Our Editors Share Their New Daily Routines While Social Distancing
The New (Not) Normal
As we continue to shelter-in-place, time feels increasingly irrelevant—yet also like it’s the most important thing we have. Not much makes sense in the face of a global pandemic. I’ll say it: these days are weird. They’re confusing. They’re full of grief. And some mornings, the only thing that gets me rousted is knowing that someone might read these words and feel, maybe, just a little bit soothed.
Today, our team is sharing what our (new) routines look like as current events unfold around us.
My routine centers on the times I carefully step out for fresh air. I take a 10-minute walk around the block in the morning, and a jog as soon as I close my laptop for the day. These bookends start and close my workday and support my mental wellbeing. When I’m outside, I touch nothing but the inside of my pockets. I walk in the street to maintain distance from other wanderers dotting the sidewalks. I smile at passersby across the street.
I am lucky. To be working, to be well, and able to see some sunshine; I know it might not always be this way. I’m as optimistic as I can be, but these days, hope doesn’t come without diligence (and frequent hand-washing).
Truth be told, I’m still getting the hang of things. I’m inspired by parents on Instagram to schedule out a single new activity (for myself) each night. I keep my schedule light, in order to accommodate last-minute video calls with friends—or if I need to activate blob mode and re-watch The Office.
Your routine may not look the same as the ones below, especially if you have children, live alone, are facing job loss, or navigating sickness. We see you. Keep doing what you can. If you’re willing, share the parts of your routine that keep you grounded in the comments below, and we’ll be here to connect with you! 💛
Take heart, take your time, and, most of all—take care.
— AmyAnn’s Routine —
Co-Founder & CEO
My alarm goes off and I trek upstairs to see our dogs. Their soft fur is an immediate comfort—the world is enduring a global heartache, but their sleepy snuggles and unconditional love warm me to my core. I eat a quick breakfast and put the tea kettle on (almost out of green tea, pls send help).
My mind is heading full speed into the challenges that lie ahead in my workday. I hop in the shower and put on a comfortable outfit (I’m never wearing denim again). I apply light makeup, simple jewelry, and a bit of perfume. I listen to the news updates while getting ready, currently listening to NPR’s Up First, NYT’s The Daily, and CNN’s COVID updates.
I let the dogs out in the backyard for a quick run around the yard. I take in the sunlight. I offer up gratitude for a beautiful home. I send a prayer for my sister, who is a nurse assigned to the COVID-19 floor of her hospital. I offer another prayer for our immunocompromised friends, family, and neighbors, and for those who have lost work or are working on the front lines.
Although I’m now working from my home office, I’ve kept my morning work routine virtually identical (pun intended). As always, I avoid scheduling calls or meetings during this time so that I can settle in, set intentions, and review my priorities.
Team Zoom check-in! This is a highlight of the social distancing routine, and always a lively, spirited way to start the day. Each team member takes turns sharing a discussion question (i.e., what are you doing for others this week, what song is getting you through, etc.). Everyone responds to the prompt and shares their priorities for the day. I then connect with our Social Media Lead to review daily social content and make sure the tone is fitting for the moment.
The rest of the workday is an indecipherable blur of researching, writing, planning, video calls, slack messages—the work is interrupted by moments of rushing upstairs to stuff my face with chips and salsa, make more tea, and let the dogs out. In the BC era (before COVID-19), I spent a significant amount of my work week commuting to meetings and events—I’m now directing this energy towards fighting for the wellbeing of our small business, our team, our partners, and our beloved readers. Although our work isn’t to save lives on the front lines, there is a felt sense of purpose in building digital spaces for communal comfort and respite during an unprecedented era of social distancing.
My favorite part of my day is an hour of at-home yoga (thank you, Adriene!), followed by a few moments of journaling. Before March, this was a 3x-a-week activity at best, but now it has become a daily ritual. These moments of journaling are a spilling out of both grief and gratitude. In these weeks I find myself returning back to the basics of a daily spiritual practice—and I am more at home than I have been in a very long time.
Social hour (social-distancing edition)! I call or FaceTime my mom to catch up for a few minutes and then my sisters to debrief our favorite memes of the day. Around this time, my phone starts pinging with texts from neighbors who bring by their pups to play in the yard while we chat over the fence.
Blake and I make dinner together (always including, but not entirely limited to—beans and garlic). We unravel the events of our day, we argue politics, we worry together about our families, our businesses, we make space for each other, we reassure each other of our resilience.
Two words: Tiger King.
We take the pups for a final walk, straighten the house, I beg Blake for a back rub, we fall into bed exhausted and thankful.
— Danielle’s Routine —
I wake and immediately head to the kitchen to make a lemon or lime water. I go back to my bed to scroll Instagram and Twitter while I’m sipping, deleting any unwanted emails that arrived while I was sleeping. After I’ve finished my water, I meditate using the Insight Timer app. I usually choose 10- to 15-minute guided tracks that focus on body scanning, intention setting, or repeated affirmations—anything that I feel will clear my mind, bring good vibes, and cut through the noise of the news.
