Routine (noun.) a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program
Routines. Most commonly, we hear and refer to routines when we are talking about young children. I often hear parents talking about not wanting to get their toddler off their routine, because then they become difficult (and usually cranky!).
Why is that? Well, it’s because routines are important for our mental health. They provide a lot of benefits that help to support good mental health, and this goes for everyone — not just for toddlers. When a child gets out of sync with their routines, they become cranky and frustrated. Just like when we, as adults, become overwhelmed and stressed out.
Routines Help You Cope with Change and Stress
Change is often a scary thing for many people. Mostly, because the unknown makes us nervous. However, having routines in place can help us root ourselves in the known. It won’t make the unknown disappear, but it can help to mitigate those feelings of fear.
For example, if you’re starting a new job, it would be extremely helpful to already have a morning routine in place. That way, when your first day comes about, you start your morning in the exact same way that you always have. Rooting yourself in that routine will help you to calm down and prepare for the new adventure ahead.
The same goes for stress. When you’re feeling stressed out, it’s often because you have too much on your plate, you’re overwhelmed, or you are nervous/upset for some reason. By having set routines, you can root yourself in those, and lower that stress level. Repeating actions that you regularly do helps to calm your mind (and feel safe). Not only that, but you can easily build calming activities (yoga, breathing, journaling, etc.) into routines throughout the day.
Routines Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Studies have been done that show that having a nighttime routine can actually improve your sleep! And we all know that improved sleep means improved mental health. Creating an evening routine is a great way to help you wind down from the day, and shut your brain off.
Put away the electronics an hour before bedtime, and do something to help you unwind and relax. That way, when you climb into bed, your mind is not running one hundred miles an hour thinking about everything that needs to get done. (I also highly suggest using a planner right before bed in order to write out all of those tasks that might be spinning around up there for the next day.)
By using routines as grounding points in your day, you’re better able to cope with stress and change. Doing so helps to make you feel comforted and safe when that stress and change comes around. Those side effects, plus being able to get a good night’s sleep, are just a few of the ways that routines can help support your mental health.
What routines do you already have in place? Has this article inspired you to create a new one? If you’d like help in creating routines, you can check out my online course: The Intentional Routines Toolkit (https://amandawarfield.teachable.com/p/intentional-routines-toolkit/) for everything you need to create routines that will simplify your life and support strong mental health.
Author Bio: Amanda Warfield is the owner and creator of Live Organized, Live Simple at https://amandawarfield.com. She’s a recovering perfectionist turned simplicity lover, routines enthusiast, and capsule wardrobe expert. Her mission is to use her passion for teaching and her passions for minimalism, organization, and productivity to help every overwhelmed woman find JOY through simplicity.
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