Why Routines Are Important for Your Mental Health

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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.
Why Routines Are
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.

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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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40 thoughts on “Why Routines Are Important for Your Mental Health”

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging this post. It means a lot to me. Having a nightly routine is a wonderful way to setup your next day! I have an entire post on How I Cultivated My Evening Routine over on my blog if you’re interested in checking it out.

  1. “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.”
    So, so, so true. I think people sometimes groan at the idea of routine mistakenly thinking it means boredom but it’s really all about that grounding which is SO important when all other things are changing and crazy. Great post <3

    1. Yes! The misconception of boring and “stuck in a rut” really just harms those who feel that way. Your routine doesn’t have to stay the same forever, but it’s important for when things are changing. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a comment, dear<3

  2. Absolutely! I am a former elementary teacher turned SAHM, and the hardest part of the transition was going from a daily set routine to figuring things out on the fly with a little one. Now that my little ones are getting a bit older, it’s way easier for us to have our set routines.

    1. Hi Sonja! I’m so glad y’all are finding it easier to set routines. I’m sure that you also saw the affects of routines in the classroom as well, I know that I have! Thanks so much for taking the time to read and leave a comment! <3

  3. Routines are so IMPORTANT in my life these days! Having 3 young children has really forced me to make routines for myself. I can definitely attest to routines helping me stay sane! Love this post!

    1. Katie, I’m so glad you’ve been able to make those routines for yourself! I think routines may be most important for moms—especially a morning routine that you use to fill yourself up with!

  4. This is so true. I always need a constant routine in order to feel productive and get things done! So important for my mental health. This post just motivated to not stop my routines, even though sometimes they get dreary. Thanks! ❤️

    1. I agree with Tren…it’s totally okay to switch things up every once in a while. You don’t want your routines to feel dreary, but instead motivating 🙂

    1. Some of my favorite nightly routine steps:
      -Quick 10 minute pickup around the house (especially in the most lived-in areas)
      -Starting the dishwasher so we go to bed with an empty sink
      -Plugging my phone in away from my bed so I’m not tempted to scroll for hours and keep myself awake
      -Reading when I crawl in bed to help me fall asleep
      I hope that you’ve been able to find a nightly routine that works for you, but if not, try and incorporate what works from that list!

    1. The best thing I ever did to cut back on screen time in bed was to plug my phone in across the room. It was a game changer, even though I REALLY didn’t want to do it at first! But now, I get at least 30 minutes of reading every night (I was able to read a total of 108 books in 2018!), and a good night’s sleep most nights!

  5. As in person now suffers from depression and anxiety I really appreciate this post. I’m so unorganized and don’t really have a routine. This gives me something to think about.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re suffering from depression and anxiety….I did too for a long time. Simplifying my life actually helped me to overcome that though, which was a huge surprise for me. I hope that you’ve been able to begin incorporating routines into your life, and that it’s helped some!

  6. It’s vital to have routines especially if you work from home. It’s so easy to get distracted and avoid completing work-related stuff in the name of busy work around the house.

    1. Oh gosh yeah! I agree with this. I use to spend a few days every few months working at home. But would get distracted but everything else, except work. Then find myself working on the weekend to play catch up.

    2. Completely agree! I have to set firm boundaries around the time I spend working from home. Otherwise I get completely distracted and become unproductive!

  7. If I didn’t have routine, I’m telling you I wouldn’t be able to accomplish nothing. I tend to push thing a side and the moment I know that it’s it has to be done like it was done yesterday I will go a head and do it. I started making a morning run my routine and its not easy at times.

    1. Having an established routine doesn’t mean you get it right every time. It just means you keep on trying 🙂 Go you for getting up and running!!

  8. My life goes so much smoother when I follow a routine. I love summer when I have a relaxing morning routine (school’s out). My morning routine in the winter is just so much more rushed. I refuse to get up earlier than 5:30 and usually leave the house between 6 and 6:15.

  9. Amanda, this is a great article! I particularly love your tip to have a planner by the bed to write down tasks for the next day. 🙂 Thank you.
    ps – my routines have to do with exercise and meditation …. self-care for the body and Soul.

    1. Debbie I’m so glad you appreciated that tip! I knew I couldn’t be the only one whose brain starts to spin faster as soon as I try to relax….
      I love your focus for your routines. Having a why behind them is so important!

      1. So true, Amanda! This reminds me of a great quote by a spiritual teacher of mine. Here it is:
        “You will receive in direct proportion to your clarity of vision, your definiteness of purpose, the steadiness of your faith, and the depth of your gratitude.” -John-Roger

  10. I absolutely love this! So many kiddos that I work with at the psychiatric hospital don’t have strong routines. This is one of our many things we work on, and I’ve also discussed it’s benefits in my blog! Obsessed with your writing!

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