I make a celery juice and drink that while I make breakfast. I also heat some water up for a chaga “latte” or, if I’m having caffeine, a French-pressed coffee. I then have my breakfast and hot beverage in my living room while watching the news. I’ve been struggling with this because it has consistently been disheartening, but I know I need to stay informed for the safety of myself and others.
I shower and start to look as presentable as possible for The Good Trade’s morning video chat. I haven’t been wearing makeup, which has allowed me more time to revel in a skincare routine full of serums, creams, and moisturizers.
Once dressed, I review my Bullet Journal to see what my tasks are for the day. Not only does fulfilling a checklist keep me focused and off my phone while working, but when all the days begin to blur together, even jotting down personal plans like “Niki’s Birthday Party on Zoom!” can bring some semblance and structure back to a week. I feel very conscious of wanting to document these days, even in the simplest ways, so that I can look back on them.
I work! Around noon, I break to have a lunch that I pre-prepped on Sunday. I’ve been experimenting a lot more with meat- and dairy-free dishes since staying at home, like “alfredo” sauces made from cauliflower, chickpea “tuna” salads, and black bean “meat” balls. We used to go out to dinner every so often for our greasy, “guilty” pleasure meals, and I miss that greatly.
I relax without remorse after signing off from work. I lounge and see what headlines have broken since morning, talk to my boyfriend, and give rubs to our terrier who’s been impatiently waiting for this all day. And if my body calls for a nap, I listen to it.
Social media will have you believe that there is no excuse to not be extremely active during this time. But the overwhelming nature of this crisis can leave me feeling exhausted instead of energized. So if I work out or do yoga, I do so with the mindset that this is for my mental and physical health, not the accolades, and that even a few minutes is an accomplishment.
My boyfriend and I discuss what’s for dinner. Often, this devolves into a telling discussion about rationing, about what we can make that will last us a few days and save us from having to venture out again and put ourselves at increased risk.
After dinner, we call our families, text our friends, laugh with the internet, watch TV, read our respective books, and play with our dog whose energy is not equipped for the confinement of our living room. My nightcap is a hot mug of lemon balm, nettle leaf, or hibiscus tea. We clean before bed because waking up to a clutter-free home brings me a sense of calm amidst the chaos.
— Courtney’s Routine —
I roll out of bed and saunter into my bathroom. My ritual is to keep the lights off and light a candle. The gentle candlelight wakes me up slowly and makes my bathroom feel like a spa. From the shower, I head straight to my closet, where I put on my “work-from-home” outfit.
Normally in the morning I keep my PJs on until the very last minute before heading out the door. However, while working from home, getting dressed right away has been important for me to feel like I am heading into work. Though my work-from-home outfits are more like elevated PJs, I like to wear a pair of earrings or layer a t-shirt under a comfy jumpsuit so that I still feel pulled together.
Before having any caffeine, my husband and I have been religiously drinking an immunity elixir made with apple cider vinegar, lemon, honey, and oil of oregano. We usually just drink warm lemon water, but we are being extra assertive with holistic immunity building. We split and alternate morning chores and give our two cats lots of attention. They have both been especially needy ever since we started working from home (which we honestly love).
Believe it or not, I am still putting makeup on and doing my hair every morning. Putting myself together for the day has been helpful in keeping me motivated, knowing I don’t look like I just rolled out of bed allows me to feel more productive.
My husband and I put together a nourishing breakfast of warm muesli and fruit. At this point, I make my morning tea (I switched from coffee to tea when this all began and it has felt wonderful). I alternate between drinking Yerba Mate loose leaf tea or Tulsi Green Tea. They both wake me up while also nourishing my body and soothing anxiety.
By 8:50, I love to be sitting at our communal desk (it was once our dining room table) with my tea and breakfast, giving myself five minutes before our morning Zoom call to settle in. Then I work!
When my workday ends, I head straight to our living room for an online yoga or cardio workout. Immediately giving myself structured movement has been really important for my mental and physical health.
When my husband finishes his day, we either go on a walk around the neighborhood and/or start dinner. Normally he gets home much later, so we are not able to cook together, and we have been deeply cherishing getting to have this time together.
The rest of the night is spent either watching something on TV, calling friends and loved ones, or working on creative projects. Every night before bed, I journal about how the day was, living in this new reality, and read a novel.
Then I start the same routine all over again in the morning.
— Kayti’s Routine —
On my best days (because this doesn’t happen every day), I get up when my alarm goes off at six. This is my usual rise time when I’m working from the office, so I’m doing my best to maintain that routine.
I start my day by lighting a candle, pouring a cup of coffee, and sitting down at my laptop to write. I have some personal projects I’m working on, and I’ve found my mind is most clear in these early hours.
My husband is up and likely reading. We make our bed and tidy any leftover dinner dishes. He’s not working in light of COVID-19 so, while I would usually be the one to walk our dog, we’ve been doing it together. The weather is warming in Los Angeles and flowers are blooming. These morning walks ease my anxiety and keep things in perspective. I remind myself that life is always changing, and things won’t always be this way.
We’ve returned from our morning walk, had a quick breakfast (granola or fruit), and have gotten ready for the day. I’m dressed in my Baabuk slippers, leggings, and a top I’d typically wear to the office. I like to feel cozy while also ready for the workday.
