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Hi Greatist readers,

Happy Monday! My name is Minaa B. and I’m a writer, author, speaker, and licensed therapist with over 7 years of clinical experience based in NYC. I specialize in treating depression, anxiety, and trauma, and I’m also a self-care and boundary expert.

Need more mental health management since the pandemic hit? Look no further than Mondays. What was a day of dread can now be a day for self-care, if you meet me here, through the Greatist newsletter. I’ll start each month with my favorite wellness tips and ways to build your mental health skills.

Although it’s been months, a lot of folks are still trying to assess what a healthy routine is. Here’s my most important tip for building normalcy: Stick to a work routine. You got to (re)start simple.

In a traditional job setting you most likely had specific hours — maybe even a desk — that guided your day. You woke up at a certain time to prepare for work, and also had a start and end time to work. I encourage you to stick to, or rediscover, your routine as a way to build healthy boundaries with managing work, friends, family and more, all in the face of change.

For a beginner’s guideline, spend a day answering these questions. Your answers are the start of your boundaries. Consider writing these down in a journal, in a planner or Notes app.

  1. What time will I start and finish work?
  2. What time will I go for lunch? And how much time and I allot myself for this?
  3. Will I work consecutively? Or will I work in blocks?
  4. What do I need to unplug from to help me stick to my work hours?

Boundaries are also about setting limits, and to do that you must know where you begin and where you end. Working endlessly with no starting or end point is counter-productive and will only lead to burnout. A routine helps us with time management, and it’s also something that’s within the window of our control during these uncertain times.

Stick with your answers this week and come back next week when I’ll check in to see how you did — and share the next (surprisingly challenging) skillset to practice.

With love,
Minaa B.

Minaa B. is a speaker, writer, author of the book Rivers Are Coming, and a licensed psychotherapist based in NYC. She talks about issues ranging from self-care to social justice. Learn more about her work at minaab.com and follow her on Instagram.