One of the tools I have found very useful is routines. When you establish a routine, or turn something into a habit, you are making life easier for your brain. You don’t need to decide what to do next or find the motivation to do it, you have already established that whatever the activity is, it is the one that comes next. Our brains find the routine a source of comfort. Having routines can give your brain a feeling of normal, even when there are disrupting stressors in your life.
A simple internet search on the importance of routines will yield a bunch of articles such as: 7 Daily Benefits of a Solid Routine, 18 Reasons Why a Daily Routine is so Important, and The Importance of a Daily Routine. You should check out at least a couple of those articles (I like the ones I linked to), so you have a bit more evidence for this idea.They give you a great list of benefits, many of which I have experienced with routines! However, I’m not going to go over a summary of these benefits that you can find on other sites. I’m going to tell you about my own experience with routines.
Start Small I have found I respond better to baby steps. I have trouble sticking with large, swooping change. For my morning routine, I literally started with the habit of drinking water as soon as I woke up. Just that. It took me less than a minute every morning. We all know the importance of hydration, and I’m sure many of you can sympathize with how gross a mouth feels after waking up. I introduce small easy changes one at time, and do them for several days or until they begin to stick.
Make it Easy I do what I can to help my brain make these changes. I keep a water bottle by my bedside, for example. Everytime I go to introduce a new habit, I think about how I could make it easier to follow through on the habit. This might be setting up things beforehand, or perhaps creating a new permanent home for an item (my hula-hoop now resides in my living room, behind the sofa, so that it is easily accessible for my morning hooping). You might also consider your path (through your house or workplace, not in life), your needs or your energy levels. In my morning routine, I leave my office to go into the living room where I hula-hoop. After I hula-hoop, I grab my breakfast out of the fridge before heading into the office. I don’t eat breakfast immediately after returning to my desk, but it is readily available when it is time for breakfast.
Make it Fun Fun is a one of the key values in my life. Unfortunately, I tend to force myself to ignore fun in favor of being more productive (not a good self-care practice). Routines have allowed me to schedule some fun into my day. This means I look forward to getting up in the morning, and I look forward to going to bed at night. Sure, I wake up at 5am, but I get to plan a Disney trip while eating breakfast! At night, I might not get a snack in evening (I brush my teeth so that I don’t eat before bed), but I get to play the Sims for 30 minutes! On most days, this is my ONLY game time.
My Brain likes a Daily Rhythm I’m getting better quality sleep. I tend to fall asleep quicker and mornings are not so much of a hassle. I have seen an increase in my energy, particularly in the morning hours.
I adore daily routines and I have found them a valuable tool for self-care. In future posts, I will go over my morning and evening routines. I’m really interested in expanding my routines, as well, so I will update you on my journey with that as well.
What do you think of routines? Do you have a routine? Please share! Do you have tips on creating or maintaining a routine?