Since he’s not working, my husband goes into our bedroom and tackles personal projects. Right now, he’s organizing our photo albums while also taking care of budgeting, taxes, etc.
By 9 a.m., I’m at my makeshift office in the living room, jumping into our team’s morning Zoom call. We spend this time checking in, going over daily projects, and brainstorming ways to best love our readers.
Now is when the real work begins. I’m heads-down editing, writing, or brainstorming content. I’ll take a few short breaks to make lunch or stretch my legs. Otherwise, the day goes by pretty quickly and, apart from the at-home environment, it feels relatively normal.
In the evenings, I switch over to personal work. I respond to emails, catch up on texts, and check my private social channels. Then I dive back into writing projects. Some evenings I grab a book and curl up on the couch for an hour.
I’ll also use this time to exercise with an at-home video. This has been the biggest challenge for me, as I’m very motivated by my space and complete my best workouts in a gym setting. Nevertheless, I know movement is important, so I try to do something (even if it’s walking and listening to a podcast) to get the blood flowing.
Time for dinner and relaxation! We’ve been keeping simple with food and eating our favorite things (tacos, pasta, soups). I’m challenging myself to remain judgment-free about the food we’re eating or our increased evening screen-time during this season. Most nights include chocolate, wine, and Netflix. I’m all about the cuddles and comfort foods right now.
We’re headed to bed. I’ll wash my face and make some tea. Then we’ll both read until our eyes get heavy. Our pup is usually out first and snoring on the floor. Then it’s lights out!
— Alyssa’s Routine —
Social & Community Lead
My alarm goes off at 7:10 a.m., which gives me enough time to check my phone (a bad habit I have no concrete plans to change) and stretch in bed before getting up to shower and get ready for the day.
Since we’re working from home, I’ve decided to forgo makeup, but absolutely refuse to give up wearing “normal” clothes. I also refuse to give up my 10-minute, screen-free coffee ritual! It’s a joke amongst my friends that I’d rather have coffee than most things, and it’s not too far from the truth.
The thing about not having to commute is that the time just passes, and continues to pass, and suddenly it’s 8:58 a.m., and I’ve got to grab my laptop and hop on Zoom for our 9 a.m. meeting. I do a quick pre-video scan to make sure that I’ve got coffee, clothes, and a clear video background before I hit “join meeting.”
My partner is not working due to COVID-19, so he makes breakfast and lunch while I work. I eat at my desk around 10 a.m., anything from yogurt and granola to breakfast tacos.
I’ve started factoring stretch breaks into my work from home routine, which is something I’ll implement when we get back to whatever our new normal looks like. Around 1:30 p.m., I eat lunch.
The workday passes pretty quickly, but I know it’s time to wrap up the day when I get the notification to post our end-of-day IG post. Often, that notification rolls around and includes a Slack message to my coworker: “How the HELL is the day over already!?”
Stretch and move time! Once I’ve wrapped for the day, I stand up, close my laptop, and have a big stretch. From there, I decide whether I want to hop on an IG live yoga class (Modo Yoga LA has been a BLESSING). I’m trying to commit to some sort of body movement every day, whether it’s yoga for an hour, a walk around the neighborhood, or a bike ride.
I try to do a nice thing for my house every day since I’m really having to hunker down here. If I’m not reorganizing a section of my house or Swiffering the floor, I’ll use this time to call my parents or FaceTime a friend.
I’m extremely extroverted, so this time has been hard for me. I’ve cried to my boyfriend at least twice a week, wondering when things will return to normal, what normal looks like, and how we move forward from all of this. All of my group texts have been more active, thank goodness, so that’s a great distraction and helps me to feel like I’m still in touch with everyone.
Dinner, baking, maybe both if I’m really feeling it. I love to cook—I’m one of five kids and we always, always had family dinner together every night growing up, so food is a big part of my life. I enjoy taking the time to make dinner and really think about what I want to eat. It’s a great way to nourish our bodies and, in my case, my mind.
We usually eat by 9 p.m., at the latest, but sometimes it runs over. If time allows, I’ll bake a bit too! For starters (bread joke), I’m making sourdough like everyone and their mother right now. It’s a rewarding process!
I’ve watched more TV in the past three weeks than I have in my whole life. I wish I was using this time to be more productive (reading? journaling?), but nobody’s perfect. Plus, who can resist Tiger King? We binged it in two days.
Anyways, this time before lights out is spent watching TV, maybe reading, and getting ready for bed. It’s just some R&R time before crawling into bed to start it all over again the next day.
Your routine might look different from ours, whether you live alone, with family, or are coping with sickness or job loss. Everyone’s experience is unique right now, and we want to hold space for it all. If you’d like, share your routine in the comments below—what’s keeping you grounded, helping you process grief, or supporting your wellbeing right now? We’re here to listen.
Emily Torres is the Managing Editor at The Good Trade. She’s a Los Angeles transplant who was born and raised in Indiana, where she studied Creative Writing and Business at Indiana University. You can usually find her reading or writing, caring for her rabbits, or practicing at the yoga studio.