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It’s been a while since things have felt completely normal. Many of us are reaching a point where we have to discover a new normal. It’s not uncommon for mass changes to cause stress and anxiety, and with everything going on (i.e. COVID-19, job loss, the election results, the end of another year, the holidays creeping around the corner) we may continue to keep feeling powerless to the crazy world around us.

There’s a high chance even more change will be coming our way. Life throws curveballs in everyone’s life. That’s why one of the most important things is to remember how we have control. Yes, we do. All of us individually have the control over our day-to-day lives. We can create morning routines, choose when to go for a walk, and what kind of dinner would make us appreciate life a little bit more and stress a little less. Routines are becoming more and more highly recommended for maintaining a well-balanced and mentally stable life. Even when everything else seems to be going awry, we can still make decisions for ourselves that give control back to us.

“When people don’t have a routine or structure to their day it can cause increased stressed and anxiety, as well as overwhelming feelings, lack of concentration, and focus,” Rachel Goldman, a professor of the NYU School of Medicine states. Routines can give us a sense of predictability, so we can feel grounded again when life seems to be moving in all different directions.

It’s important to recognize that we all have a mental health, whether we’d like to have one or not. For some it might be easy to understand the way your mood and mental state of mind ebb and flow. For others, it could be a real challenge to be accountable for how you’re brain is thinking and dealing with uncommon scenarios.

It’s 2020. It’s about time that everyone gives themselves time. Time to understand, to re-cooperate, to find some peace of mind. We all deserve better mental health, and creating a routine that works for you is an east step to start with. Having a type of set list, schedule, or way of going about your day is scientifically shown to increase the wellbeing of your mental health. A routine can:

            Lower your stress levels

            Aid you in forming healthier habits

            Help you feel more productive

            Help you feel more focused for important tasks

In general, a routine is a way to help you take better care of yourself. Having rituals allow you to put time aside for the things that are important to you. If you have important career tasks to complete or another goal that you think highly of, make that a part of your schedule to get it done. Set time aside, however much you need, and know that you are creating this block of time because it’s important to you. Being able to achieve necessary tasks, even during times of stress and anxiety, are important to reducing the possibility of procrastination and further stress. Plus, the added comfort of completing something important allows you to fill your day with other goals that are designed perfectly for you.

And that just provides another wonderful aspect of routines. They are made for you, because you created them. Finding a proper way to conduct yourself is not an easy task. Whatever the reason, it’s important to keep trying to keep tweaking your personal schedule. Think of it as trial and error and remember that you can always change your habits. Experiment with broader lists with various goals to complete versus a detailed schedule of tasks with blocks of time to keep you busy. Something different will work for everyone, and it’s important to find the one that best suits you and your health. What’s most important in terms of designing your routine, is to stick to habits that are focused on supporting your health. Include goals like:

            Staying active or getting daily exercise

            Getting enough hours of sleep everyday

            Eating healthy foods / eating regularly

            Staying positive and generating positive affirmations

            Staying in touch with friends and family

            Making time for activities that bring you joy

            Learning to focus on things you can control

            Prepping for any possible challenges you might face that day

All these types of goals support your overall health and mental wellbeing. And it’s up to you to choose which are more important for that phase of life that you’re living through right now. The best part of routines are how they are based on an idea. The idea of a routine is to ground yourself when times may not go the way you planned. A routine can include whatever you feel helps you stay productive, stay happy, and stay healthy physically and mentally. And there is no right answer or over-night fix. Creating a routine is another journey that we have to stay loyal to and keep determined with. Everyone has different waves and apexes of energy and inspiration, and the same goes for those moments in the day when you need to allow yourself to slow down and recharge. Listen to your body as you create your routine and adjust accordingly. All good habits take time. Make the time to give yourself a proper method of de-stressing and remaining hopeful and healthy during such hectic and demanding times.

(Image by Lily Banse)

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