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Add more structure to your everyday

For many of us, our day-to-days are a balancing act. Many of us struggle to balance a myriad of responsibilities: work, children, school, chores, self-care and making ends meet. Thankfully, there are things we can do when we feel stretched too thin. In this STAND Tip, we highlight how adding structure can help people be resilient in the face of such stress. Our hope is that these skills will help you thrive in your everyday.

No matter what our everyday routines look like, we all can benefit from adding more structure to our home and work lives to make our days a little more predictable and balanced. Here's how:

Keep a regular routine for you & your family

Routines are not just habits we get into — they also help us maintain our physical and emotional health. Even during busy or stressful circumstances, it’s important to keep regular bedtimes and meal times and carve out times to exercise and step outdoors.

STAND Tip: Maintain a routine

Clearly define responsibilities

If you live with others, decide who is doing what task and when, and set up a timeline for this. For example, who is in charge of buying groceries? Cooking meals? Cleaning up after dinner? These things may seem like small issues, but frustration, conflict and chaos can emerge when responsibilities are not clearly defined.

Spend quality time with those in your circle

Even if you live with others, it’s all too common for people to get wrapped up with work, chores and their own interests and then not interact with those at home. So bring joy and calm to your home; sit down together for one meal a day, watch a movie together or set up a game night. Try a FaceTime or Zoom date with relatives or friends.

Set boundaries at home and reserve some time for yourself

When possible, try to set boundaries at home by establishing what times of day you will focus on your family, chores and the job. If you find that work is seeping into all hours of your life, draw up some specific limits if you can. For example, you may decide, “I won’t respond to emails after 6 p.m. unless there is an emergency.” If you are working in the gig economy, you might say, “I will only accept jobs between noon and 8 p.m.” To make sure work doesn’t take over your at-home time completely, you might protect at least one 24-hour period during the weekend to focus on family, pets and loved ones. It’s also important to schedule time to relax or do something that makes you feel good.

On your own: Create a list of activities that bring you joy and relaxation

Building some structure into your life should bring you some stability and help make everyday responsibilities feel more manageable and sustainable. 

Downloadable resources to use on your own

Information Sheet

Strategies for When You are Feeling Stretched too Thin

Pre-Work List

Joy & Relaxation Activities

How-To Guide

Tips for Adding Structure to Your Life

Maintain a Routine