free to share this offer with families supporting a loved one with an eating disorder.

No matter where you are, I’m here to provide the support for you as the family caregiver and can help connect you with providers your loved one can see virtually during this scary time.

The monthly free online support is still available the 1st Wednesday of each month. The weekly online group support Zoom call is available every Wednesday for a small fee.

You don’t have to do this alone. I would love to be a trusted resource for you during this incredibly challenging time.

See what a colleague has to say about eating disorders here:

Dr. Paula Levine