Parents spend what feels like an eternity creating routines for kids to establish consistency and structure. As you get older, you start to make more decisions about your life. You choose freedom and break away from this strict idea of a routine. But between work, family, and life, it’s easy to forget what it means to have a routine and how it can benefit you as an adult. So, why are routines important? Let’s explore.
How did the pandemic change routines and daily habits?
The coronavirus pandemic changed routines and daily habits. It diminished many people’s avenues to cope with stress and significantly impacted mental, financial, and physical wellness.
Think back to pre-pandemic times; what did you do? Maybe you had a coffee on the commute to work or went to an early yoga class. Perhaps you would catch up with a friend over lunch and finish off the day with a hot bath and a good book.
For what felt like a lifetime during the peak of COVID-19 restrictions, your day probably looked different. You get up, have a coffee, head to your desk in the next room, work, make some calls. You then switch off your laptop, walk a handful of steps to the living room, maybe squeeze in a home workout, have some dinner, and repeat.
As more and more people head back to the office, creating a routine that includes things you love feels harder. But it doesn’t need to be like this.
It’s only kids that need routines, right?
For kids, routines create structure and help them to feel safe and secure. It allows them to know what is happening next and engage in learning. Both children and adults can benefit from routines. Many people use routines to give their health and wellness structure. Think about your daily stretching routine, sleep routine, diet, and workouts.
You may already have a routine, but labeling it as that can feel restrictive. But having a routine can coexist with freedom. Shift your thinking from seeing a routine as a strict plan to a tool you can use when there is just too much to get done. You can actually create freedom because you are opening up space in your day by efficiently using time.
4 benefits of a daily routine
The pandemics’ effect on mental health is clear. Nearly eight in ten adults say that the coronavirus pandemic is a significant source of stress in their life. Having a routine is about bringing structure to your day to create sustainable and healthy daily habits.
1. Lower stress levels
Routines don’t need to be strict and boring; they can be enjoyable. A routine can help decrease stress levels by improving mental health and giving you time to relax and unwind. A lack of healthy stress outlets puts you at a higher risk of stress and negatively impacts your overall well-being.
2. Sleep better
Your sleep schedule is a routine in itself. Good daily habits support quality sleep. When you go to sleep, wake up, and your bedtime habits impact your sleep. In turn, this affects your mental sharpness, productivity, and emotional wellness. Keeping a regular sleep schedule can help you to fall asleep and wake up more quickly.
3. Improve focus and productivity
Having a routine or structure to your day can help to decrease anxiety and improve productivity. When you’re not sure what to focus on, often, your mind wanders to more stressful situations. Even penciling in breaks and reminding yourself to step away from work can improve your focus. Your routine isn’t just your workday; it’s those breaks that allow you to feel refreshed.
4. Boost mood
With a routine, you can build in time for play. It’s not just children that need time to play; adults need it too. Whether it’s meditation, coloring, working out, reading, or going out for dinner, schedule time for things you love. In turn, this helps to improve your mood and provides an outlet for stress.
How to switch up your routine and do more of what you love
It’s not only your mental health that can benefit from a routine. Research shows that healthcare providers that can help patients build a routine around lifestyle changes patients need to make could reduce the healthcare burden. Essentially, building a routine for health could help to keep the doctor away.
Establishing a sustainable daily pattern is vital. Not everyone welcomes the idea of a routine. But, it can intertwine with the freedom you desire and be helpful, especially in times of uncertainty and stress.
Your routine isn’t just your daily to-do list; it’s structuring your day to give you a sense of control and joy. That means setting aside time for self-care and doing things you love. Try to create moments you look forward to within your routine.
Start by writing a list of everything you do each day and begin to create a structure. Whether it’s a morning meditation or an afternoon catch-up with a friend, don’t forget to pencil in some time for fun. Find balance and create a routine that supports your life, wellness, and happiness.
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