Building a New Routine in Mexico

Leonardo Reynoso, PhD; The National University of Mexico 

This national shut-down in Mexico allows me to write about my experiences; my daily routine was cut, so I needed to make new plans.

As all of you, I was deprived of my job. I also have many problems regarding my students, the hospitals where my students are located and other things. Besides, this confinement made me quit my exercise program. The good thing is that I have time to write.


Well, let’s begin:

As the head of the Behavioral Medicine Residency Program, I have to coordinate the actions of 14 professors and 23 graduate students. All of the students are located in two hospitals: The Hospital Juárez de México and the Hospital General de Atizapán. Currently, these hospitals receive COVID-19 patients exclusively, which caused my students to retire on March 17. The challenge was: how can we work? Classes were not the problem. So the main problem was: how can we train the students in professional competencies? Since the in situ practice at hospital is not allowed, we needed to search for other options. Previously, we had created a YouTube channel. Into this site we stored more than 100 brief videos about simulated interviews, and the application of different intervention strategies. The task was (and is) that our students review and analyze a daily selected case. After, we discuss findings.


The quarantine implies that I cannot attend the gym, nor use public spaces for exercising, so I needed to make adjustments in order to adapt myself to home environment. I've also had to make other adjustments to my home environment. My wife does research on the Neuroscience field, specifically about ultrastructural alterations in Parkinson’s disease. She is very busy and because of her line of work, she must attend lab once a week. The rest of the week, we interact most of the time, each one of us in a temporarily installed office in separate rooms, so we won't bother each other during working hours.


Fortunately for me, some of my colleagues and I agreed to write a new book last January. The original deadline was in July, so this confinement offered us a big opportunity for reading, writing and discussing without the pressure of other activities. Currently we are on track, we hope the goal will be achieved.

I miss interactions with my family (brother, nephews) the most in this condition. I call my brother every day, and we discuss the news, share our daily plans and some other things. We hope to hug each other some day soon, though definitely not as soon as we wish.


In order to avoid the chaos and to function as a behaviorist, I made my own schedule. The planning activities start at 5 a.m. by making breakfast (squeezing oranges and grapefruits, making coffee), working 6 to 8 a.m. on the computer, checking emails, reviewing academic news, papers and downloading some of them. After that, there is about 30 minutes of exercise (climbing my house stairs a hundred times, or exercising chest, back, biceps, triceps, or washing both automobiles). A shower and returning to the work about 10 a.m.,  and work includes meetings, classes and reviewing my student’s work. This part of the schedule end 2:30 p.m.. The next task is preparing food for dinner (in Mexico dinner time is about 3 p.m.). Later, a brief time of work and finally a meeting with my wife (the reinforcer!) about 5 p.m. We watch TV (another reinforcer!). After that, a few minutes past 9 p.m., we go down for a light supper and after that, go to bed.


This confinement has obliged us to change our lifestyle, but there is also a need to adjust our own behavior in order to maintain our own health. We also must change how we interact with others, that is, new interacting strategies, such as figuring out how to be respectful of your partner’s work and intimacy in times where is easy to be bored and have nonsense arguments. As a Behavioral Medicine teacher, this confinement is an opportunity to adjust my behavior, set goals and work for them.