Daily Schedule for Staying Well at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Daily Schedule for Staying Well at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Natalie Stein

Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health

Over a few short weeks, the daily activities that may have dictated your household’s schedule almost certainly dwindled or disappeared. In place of the hustle and bustle you experience in normal times, you may find yourself waking up to…what, exactly?

Why Plan Your Day?

While some people might naturally thrive in the absolute freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want, many people are feeling lost when they are not given a set schedule. Establishing and maintaining a plan, while staying realistic about changing the plan when needed, can help.

It can enable you to:

  • Eat well, stay active, and get enough sleep to stay physically healthy and boost your immune system.
  • Focus on tasks, such as working from home, educating children, and running your household.
  • Stay patient as you spend loads of extra time with family members or housemates.

Using Lark during this time can help you stick to your healthy intentions. Everyone’s schedule will look a little different, but here is a sample.

7:00 a.m. Wake up.

Take a sip of water, grab a small snack (optional), get into your workout clothes, check the news or email until you are ready to get moving.

8:00 a.m. Work out.

Walking, cycling, and jogging outdoors alone or with your housemates are still fair game, as long as you stay away from others. In your home or backyard, lifting weights, using an elliptical, stationary cycle, or treadmill, or doing an exercise video can work great. It is a good time to watch the news or a movie, listen to music, or chat on the phone with an at-a-distance workout buddy. Then a good stretch and shower can get you energized for the day.

9:30 a.m. Breakfast.

Remember that balanced breakfast you always intended to have? Without rushing off to sit in traffic, you have the chance to make it and eat with your entire family! It could be as simple as shredded wheat with milk and fruit, or you could try your hands at eggs and oatmeal pancakes. At breakfast, why not talk about everyone’s plans for the day, likely school for the kids and work or chores for you?

10:00 a.m. Work.

After getting the kids settled down with their lessons for the morning, it may be time for you to get to your “office” in the bedroom, dining room, or wherever you are working during these weeks. Remember to let your boss know if you expect interruptions to your regular work productivity due to taking care of kids during the daytime, or any other unusual circumstances, during this shelter-in-place period.

1:00 p.m. Lunch.

If the kids get antsy before this, see if they’d be interested in making lunch for everyone. Depending on their age and interest, you can give them some parameters or suggest ingredients, but you may be pleasantly surprised if you just let them loose in the kitchen and see what they come up with. 

2:00 p.m. Work.

Early afternoon can be a good time for kids to finish up their day’s school assignments and then read a bit or do other individual activities such as work on an art project or practice an instrument. Later, they might turn to educational screen time if you need to buy a bit of extra time for you to get your work done.

4:00 p.m. Snack.

A piece of fruit, some vegetables and peanut butter or hummus, a hard-boiled egg, or a string cheese stick can be plenty to tide you over until dinner, while the kids may need a little more. This is a good opportunity to check in with your kids and, if they are finished with their day’s schoolwork, decide on their activities for the next little bit. Chores, free play indoors (or outdoors if you can supervise them adequately), and screen time can be options here. Children can even prep food for dinner.

5:30 p.m. Outdoor time.

Instead of sitting in your car on the way home from work, why not get outside for some quality family and active time? Garden, kick a ball around in the back or front yard, or grab your masks or bandannas and go for a walk. A dance-off is always fun for a rainy day.

6:00 p.m. Dinner.

Wow…you did not need to contend with heavy traffic, or a boss who wanted you to stay late at the office, making you late to dinner. Research consistently shows that people who eat dinner as a family are more likely to have healthier diets. It is a good time to talk about the day or plan tomorrow, and you can get deeper into conversation if the family puts phones away during dinner. 

Everyone can play a role in preparing dinner, setting the table, and cleaning up. If you are too tired to cook, there is nothing wrong with getting delivery and supporting a local business. Something with chicken, tofu, beans, or fish, tons of vegetables, and sweet potato, another starchy vegetable, or brown rice or a whole-grain pita, can be delicious and healthy.

7:30 p.m. Chores and Family Time.

Everyone can pitch in and contribute to a cleaner, more pleasant home environment. Vacuuming, doing the laundry, sweeping, putting away toys, getting out tomorrow’s workout clothes, and wiping counters may be on the list of tasks to divide up. Next, there may be time to play games, look at old photos, read a book, act out a play, or sing songs – whatever your family likes to do together. About half an hour before the kids’ bedtime may be the time to start pre-bed rituals, such as brushing teeth, drinking water, and reading a book.

9:00 p.m. Relax.

After the kids are in bed, it may finally be time for a few precious quiet moments before your own bedtime. This could be your chance to watch the news, phone a friend, catch up on social media, or watch a favorite movie. If you were not able to get enough work done during the day, it could be your chance to check work emails or finish up odds and ends without other distractions. 

Taking time now to plan ahead can help you hit the ground running again tomorrow. Along with being sure you know how to get your kids started with tomorrow’s schoolwork, having plans for breakfast, and being ready for the morning’s workout, you might also take inventory of groceries and other household items.

This is also a great time to use Lark if you did not have a chance throughout the day. You can log your meals and check your physical activity and sleep stats, and get some friendly feedback from a trusted and caring source.

10:30 p.m. Bedtime Routine.

In a world in which everything has gone haywire, a calming bedtime routine can be comforting. If you have not been in the habit of following one, now may be a good time to establish one. It might include brushing your teeth, reading, listening to music, or stretching, for example. Most sleep experts, including Lark, suggest avoiding phone, laptop, and other screens during this time.

11:00 p.m. Bedtime.

Good job getting through the day! You may find yourself exhausted with the new routine and constantly-changing scene with the COVID-19 pandemic progressing. Listen to your body and go to bed earlier if you need to!

Staying at home during this period of social distancing can be challenging in many ways, and having a daily plan can help you stay sane and possibly even fulfilled, connected, and accomplished during this time. Lark can help you keep track of your own choices each day, and also be there for you 24/7 as you navigate this unprecedented situation.